Mondays with Austen: Jane Austen Costumes

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Maybe I should have waited this post until October, to be honest. However, for those who go all out on Halloween costumes, it’s sometimes nice to find the one you want in plenty of time to either save up money to buy it or buy the materials and do the sewing so you actually have it ready on October 31st. This post is for those people. 😀

Click to view at Halloween

There honestly are actual Jane Austen costumes out there in the world. I looked at the topic and kind of scratched my head over it. This was another, “I wonder what I was thinking” kind of thing. LOL I mean, there are thousands of people all over the world who dress like Jane Austen on a regular basis. I could only hope to find actual costumes and not pages of hits of actual Regency dresses. Part of the issue was that my definitions of “costume” and “gown” or “period dress” are different, and in other peoples’ minds, the terms are interchangeable. I’ll do my best, though. 🙂

At first my page of Google results seemed to show mostly gowns or period dresses. For actual costumes, I had to search through three pages of results. Some sites had true costumes, and a couple just tell you how to dress like Austen using readily available things you might have in your closet or find at Wal-Mart, with pictures.

The first link I came across that was an actual costume was This Jane Austen costume is what I would expect … 100% polyester and basic. It will give you the look of Jane Austen with zero authenticity as far as fabrics, closures, and so on. It comes in adult and child sizes, and would work well for someone who wasn’t worried about being period correct but wished to have an unusual costume to wear a few hours to a party. It would also be perfect for a little girl going trick or treating. (Hmmm … maybe I should buy a special Halloween treat this year and if one of the kiddos comes to my door as Jane Austen, give it to her! <3) It’s a little pricey, in my opinion, at least for an adult; but, I suppose there are folks out there who spend for Halloween like I do for Christmas.

Click to view on Wal-Mart’s Canadian store.

Wal-Mart Canada has a similar costume on their site, but only for kids. This one is about $3 more than the previously-mentioned adult costume. It’s remarkably similar to the adult one in looks. It also has one long description! I could not read it all running on like that. LOL Anyway, the construction is identical, as well, with it being all polyester, pulled over the head, and with an elastic waist.

The next two sites I looked at were the ones I mentioned that describe how to make yourself look like Jane Austen for Halloween with whatever you have. The first site is called Costumet. This page on their site gives you advice like “cop a wig” or put your hair in a bun. Then, there’s an image of Jane and five or six items you might want to have to make you look like her. Under that, there’s a list of things to do. I think this is a great thing, though I have images in my head of people wearing corsets outside of their dresses and calling themselves Jane Austen. Hilarious! 😀

Click to view at

The next site is called Take Back Halloween. This article on the site has a slightly different take on how to be Jane Austen for Halloween. It involves more period-correct items, like starting with a custom Regency gown and a bonnet from Austentation. This costume will be by far the more expensive, but will also be the most authentic-looking of the bunch.

If I were to attend a Halloween party as Jane Austen, I’d do my best to go all out, period-appropriate. I’d spend a ton of money to do it, too. However, I think all the sites I mention here have excellent alternatives.

What do you think? Do you go to Halloween parties? If you do, have you ever gone as Jane Austen? Tell me about your “costume.” Was it authentic Regency-type clothing, or a costume like those mentioned above? If you haven’t done Halloween as Jane Austen yet but plan to, and you couldn’t afford the custom stuff, which of these options would you choose?



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