The Enormous Costume College Picture Post

Costume College was fantastic this year! I had a great time, taught some classes, made new friends, caught up with old friends, ate chicken, wore enormous dresses. It was great.

I didn’t take a LOT of pictures, but here are a few…okay, several….okay, a lot. I’m doing this all in one post (prepare yourself), so we can get on to all the new projects and fun creative stuff in the works (the post-CoCo inspirational spurt).

If you’d like to know more about Costume College, what it is, where it is, and how you can attend, here’s the official page:


General Hijinks

Arriving on Thursday afternoon – we’re all VERY excited!
Thursday evening pool party – the “Bevvy of Bathing Beauties” looked great in their vintage swimsuits
Friday morning, the first day of “full dress up.” Here’s Abby in one of her fantastic 18th century organza caps
The Williamsburg gals looking splendid for Friday classes
Janea, head Milliner at Williamsburg, sitting down to breakfast in a beautiful purpose silk gown, and great 1780s hair
I was stoked to see Jen’s ghostly Italian Renaissance gown up close. I LOVE the textures!
Trystan as Leonard, in bright purple Georgianas
Two Vintage Laurens! Lauren of Wearing History and me, both in Wearing History clothing and bandannas, on Friday

Ice Cream Social Shenanigans

I think they put mirrors in the elevators at the hotel just for Costume College…
Gathering for the Ice Cream Social
Natalie wore a scrumptious silk round gown, all hand sewn. She used a scalloped pinking iron to treat the edges of her bow
Kaila’s Scalamandre lampas silk gown was to die for. Beautiful fit of the back, with 18th century sewing techniques
Jenny laFleur, one of my long-time costuming heroines, looked amazing in her silk sacque. She and Abby vied for the tallest hat in the room
Me and Abby being silly, because
Polonaise and Retroussee gals showing our fluffy bums at the Ice Cream Social – photo by Laurie Tavan
I wore “The Creature” and was quite pleased with it still. A hot mess it may be, but I’m proud of it. Photo by Laurie Tavan


Silver Ghost pre-ironing
At the Gala dinner. The food is nothing to get excited about, but watching everyone trying to sit in close quarters is rather amusing. Photo by Curtis Newbrough
Lining up for the “red carpet presentation.” Me and Kaila in our 18th century best
And then there’s Merja
And Abby.
Coqueluchon and Sacque – our “Christmas” pair in high hair
Wearing History’s Lauren in her 1879 evening bodice made of splendid lampas silk faced in salmon pink taffeta. Scrummy!
End of night Abby in her Levite
Silver Ghost survived the night, just barely! I had a hoop malfunction and experienced some weird drag issues, but all in all I was really happy with this gown. It felt amazing to wear. I’ll get some better photos of it soon 🙂

I don’t even remember what I wore on Sunday, sorry…Sunday is sleepy day!

For even MORE photos, check out American Duchess on Facebook.


  • Esther

    August 11, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    Oh my goodness!! YOUR SILVER GHOST!! It's scrumptious. As is The Creature. And all of those dresses! Wow!!
    Thanks for sharing the pictures! 🙂
    (You look amazing, by the way!! You've got such a knack for 18th century hair!!)

    • Lauren Stowell

      August 11, 2015 at 6:33 PM

      Thank you! My hair is 97% wig. I just stick it on there and blend the front of my hair in. Makes it SO easy. By contrast, the Williamsburg girls' hair is their own, done with the period pomade and powder technique.

  • Bianca Esposito

    August 11, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    This looks like so much fun! Some really great costumes on display, that purple saque is gorgeous! I'm pretty sure Merja is from another higher plane of sewing, everything she makes is divine. Your silver gown looks amazing all together, the shape is just so lovely! The gold accents really make the gown look real and antique.

  • Renate Seline Zaz

    August 12, 2015 at 4:30 AM

    All these gowns are so drool-worthy! And your silver ghost gown – WOW. It turned out amazing. Truly gorgeous. And the creature is wonderful 😉 It looks like so much fun! Maybe next year…

  • Gina

    August 15, 2015 at 5:24 AM

    Loved the pictures!!! You do such a great job with the camera! Your silver ghost dress is stunning!! It was worth the wait to see you all done up and wearing it!

  • Kelly

    August 26, 2015 at 3:28 AM

    Everyone looks so lovely. I admit I've never gone to Costume College and I think am to scared to because I don't think my gowns would look even half as splendid.

  • Anonymous

    July 10, 2019 at 3:44 PM

    So this is enormously inspiring for me. I have started my journey into 18th century costume design early this year. And I am hoping to go to costume college next year. And this gives me that inspiration.

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