Wardrobe Options for Williamsburg 2021

After the heckin’ year+ we’ve all had, I’m so excited to be going to Colonial Williamsburg in mid-June! I haven’t been to that glorious place since 2015. There’s quite the meet-up happening and I’m very excited to hang out with friends old and new.

Now…what to wear? I never thought I’d say this, but I have too many choices for 18th century clothes. I just keep making them…for some reason. However, there are seasonal considerations which narrow down my choices. June in Virginia is hot, humid, and often rainy. The 2015 trip was also in June, so I have experience in the melt factor. Here are my potentials for heat/wet costumes:

1780 Glasgow Polonaise-Sacque Jacket

The Glasgow Polonaise Sacque jacket made from an IKEA print – 2019

This cotton sateen pet en l’air is relatively cool, although I only have silk petticoats to wear with it. I’m not about to take the quilted satin, so a silk taffeta it would be. I’m not as scared of ruining a silk petticoat as I am a whole gown, and those I took in 2015 did fine.

1780s Chemise a la Reine

An easy cotton voile chemise gown I wore in the rain in Williamsburg in 2015.

This is my #1 must-take dress. Made in cotton voile, it’s easy to wear, nice and cool, and can get soaking wet without utter chaos. This one’s a no-brainer.

1785 Williamsburg Chintz Pierrot Jacket

1780s pierrot jacket made from a Colonial Williamsburg cotton print. I love this jacket deeply – 2015.

This is one of my favorite 18th century pieces and it seems fitting to wear since it’s made from CW fabric. It also has a taffeta petticoat. I like this jacket better than the Glasgow one, but I believe there’s a pet en l’air meetup and I don’t want to miss that.

1790s Ikea Curtain Dress

Another Ikea gown – 1790s open robe in printed cotton – 2018

There’s talk of a 1790s day and while I would like to take the Vigee Lebrun gown, I will literally perish if I wear a long-sleeves black silk gown in that heat. Instead, I have this pretty open robe I made for Jane Austen Festival a few years ago (and survived the Kentucky heat in). It does need a new petticoat, but that will only take a day.

1790s Green Goblin Gown

The Green Goblin, 2018 – cotton voile round gown. Easy to wear, but I don’t absolutely love it.

This cotton voile gown is very lightweight and a full round gown, so no extra petticoat needed. However, there’s a big pieced chunk on the front that is really obvious because the shot fabric runs in the wrong direction. I’m not sure how to hide with a sash with that high V 1790s back. Suggestions welcome!


Special Exception:

1780s Embroidered Taffeta Italian Gown

The newest make – embroidered silk taffeta Italian gown.

I made this gown earlier this year and have never worn it, so it’s going. We have a tavern dinner inside (no rain) in the evening (less heat), so I feel confident wearing silk taffeta and not drowning and/or dying. I need to make its matching petticoat, make a small alteration to bodice front, and add the ruffles to the sleeves and neckline.


Millinery & Accessories

Plenty to choose from with all the makings from The American Duchess Guides. I have several caps and hats, an apron, some mitts. What I don’t have is a cloak of any kind or a large white kerchief, so I may work up those fairly simple projects. As for shoes, the Dunmores might/mightn’t be arriving just before the trip, and I’d like to take the lavender ones, which I think will go with everything 1780s. I’ll take the Berties or old Hartfields for whichever 1790s I might choose.


This is all very exciting! I’ll be sure to take many photos of the meetup and everyone’s gorgeous gowns to share with you here and on Instagram. And if you’re attending, see you there!

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