Gentle Hobbies and Grand Passions, Part Two

It could be argued that the Victorian sidesaddle riding habit is one of the garments that laid the foundations for later Steampunk interpretations of the dress of the period. One of the hallmarks of Steampunk fashion for women is androgyny, whether it be a hint contained in a few details or accessories, or the full-on adoption of male clothing. The Victorian riding habit typically had almost masculine tailoring and simplicity, quite a contrast to the lace and ruffles of feminine dress of the time. The result was startling when compared with normal modes of dress, as well as alluring and elegant.

Victorian-era Fashion Plate

With Blackbird, my new horse, housed safely in her stall, I knew it was time to find riding gear. Something simple and elegantly tailored. Nothing in the way of frills or fuss. Enter the Victorian Riding Kip by Skye Qi.

Supremely unfussy, both in lines and rendering cost, this outfit is a very good value at L$150. The Riding Kip is primarily system clothing, very well-textured and shaped, with garments on the underpinnings level as well as the outerwear level. It comes with undershirt, blouse, glitchies, skirt, and gloves. Prim accessories include riding hat and cane.

I was happy to discover that the pieces are modifiable, so I tinted my riding kip from the original vanilla to my favorite soft cocoa brown. Besides, one couldn't possibly wear white after Labor Day.

The skirt of Miss Qi's riding kip has just enough bustle to create a really lovely line from shoulders to toes, while flashing a daring hint of ankle. The texturing, one of the things I focus on when evaluating an outfit, is really quite nice. The fabric of the kip is obviously very sturdy, and meant for a day's riding, able to protect the wearer from scratches and the like.

Ladylike Sidesaddle

Bustle view.

A horse is a horse and a man is a man
And neither can be the other
And each can survive but is much better
In the company of one another.
~ Tomás Ó Cárthaigh


Gentle Hobbies and Grand Passions, Part One

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion." Like shopping and fashion in Second Life, right? For a couple of posts, I'll be looking at the means to indulge one's equestrian passion in style.

Cheval Verite

The relaxed country atmosphere of Caledon On Sea, the impending autumn, and my increased land holdings all cried out for one thing. At last, I have the thing I've wanted since I was five years old. I have a PONY. Well, not exactly a pony. I have one of Virrginia Tombola's magnificent Cheval Verite riding horses. For a long time, I resisted the pull of her Eyre Carriage House, but I couldn't resist forever.

A girl and her horse.

The Cheval Verite comes in a variety of breeds, and one can choose their saddle option, English, Western, or sidesaddle. I, being a proper Victorian girl, chose sidesaddle, and a darling black horse because black goes with everything. At L$1850, this was not an inexpensive purchase, but the package comes with a wearable horse for riding, very detailed and flexible, a static horse for display, and a dual-rider version for sharing a ride with a sweetheart. The sidesaddle and English versions are both L$1850 each, the Western option is $2200.

Look for "Gentle Hobbies and Grand Passions, Part Two/The Riding Habit" soon.


Frugality is misery in disguise.

Your humble blogger, avoiding misery.

Today's title brought to us by Publilius Syrus. I only occasionally agree with this thought. On a recent shopping trip, I walked into one of those occasions.

In my previous post, I mentioned a dress that caused me to revise my budget. I think that most of us have certain favorite designers, designers who have an almost mystical control over our purse strings where their new releases are concerned. Budgetary Achilles heels, as it were. Personally, I have a tremendous weakness for the lovely work of Mau Delarosa: in my opinion, one of the best historical designers in Second Life.

When I discovered that Miss Delarosa had a new release, I considered purchasing it for all of, oh, five seconds perhaps? Even at L$700, The Black Taffeta Evening Gown had to be mine. Miss Delarosa's designs are definitely at the higher end of the price scale for historic clothing, but the incredible detail and craftsmanship that she puts into each design makes them well worth the price tag.

The flow of the dress echoes the flow of the fountain.

The Black Taffeta Evening Gown is a late Victorian dress, with a sweetly sinuous line, very flattering to feminine curves. The level of detail is just incredible, with beautiful embroidery and fine tailoring, right down to the cascading train.

The bowed train of the Black Taffeta Evening Gown.

The ensemble includes lovely detailed accessories: embroidered gloves and a wrap to protect the wearer from the chill night air.

Opera-length gloves with matching embroidery.

Kamilah Hauptmann's fabulous Lionsgate Palace proved to be a jewel-like setting for a photo shoot in my new gown. It's a wonderful build; please take a moment to explore it.

A fine silk wrap, catching the moonlight.


The Moon of Falling Leaves

Few of the famous poets and thinkers of the Victorian age seemed to have anything good to say about November. They wrote it off as "Chill and drear" and "dull and dark". In the Steamrealms, I think we know better. With winter not far off, it's a marvelous time to celebrate the changing seasons with picnics, dances, strolls through the countryside. And for those hunting for the perfect thing to wear, a host of designers are obligingly providing us with new designs.

I dearly wish I had the lindens to lay my hands on all the pretty new things I've seen recently, but alas, one must budget. Leading off the list are the new Fleur d'Automne collection of day gowns from Montagne Noire Clothiers. They come in jewel tones of turquoise, ruby, and topaz, and are a very economical L$250.

Fleur d'Automne

Next are the Lady Romana evening gowns from To-a-T. These lovely striped, brocade gowns are made with Terry Lightfoot's typical versatilty, coming with a variety of shirt options for a variety of looks. In six different hues, they are $500 each.

Lady Romana

Naergilien Wunderlich of Wunderlich's Historical Garb is offering a new example of her meticulously crafted, impeccably researched, thoroughly lovely dresses. Empress Elizabeth's Hungarian Coronation Gown dates to 1867.

The picture says it all.

Miss Wunderlich's interpretation of this gown was inspired by the original design from Charles Frederick Worth, and is offered in a range of colors. Ringing up at L$850, each gown set consists of two bodices, two system skirts, two prim skirts, glitchies, prim shoes, and sleeve, chest, and train attachments, to create individual outfits ranging from merely formal to all-out splendor. With Christmas and Solstice festivities just around the corner, this would be a marvelous choice for a grand ball. Glass slippers, anyone?

The display at Wunderlich's.

Next time, the gown that tempted me into revising my budget. Until then, happy shopping.