tea gowns

bunny-loverxiv  asked:

I've been wondering, what is a tea gown?

A tea gown was a dress/robe hybrid worn ONLY in the home or privacy of family and very close friends.They are supposed to be inspired by kimonos and intended to be a more relaxed garment that could be more flowing and even allowed for the wearer to go corset-less,I’m not sure if that was common. They were simple to put on and could be done without the help of a lady’s maid. 

“It has always a train and usually long flowing sleeves; is made of rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one’s family.  29
 It can, however, very properly be put on for tea, and if one is dining at home, kept on for dinner. Otherwise a lady is apt to take tea in whatever dress she had on for luncheon, and dress after tea for dinner.  30
 One does not go out to dine in a tea-gown except in the house of a member of one’s family or a most intimate friend. One would wear a tea-gown in one’s own house in receiving a guest to whose house one would wear a dinner dress.  31
Your tea-gowns, since they are never worn in public, can literally be as bizarre as you please.” Emily Post, 1922.

The tea gown would be used as we would use a robe to go to our kitchen and eat breakfast before getting ready for the day, or coming home from an event or work and wanting to relax by putting on pjs. Most people wouldn’t wear their pjs out of the house but it is ok to be seen in them by family and friends, same as with the tea gown. To our modern fashion sense they look very fancy but at the time were the last level of undress acceptable to be seen in during an informal, familial gathering. 

Met Museum Tea Gown, 1877

Met Museum Tea Gown, 1894

Victoria & Albert Museum Tea Gown, 1900

Victoria & Albert Museum Tea Gown, 1895-1900

10

It’s FRIDAY FASHION FACT! If you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that one of my favorite aspects of fashion history is the influence of society on dress. I can’t believe I haven’t written about today’s topic yet, since it is one of the best examples of this! We’re talking tea gowns!

Tea gowns rose to popularity in the late 1870s, reaching widespread popularity throughout the late 19th to early 20th centuries. To put it simply, a tea gown is an informal garment worn in the house- you guessed it- at tea time, though later they were worn at dinnertime as well. What is so interesting about tea gowns is that their creation was a direct result of the rapidly changing society of the time.

The Industrial Revolution led to a dramatic rise in urbanization. Naturally, this congested setting shifted social customs. Increased social circles meant increased social obligations. Visiting a friend or acquaintance for tea quickly became one of the most popular social calls, namely because it was the shortest. Custom dictated that one would not stay for more than half an hour for tea. The short time frame meant a less formal atmosphere.

On a different note, during this same time, there was a strong Asian influence on design. Due to the 1868 Meiji Restoration, trade lines between Japan and Europe opened up, bringing a steady stream of Japanese goods to the Western world. Using these pieces, homes were decorated in the exotic style. Kimonos also held a fascination among the Victorians, many adopting them as dressing gowns. Women would commonly host members of their wide social circles in their homes (particularly the parlors) to show off their creative interpretation of Asian and exotic inspired design. So how does this all connect to the tea gown?

To begin with, women desired a specific garment for these new abridged social calls- something relatively informal, yet still fashionable. Tea gowns have been described as a blend between a dressing gown and an evening gown. They were a far more relaxed style than the majority of fashions at the time. They were often loose fitting, and were often worn without the usual restrictive shapewear- namely bustles and (gasp!) corsets. Naturally, this meant that tea gowns were a very controversial garment, with many condemning them as lewd and immoral. Of course, many women who were so accustomed to wearing corsets still wore them with tea gowns, but disguised it with a loose bodice. Since they were so relaxed, though, a lady would never leave the house in a tea gown. As a result, only the hostess would wear one, while guests would wear afternoon or visiting gowns.

One of the biggest appeals of the loose tea gown was that they were so easy to put on, and a lady could dress herself without the help of a lady’s maid. While the structure of tea gowns were simple, though, their design was anything but. Women pulled inspiration from the exotic into their gowns, often aiming to match the design of their parlors. There was also a strong historical influence in many tea gowns. Watteau pleats, the cape/train-like pleats used in 18th century robes a la française, were a popular design element. Some tea gowns would be made to look like two garments, a faux-robe over a dress. As with all fashions of the day, ladies would show of their wealth through their tea gowns, using rich fabrics, lace trims, ruffles, and other embellishments.

