1896 French Riding Habit
This riding habit, made up in a navy blue woollen material, very similar to Melton, has the fashionable 'leg of mutton' sleeves of the 1890s period (constructed in this instance of several panels). The high-collared neck of the pattern available from Side Saddle Lady (P30), has been altered to create small front revers instead, in order to reveal a stiff-collared white cotton false blouse front. Fancy silver buttons were used on the double-breasted jacket front, jacket back and sleeve cuffs to brighten the dark fabric and to give the habit some individual style (a silver, ornate, Victorian-style lady's pocket watch was also added). The back of the jacket has the popular short tail design used on many late Victorian riding habits.
As with all nineteenth-century ladies' clothing, the 'underpinnings' were important in creating the look of the period, and so this style of habit would have been worn over a riding corset, which generally allowed more movement and flexibility than a normal corset worn with everyday dress.
The photographs show the front and back of the habit, both with its skirt loose in order to show the darts creating the knee pocket (above), and also buttoned up for walking (below).
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