Mourning dress in Jane Austen’s time: A guest post by Candice Hern

This month marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. With that in mind, I thought I’d tell you a bit about mourning customs of that time, specifically in terms of fashion. The prints shown are from my own collection.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when a family member died, it was important to honor that person with a public display of mourning. Black clothing was a public show of respect. We do that today by wearing black or dark clothing to funerals, though even that is no longer considered important. But the Georgians, and especially the Victorians, wore mourning clothes for much longer than one day. Sometimes, for widows in particular, mourning clothes may have been worn for a year or more. Queen Victoria wore black mourning dresses for 40 years after the death of her husband, Prince Albert.

Figure 1: Ackermann’s Repository of […]

By | 2017-07-06T10:47:53+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Categories: Authors, Fashion, Guest Posts|Tags: , |10 Comments

Caroline Linden Made Her Daughter a Dress

dtkThis is a story of true love and devotion, of fantasy and fashion, and something that can only be described (by my husband) as “out-and-out insanity.”

My mother taught me to sew when I was very young. She grew up in a thrifty rural community where many clothes were made at home, by mothers and grandmothers, and she continued this. I still have some of the outfits she made for me as a child, exquisitely finished inside and out. I know she made clothes for some of my Barbies as well, but at some point she said, “You can learn to do this yourself.” So I learned.

Aside from the random special occasion I didn’t sew much after I grew up. But when I had children, Halloween became A Thing in our house. My children, even when very young, loved to dress up, and I enthusiastically abetted this. I made gowns for Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I made […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:06+00:00 October 7th, 2016|Categories: Authors, Fashion, Guest Posts|Tags: , , |13 Comments

The Infinity Scarf: Yes or No?

Sometimes I become obsessed with the strangest things, and at the moment it’s infinity scarves. Do I own any? No, not a single one. But I’m considering. In fact, I’ve been looking at so many online that wherever I go on the web my “pop-up” ads all now feature infinity scarves in a variety of colors and fabrics.


By | 2017-05-24T17:18:31+00:00 December 7th, 2013|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, LinnieGayl Kimmel|Tags: , |5 Comments



I wear crocs from the moment the last of the snow and ice clears in the spring until the first snow flies again in the fall. These comfy, open air shoes are easy to put on and take off, come in a variety of colors and can be worn with practically anything. That is what I love about them – they are just so darn convenient.

I started with one modest pair of taupe crops. They could be worn with most things and were perfect for “hasty” days when I just didn’t have the time to put an outfit together. That lasted three years. Visiting the crocs store this summer was my downfall. I got a pink pair. Then purple. Black. Now my “need” includes a pair of blue crocs. Since it has started to show signs of winter where I am I will hold off on that purchase till summer. Still, I look in my closet and cringe when I realize I […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:37+00:00 October 22nd, 2013|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Maggie AAR, Real Life|Tags: |4 Comments

I Wear My Sunglasses


No, this isn’t a favorite song and you don’t need to wear your sunglasses at night, but it is a public service reminder to wear your sunglasses during the day.  Most of us are very conscious of using sunscreen but do you always remember to protect your eyes?

Recently I went in for my yearly eye exam for new contacts and since several older members in my family developed macular degeneration (usually an age-related condition) I asked if there were any preventative measures I could do to head it off.  I was informed that one potential cause is sun damage. However,  I did a little research and found conflicting information on this. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:05+00:00 July 12th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Health, Leigh AAR|5 Comments

Search for the Perfect Handbag

I’m an admitted handbag junkie. I own probably fifty, with ten or so being heirloom bags that I’ll pass on to my daughter. Unfortunately I hate them all. For years I let fashion determine what type of bag I carried and presently I have a closet full of very nice bags that I refuse to use. Now I’m searching for the perfect bag, and so far have been completely stymied. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:06+00:00 June 18th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Real Life, Wendy AAR|11 Comments

I can't wear royal blue

BlauI recently ordered some T-shirts online, among them a lovely print in royal blue with a bit of black and while. I am a sucker for blue. Unfortunately, quite a number of blue shades don’t like me. Like, royal blue and navy blue and all really bright blues and all really pale pastel blues. What does that leave? […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:10+00:00 May 16th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Rike Horstmann|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Stocking up your spring wardrobe


One sure sign of spring for me is the fact that all of a sudden I don’t just walk by shop windows (which have been decorated in bright colors for more than a month now), I actually look at them to gauge what will be in fashion this spring and summer and what of that might actually suit me.

Another sign is shopping on the spur of a moment. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:13+00:00 March 16th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Rike Horstmann|Tags: , , |5 Comments

A non-rainbow wardrobe

stock-photo-fashion-blue-clothing-rack-display-59505802I was looking through my wardrobe the other day, looking for Chapters clothing. Our tres cher bookstore ordains that employees only blue, black, or white tops, paired with navy, black, or khaki bottoms. (Although now that’s it’s December, we can wear red.)

Anyway, I couldn’t find what I wanted. So I decided to do what I’ve wanted to do for ages: I organized my wardrobe according to colour.

And I found that I have a disgusting – no, positively ridiculous amount of blue.

Blue dresses. Blue skirts. Blue turtlenecks, button-downs, T-shirts, tunics, shirt dresses – geez, my wardrobe is blue. I also have black, tan, beige/white, and a smattering of red. And, like, two articles that could count as green. Otherwise, I’m blue. And it’s not even, say, navy blue and royal blue and sky blue and periwinkle all mixed in together. It’s navy blue. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:19+00:00 December 7th, 2011|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Jean AAR, Real Life|Tags: |4 Comments

I (heart) Vintage Nightgowns!

Vintage Nightgown

I never considered buying intimates from a thrift store, but one day I was wondering through Goodwill and suddenly – there it was. Someone else had picked it out and decided against it, leaving it hanging on a shelf full of dishes or some such. It was an old nightgown, about six feet long, bright fuschia, and made of that old Dupont Nylon that feels like olive oil slipping over your fingers. It was soft, heavy and delicious and I had to have it. So I took it home and laundered it and wore it every time it was clean for many years. Since that find I always seek out vintage nightgowns like that, and can normally tell at a glance if the pajama rack has anything interesting.

By | 2017-06-23T08:31:19+00:00 November 25th, 2011|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Fashion, Wendy AAR|Tags: |13 Comments