As fashion developed, so did the tea gown. By the Edwardian Age, they became difficult to distinguish from other styles of dress. As society changed through the 1920s and 30s, the tea dress slowly faded from popularity, vanishing altogether by World War II. It just goes to show how the life and death of a fashion can all be directly related to shifts in society!

Have a question about fashion history that you want answered in the next FRIDAY FASHION FACT? Just click the ASK button at the top of the page!

Tale As Old As Time: Chapter 1 Provincial Life

Originally posted by easycompany

((Lmao the last thing I should be writing is another series right? But I saw beauty and the Beast the other day and I was inspired.))

I give credit to @dontshootmespence​ for helping me organize everything.

Contains: Fluff, Eventual Spencer x Reader- but sorry, you don’t have a really appearance in this chapter yet.

——–

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young princess lived in a shining castle. Her name was Y/n.  Although she had everything her heart desired, the princess was spoiled, selfish, and unkind.  But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered her a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the princess sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away, but she warned the girl not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when she dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress.  The princess tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in Y/n’s heart, and as punishment, she transformed her into a hideous beast, and placed a powerful spell on the castle, and all who lived there. Ashamed of her monstrous form, the beast concealed herself inside her castle, with a magic mirror as her only window to the outside world.  The rose the enchantress had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until her twenty-first year.  If Y/n could learn to love another, and earn his love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken.  If not, she would be doomed to remain a beast for all time.  As the years passed, she fell into despair, and lost all hope, for who could ever learn to love a beast?

-

A young man exited his home, an unseen smile blooming on his face at the valley he and his mother lived at. The dirt roads, leading to the cobblestone village were earthy and coffee-like, light in the rays of the sun and sapphire skies. The grass wasn’t too green, but his mother’s garden did brighten up their yard, and brought a sweet smell to his nose.

His name was Spencer. The man was past his twenties, not too long ago turning 37, and still without a bride, content in looking after his mother. Her brain wasn’t too sharp anymore, but she had her moments where the young woman he grew up with shone through.

Spencer smoothed down the white smock he wore over his light blue trousers, and matching vest, a white shirt to cover his arms. His shoulder-length hazelnut locks were tied back with a blue ribbon he had stolen from his mother. He grabbed the basket that lie next to the stone stairs he walked down from, placing the book he had thumbed over the last few hours into the weaving.

Every morning Spencer went into town to grab some ingredients for food that day, and to head to the bookshop in town, his favorite place in the entire world. Unfortunately, not everyone in the town really respected him. Some people were cruel, teasing him for being so odd, or being Diana Reid’s son. As he reached the buildings and shoppes, he could already see people staring and whispering about him.

He ignored everyone whispering about how he was a ‘funny man’ or making fun of him for being smart. Although the townsfolk boasted of his beauty, he felt upset and annoyed that that was all they cared about. His mother had always warned him that one shouldn’t judge a book by their cover. Speaking of books…

“Ah, Spencer!” The librarian, Emily Prentiss, got down from her ladder where she had previously been dusting to hug her favorite (and most frequent) patron. “Let me guess, you’ve finished the book already, and no, I’m sorry, we don’t have anything new.” She pretended not to notice Spencer’s embarrassment as he nodded. The library had maybe twenty books to it’s name and not many people came to visit. But her business was held afloat by the absence of taxes.

“Can I borrow…this one?” He asked shyly, holding up a familiar leather cover. She nodded, but still felt confused. “I know, I’ve read this one too many times but…it"s my favorite. Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!” A dreamy look overcame his face as he rambled on.

“Well, if you like it all that much, it’s yours!” She proclaimed, laughing at his dumbstruck look upon his face. “I insist! You’re the only one who really likes it anyway!”

“Well thank you.’ Spencer’s voice was quiet, reaching out to hug her once more.  "Thank you very much!” He left the shop, looking like a boy on Christmas morning.

Spencer held the book in his hands that he had already read so much like he had just received a chest of gold. He could practically recite it from memory, but he still contained as much joy as when he first read it as his eyes hungrily ate up 'Once upon a time’. He was careful to avoid damaging the book or running into anyone as he whisked by the market, digging out coins from his smock pockets and paying each merchant for bread, eggs- which were quite expensive- and some slivers of meat from the butcher.

