Sunday, August 27, 2017

CoBloWriMo Day 27: Future Project, a "Nankeen" Riding Habit

Now that I've made one riding habit for one of my favored eras, I find myself wanting one in every period and every color...and every fabric!  Wool might be my favorite fabric but it was by no means the only choice, particularly for hot climates.

From the V&A, 1760s
This mid-18th century habit jacket at the V&A is made of fustian, which at that point in time referred to a linen-cotton blend fabric.  This one would fit a small adult or older girl; it's around 33" at the bust and 27" at the waist, so someone slim but not ridiculously tiny could easily have worn it.

RAMM Collections, 1810s
This one is for a child, made of closely woven cotton which is listed as Nankeen in the museum description

Les Arts Bibliotheque, via Scene in the Past on Flickr
Nankeen habit, alongside a rather odd-looking horse, but shown on an adult woman.  Based on the sizes here she's either very tall, or that horse isn't particularly leggy.  That's conceivable; Jackson was 15hh* which is about 5' at the shoulder, so I could see over his back by a small margin.  I'm only 5'2", so a woman of 5'4" or taller could easily look like this lady next to a small horse or a pony big enough to carry a grown-up.

1790s, Via Fox Historic Costume on Instagram--Click for more views
Be sure to click on the link in the caption for several more views!  There are no measurements listed on this one but it looks very small when photographed with a hand in the frame, and the description also mentions it being for a child.  It's also listed as being silk, which is interesting to me.  It looks really similar to the others above.

So, as much as I loooove wool, I will admit that the idea of being clothed in it from head to toe, covered from neck to wrists and beyond my ankles, during the height of summer, while sitting on a warm, furry athletic slightly less than perfectly appealing.  Plus the fact that there are limited but definite examples from multiple places and times is intriguing to me.

Obviously with the length of my to-do list, this won't be happening anytime in the next few months, or maybe even the next year.  In the meantime, definitely check out one of my favorite (maybe the only?) recreation of a habit of this type by Katherine at The Fashionable Past.  She's got some really good info and resources on her page so definitely take a look!

I aspire to this!

*For those that don't know, horses are measured in hands, which is equivalent to four inches.  Their height is taken at the shoulder, or the withers.  At this point in time, the cutoff between horse and pony is 14.2 hands, or 4'10".  If your equine is shorter than that, they're a pony.  Any taller, and they're a horse.


  1. I do love riding habits, they are sooooo elegant!

  2. That probably would be a lot more comfortable than wool! Can't wait to see a video of you in one, on a horse.

    1. I'm so looking forward to the day when I can bring all the pieces together!!