Jane Austen (1775-1817) hardly needs an introduction; she is one of the most beloved and admired authors in the English language. The watercolor above right is by her sister Cassandra, and is believed to be of Jane. The portrait of Jane on the left is a 19th century painting based on a sketch by Cassandra.

Talk Like Jane Austen Day is October 30, so you can get double duty out of your Halloween costume. To dress like Jane Austen, you just need a Regency gown. And some sort of headcovering—her niece said she always wore a cap (presumably under her bonnet when she went outdoors).

The pieces we suggest, from left to right:

1. Custom Regency gown. This seller will make a gown to your measurements, with your choice of fabric and trim. There are now many, many other sellers on Etsy offering Regency gowns (that wasn’t the case when we originally published this costume in 2011), so shop around to find an option that suits your taste and your budget.
2. Regency bonnet. This is the Eliza model from Austentation, which offers a wide range of Regency bonnets and hats. You can get any of them plain or decorated with your choice of fabric, feathers, ribbon, etc., and all at very reasonable prices.
3. Cap. Wear this by itself or underneath the bonnet. This is a simple period cap in white, with a little frill to frame your face.
4. Isotoner satin ballet slippers. Regency shoes were extremely similar to ballet slippers; they even had ribbons. Modern Isotoners are an excellent substitute.
5. Single strand 18-inch faux pearl necklace. Regency pearls were simple and classic-looking. If you don’t already have a basic pearl/faux pearl necklace, this one will do.


Other costumes in this category: Notable Women