“There he is….” A young girl watched from afar, sipping from her teacup. She wore an expensive tea gown, hair curled and styled high in the fashion that was popular in Paris, looking through the window of a shoe shoppe. Diane Turner was a young, weathly orphan who never stopped reminding Spencer that she was eligible for marriage. It seems the only reason she was so infatuated with him was because he didn’t make a bumbling fool of himself offering himself to her like the small group of men she had attracted in the village. She had just returned from Paris, another trip to buy more expensive things and had set her eyes back to on as who she referred to as her future husband.

“No one stands a chance against you Ms., especially against any man.” Her friend/servant since birth Maeve Donovan stood by her side, voice gentle, as if merely speaking would anger Diane. Maeve never knew what mood her mistress would be in, but she seemed happy enough with her 'cat ate the canary’ smile

Diane set her teacup and saucer down on the windowsill, standing and promptly walking out of the shoppe, ignoring the owner’s frown as the rich customer didn’t buy anything. Maeve quickly followed suit behind her, amazed how Diane could walk so fast in heels. “I know Maeve, and my eyes are set on that man right there.” She pointed up ahead where Spencer slowly walked, softly humming to himself and he flipped through the book.

“You mean crazy Diana Reid’s son?” Maeve gasped, furrowing her eyebrows. “But he’s-”

“The most beautiful man and town! That makes him the best! And I dare say I do deserve the best don’t i?” Diane interrupted with a sneering tone. Maeve stopped in her tracks, blushing as she apologized.

“It’s just his mother….you really want to marry into that family?” She mumbled, scurrying back after Diane. Diane made a rude noise, clicking her tongue loudly as she moved to face Maeve.

“You’re so simple-minded. His mother is old, she’ll probably die soon. Then it will be just Spencer and I. Imagine it… his latest kill roasting on the fire, and I, his little wife massaging his feet while our six or seven little ones play with the dogs.”

“Spencer? Hunting?” Maeve had to stifle a laugh, questing down as the pair finally reached the aforementioned man. The idea seemed positively ridiculous. “Spencer!” Diane greeted, smiling and giving a polite nod.

“Bonjour…” Spencer quickly finished the last sentence of the page he was reading and looked up, bowing slightly. He wasn’t expecting Diane to pry the book from his hands as she did, flipping through the pages.

“What’s this about hm? Shouldn’t you be out hunting with the other village men? I heard they were all out today.” Spencer had to hold back scoffing at her statement. It wasn’t that he was against hunting, he just preferred staying inside and reading with his mother.

“There’s more to life then chasing an animal.” Spencer nodded politely, taking the book back and trying to end the conversation and walk away but Diane stood in his path. “Yes, there is, I am delighted you’ve noticed. You know, most of the townsfolk think that you might not be looking exactly for a wife due to your…lack of…” She rambled on and his face turned a light pink, eyebrows furrowing. “You should join me for tea one day.” She proposed and he shook his head, declining.

“I can’t, my mother needs my help.” He gestured to the path that led to his house, grimacing when Diane started laughing at him, elbowing Maeve harshly to join in. Spencer bit back a sigh, almost rolling his eyes.

“Your mother? She’s just a peculiar old spinster….I guess that would mean she needs all the help she can get.” Spencer’ saw clenched, making Maeve stop her forced laughter out of fear, Diane being completely ignorant.

“Don’t you dare talk about my mother that way.” He walked around her to head back to his house, ignoring the four heels that pitter-pattered behind him, biting his lip harshly when Diane tried to pass the comment off like Maeve had set it. Spencer practically ran up the path when he finally saw the fence around his house.

“Spencer!” Diane cried exasperatedly, corset and excessive exercise making it hard to breathe. “Listen, we’ve lived in this town our whole lives, yes?” She waited for him to agree before she continued. “Let’s not beat around the bush then. We’re both in our prime, and let’s be honest, you really can’t do better then me… let alone being in this small town or not….” She trailed off, giving him a pointed look.

“What are you…why…is this your way of getting me to propose to you?” He almost laughed but the fear of being Mr. Diane Turner overpowered his hysterics. His pace started getting quicker. “Diane, you’re right about one thing, we’ve lived in this town our whole lives. I’ve known you since we were little, but the one thing that has never changed is your arrogance.” His hands finally reached the wooden gate and he tried to quickly shut it but Diane, with a furious expression tore right through behind him, not caring if she stepped on any flowers.

