The Revolutionary Tea Gown | Baroness Bolsover
Updated: Feb 1
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!”
“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
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 new outfit is both stylish and comfortable and has the WOW factor fit for the most splendid Afternoon Tea Party... a most definite DRESS TO IMPRESS!
Afternoon Tea Etiquette
Call 07930 258 399
Town Tours with Afternoon Tea
Join the Baroness in the summer months for a truly unforgettable stroll through the historic streets of Bolsover Town, followed by a simply splendid Afternoon Tea...
Baroness Bolsover's Tea Gown in the Making
From design to completion.
Thank you so much to Emma and Liz for making this happen.