In Jane Austen’s time, a woman was considered a ‘success’ if she made a good marriage. From the time a young lady came out into society, what she wore was of the utmost importance.

‘The first bliss of a ball, was dressing for it’ wrote Jane in her novel The Watsons, but there were also many rules of conduct in dress to be adhered to whilst indulging in the latest fashions. Sleeve length, glove length, silk or muslin? To reveal or conceal one’s shoulders or neck? How much ankle was too much? So many things to consider in the business of dressing for success.

Based on excerpts from both Jane’s letters and novels with various opinions of the day, here is the chance to discover just what it was like to dress for a ball in Regency England.

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