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  • Linda Jane Holmes

The Revolutionary Tea Gown | Baroness Bolsover

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

The Curse of the Corset

For centuries women had been forced into tight restrictive corsets to create an unnaturally spelt waistline, all in the name of 'fashion'.

It's no surprise these ‘shape-enhancing’ garments are now widely recognised as being the cause of many a terrible affliction from kidney ailments to hysteria.

“Is there any wonder we were hysterical, we could hardly breath!”

The Victorian Baroness Bolsover recalls corsets were required to be worn with all outfits, even at very informal Afternoon Tea gatherings with one's friends.

“Thank goodness the sandwiches and cakes were served in tiny portions, there was no room for over-indulgence, even if one wanted.”

Afternoon Tea Discomfort

It was quite the norm at Afternoon Teas, made 'fashionable' by Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, for ladies to sit and take tea at very low tables.

I recall it being most uncomfortable, leaning forwards and backwards to reach out for a Garibaldi! "

Corsets could restrict the flow of digestive juices, resulting in a bloated tummy adding more pressure to an already tight garment. And nobody wants the embarrassment of a grumbling tummy, or worse still, trapped wind!

The Road to Liberation

By the second half of the 19th century however, freedom was in sight with the ever-increasing popularity of the Tea Gown.

A much lighter, floatier dress, worn only in the house and therefore by the hostess of a Tea Party, this garment was truly life changing. The reason? With the Tea Gown, and ONLY with the Tea Gown, a lady was not required to wear a corset. Can you imagine?

No wonder we were all clamouring to be the Hostess of our own tea parties!”

Tea gowns were often simple in design, perhaps with a wrapper fastening, but usually with a few embellishments, such as frills, tassels and maybe a small train. Likenesses to a Japanese kimono were often seen.

Over the years the concept of the Tea Gown has changed into what we now refer to as a Dressing Gown. Though not as glamourous perhaps, the principal remains the same, it's a comfortable gown to wear in one’s home and I would just like to stress, the ‘at home’ bit.


A New Gown for the Baroness

With the help of expert costume makers Emma Waugh and Liz Coleman, a new version of Baroness Bolsover's favourite tea gown has been created.

The above French fashion plate of the late 1800's, on which the new tea gown is based, would have been truly transformational. No waistline, no corset!

“A Lady must feel utterly comfortable as well as elegant..."

And that's largely down to the cut of the dress. Liz's beautifully constructed 'waterfall' feature cascades gently down the front of the new dress, with a full length 'A' line and soft pleats to add seamless movement and style. The style is not dissimilar to the popular 'empress line' seen in Georgian ladies fashion.

Along with Emma's simply stunning hand sewn headdress and pearl necklace the Baroness' new outfit is both stylish and comfortable.


With the launch of Baroness Bolsover's Tea Blends there'll be lots of opportunities for Her Ladyship to wear her wonderful new gown and be the crème de la crème of the Tea Party!

 

Afternoon Tea Etiquette

Join the Victorian Baroness and learn the how to become the crème de la crème of the Tea Party. Impress your guests with this truly irresistible interactive Afternoon Tea Talk.

Perfect for Hotels, Afternoon Tea Venues, Heritage Events, Special Occasions, Group and Zoom Talks

Contact

lindajaneholmes@hotmail.co.uk

Call 07930 258 399

 

Baroness Bolsover’s Tea Blends

The Baroness is thrilled to introduce her own range of utterly authentic Tea Blends which include Traditional Afternoon Tea, Earl Grey and her finest English Breakfast Tea

Once cup simply isn't enough!

Available from Old Bolsover Yard, Bolsover, Derbyshire

Contact

lindajaneholmes@hotmail.co.uk

07930 258 399

 

A Tea Gown in the Making


From design to completion.

Thank you so much to Emma and Liz for making this happen.

 

Want to know more about Baroness Bolsover?

I'd love to hear from you...

Lets Talk

07930 258 399