“All I’m saying is that we could never be happy together, so therefore, after thinking, and realizing I’m too poor to buy you a fancy ring or anything really, maybe, perhaps, we shouldn’t get married at all. Have a good day!” He opened and slammed his front door shut, leaning his back against the heavy oak and sliding down until he almost hit the floor. After he was sure she was gone, he bolted out of his house, muttering to himself.

“Mousier Turner- ha! Can’t you just see it? Her husband! No sir!” He ran off into the wide open lands behind his house, practically collapsing as he stared up into the sky. Didn’t anybody realize that he wanted to leave this village? He wanted adventure so much he dreamt vivid dreams about traveling. Why couldn’t anyone understand?
-

“I cannot do this anymore Spencer.” His mother sighed, quill in hand, scrolls of various chapters about her novel she had been working on. Every year she would write one but no one ever picked them up. “Too intimidated by your genius” Spencer would tell her.

“Mother you always say that, and every year you finish it.” Spencer waved off his mother’s rambling, trying to find a place to set down a meal for her. It was crunch time, her leaving tomorrow meant he needed to finish editing today.

“I mean it, this time.  I’ll never get this boneheaded story to sound even remotely good at all.” Diana ran her hand through her hair, elbows on the desk in front of her. Spencer shook his head, making his way over to her.

“Yes, you will.  And you’ll finally get that publication.” He continued as she groaned,
wrapping his arms around her shoulders.  "…and become a world famous author! Soon every person in the world will have their very own Diana Reid story.

“You really believe that?’ Her tone became soft, unbelieving.  "I always have.” he reassured her, kissing his mother on the cheek. She seemed satisfied with that so he had started cleaning up, making sure not to step on any pages.

“So, did you have a good time in town today?” She mumbled as she worked, adjusting her spectacles.

“I got a new book.” He shrugged and stayed quiet for a few moments. “……Mama, do you think I’m odd?”

“My son?  Odd?” She tutted, shaking her head.  "Where would you get an idea like that?“

"Oh, I don’t know.  It’s just I’m not sure I’ve ever really fitted in this town. There’s no one I can really talk to.”

“What about that…’ She snapped her fingers for a moment trying to think. "Diane?  She’s a pretty little thing! Rich as well….” Spencer snorted. “She’s pretty all right, pretty rude and conceited and…Oh Mother, she’s not for me!”

“Well, don’t you worry, cause this book should be the start of a new life for us. I think that’s done it.  Now, give it a read.” She thrusted the stack of papers over in his direction. It took him about 20 minutes to get through the whole thing, well, everything he was given while Diana almost paced a hole in the floor. “Well….It’s wonderful. My favorite book so far.”

“It works? It works!” She shrieked, grabbing him in a hug and kissing his face.

“You did it!  You really did it!” He hoped his mother’s words rang true. He so badly wished to get out of here, one nice he knew for certain his mother was safe, maybe then he could try thinking about love.
-

The next morning Spencer watched with a frown as his mother got ready for her yearly trip to Paris. He was never allowed to go, and although he wondered why, he never fought his mother’s decision. She went every year not only to go and publish her books but to go and learn new things, get new books, and bring back new ideas. Diana had always wanted to be a teacher, but she wasn’t allowed to, as a women, for they were too “fragile”.

“My dear, is there anything you would like?” Diana was bustling around outside, getting all of her bags and books. Spencer pitched in to help, his added strength unfortunately making the job done quicker.

“I only wish for a rose.” He replied, smile growing when Diana turned, slightly puzzled. “You ask for that every year…” She wondered out loud, giving him a look.

“There are no roses that grow in this part of town… I’ve looked everywhere. I can remember when I was younger, they used to be all around us…” He mumbled, scratching the back of his neck, stopping his bashful activities when his mother leaned over and kissed his forehead.

“Then I will continue to bring you one.” She cupped the side of his face with her hand, saying her goodbyes and heading on her way. Spencer ran behind her, shouting and waving his own goodbyes until Phillippe pulled the carriage too fast for his liking.

It wasn’t until early the next morning, earlier then the crows of the roosters that Spencer heard violent whinny’s outside of the house. He opened the door to find Phillippe, no carriage, his mother not in sight. Without a second thought he climbed on the horses back, flicking the reins.

“Take me to her.”