Sunday, 30 May 2010

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 110

This time I also go with simple stuffs (particularly because I've been contemplating on heavy stuffs enough this week). We know hat bonnets and caps were very important to the ladies in Regency Era, including Jane Austen herself. And she was very particular with every details of her garments, from shoes to hats. She also took time to re-embellish or redecorate her bonnets to make it more fashionable. It was an act of saving perchance, but in this ecofriendly era, re-embellishing old garments is actually an ecofriendly act.

From JA's letter to Cassandra Austen, Tuesday 18 December 1798 (Deirdre le Faye 1995 edition, p 25-26):

I took the liberty a few days ago of asking your Black velvet Bonnet to lend me its cawl, which it very readily did, & by whic I have been enabled to give a considerable improvement of dignity to my Cap, which was before too nidgetty to please me. - I shall wear it on Thursday, but I hope you will not be offended with me for following your advice as to its ornaments only in part - I still venture to retain the narrow silver round it, put twice round without any bow, & instead of the black military feather shall put in the Coquelicot one, as being smarter; - & besides Coquelicot is to be all the fashion this winter. - After the Ball, I shall probably make it entirely black.

Wow, she was truly an expert in reembellishing her bonnets, Miss Austen...Now, I don't wear elaborate hats or fascinators often (not at my place at least, except during the Melbourne Cup...), but I am fascinated with (on cue) shoes, and guess what? I actually did re-embellish a pair of my shoes last night!

My re-embellished shoes were new red suede 2.5 inch pumps, just bought it on 60% sale because it was 'damaged', as in one pair had a very different leather strip than the other. Still on the exact place, but instead of a phyton-like leather pattern (as the right pair had), the left pair had almost very smooth leather surface. It was just a line of 7 mm leather strip across the vamp, and no one would see it unless they took a closer look, but I was still disturbed. But, I can't resist the colour and comfort of the shoes, nor the sale price. I then tried to find burgundy velvet ribbon to cover both strips. Couldn't find the exact red tone, so I opted for 7 mm black satin ribbons, and it worked like magic! Just have to make sure that the glue stays; I might have to use stronger superglue if it came off.

So, if any of you Ladies and Gents have any defective garment, do not throw it away. Try to re-embellish the piece of garment, and you will not only save yourself some money, but also be more ecofriendly!

For further information re: Regency bonnets, check Vic's excellent entry here. For practical ideas on how to re-embellish your modern shoes (including flip flops!), check Female Network , Love To Know and Squidoo.

Pic 1: Various Regency bonnets from Fashion Era

Pic 2: A pair of beautiful Regency slippers (sadly, not mine) from House of Nines Design


Nicole MacDonald said...

LOVE the shoes - I've read books that suggest doing this but have always been to chicken to do it ;p
Actually just re-watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time *sigh* love the story so much :)

Icha said...

Yeah, the good thing abt shoes is that they keep coming back again, even the antique Roccoco and Victorian styles, so we can still use them! I wish bonnets would be in fashion again, but nah...

Most likely, the one in fashion would be the frisbee hat a la Margaret Hale in BBC North & South (lucky girl!).

Have u read some funny notes abt signs of PP addictions? Too funny!
Can't find the link now, but mine would be "I shall conquer this. I shall!" ;-)

jakeline said...

I adore the shoes!

Btw, have your read this? I don't know if one should laugh or cry. ;)

Sorry I've been absent for a while.

hugs and kisses from Maria in Sweden

Rachel said...

Oh my, that is awful. I think I might cry! I suppose at least it is keeping the awareness of Pride and Prejudice alive!!

Thanks Maria.

Linda Fern said...

Icha, what on earth can you mean? I never get a chance to emblellish my shoes, because I wear them out and it is necessary to throw them away. They are in no condition to be refurbished. Sigh.

On the other hand, it had never occurred to me to decorate a pair of new shoes either. I always bought them because I liked them as they were. Never too old to learn, I guess. Sigh again.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Icha said...

"In one of the more bizarre homages to Jane Austen, biologists have named a protein in mice urine after her famed character Mr. Darcy from the novel "Pride and Prejudice."

Much like Mr. Darcy had a magnetic pull on Elizabeth Bennet (and countless readers), the protein is a pheromone responsible for attracting female mice to the odor of a particular male. The scientists dubbed the protein "darcin" after the character from Austen's 1813 novel."

Oh. I think... it's an honour? Of sort...?

Icha said...

Hi Linda dear!

Nah, for daily footwear, the final place is recycle bin - if they can be recycled. But for some shoes that we don't wear because we don't really like it, we can re-embellish it. Mostly for dress up shoes, dancing shoes, stuffs like that.

I've thrown away >5 pairs of ballet flats the last 5 years myself...

Rachel said...

You put me to shame Icha. I too would never think to decorate shoes. You are so creative. The shoes in the picture are great!

Icha said...

Sniff... naah... just a newbie here. In fact, am a bit allergic to needlework, LOL! Tho I love wearing good needlework!

I tried to decorate my d'orsay with a t-strap last night, but it didn't work. It needs strong t-strap, and the lace that I applied to didn't suffice :-(