As much as I love my new cotton gown which I bought via the online gift shop of Jane Austen Centre in Bath – until last Tuesday I had concerns about wearing it outside the house on the “dirty” streets. I thought I would have to take care of it all the time and couldn’t concentrate on something else for a minute. And what about handling this precious jewel of mine – as which I still regard it, now even more :) – when walking stairs, sitting on benches or using a public toilet? It could get dirty and crumply.
Nonetheless it was too tempting – when my brother and sister-in-law invited me to spend a day on the Flower Island Mainau together with their children I decided this was the day to put my dream dress to the reality test.
So for more than an hour I sat in the backseat of a car with two of the three children beside of me, my feet in a small space beside two large bags. Then I had to get out of the car and walk over a lawn and gravel (the little stones went straight into my shoes). All the time while we were walking I carried my large bag over my shoulder.
We spent about eight hours on the island, walked on all kinds of paths among the plants and flowers, sat on benches eating, climbed stairs, and of course had to use the toilets. Then back to the car and home. During all this time I sometimes almost “forgot” the dress, because even with all those “exercises” it was so comfortable to wear and I didn’t have to “handle” it at all. And when I checked it from top to bottom after coming home, it still looked as if I had just put it on – no crumpling at all and no dirt at the seam on the back, even though I had not held it up very often. It still looked perfect. I could just as well wear it for my daily errands or walking the dogs – just as the women did 200 years ago. A true day dress made for everyday life!