Pelisses, Spencers, and Redingotes, Oh my!

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Women never just wear a coat in Regency books. What is the difference between a pelisse and a spencer jacket?

There were three types of jackets for females in Regency England. The redingote, pelisse, and spencer.

The Bennet Sisters
Spencer jackets worn by the Jane and Elizabeth Bennet in 1995’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Spencer Jacket

Spencer jackets were short and followed the bodice lines of the dress. These were inspired by the tailless men’s top coats of the late 18th century. The men’s coat were believed to come into fashion after the Earl of Spencer singed the tails on his coat and had them trimmed off. Hence the name Spencer Jacket.

Pelisse from 1811, notice how the closures run all the way down the garment
Pelisse from 1811, notice how the closures run all the way down the garment

The Pelisse

Pelisses also followed the line of the dress, but they went much longer. When completely buttoned, the pelisse could hide all but the hem of the dress underneath. It was almost like wearing an entire second dress which would be necessary during colder time periods because the women’s dresses were very thin.

A Regency redingote where the fastenings are only over the bodice.
A Regency redingote where the fastenings are only over the bodice.

The Redingote

Similar to the pelisse, the redingote is long. However, it does not close completely in the front. As the Regency faded and skirts began to widen and grow, the Redingote became a favored outer garment because it revealed the dress beneath and didn’t have to close over an enlarged skirt.

 

 

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