Monday, 4 October 2010

Let's Go Shopping 1901 Style!

It's driving me crazy not being able to ride this past month! I lunged Hattie today to keep her from ticking over and so at least one of us isn't out of shape by the time I start riding again (hopefully by the end of October). I dread to think how out of it, I will be when I start back again!!

I've been leafing through some old magazines I have in my collection, one of which is The Queen from January 26, 1901 and was published a four days after Queen Victoria died so it was the "mourning issue" complete with a whole lot of ads in it for "fashionable mourning" clothing as a Peter Robinson department store ad stated!

I scanned all the side saddle related ads in the magazine as I thought it would be fun to go shopping 1901 style and where possible, give the prices in today's money to see how much (or how little) something would cost us.

First things first, if we are going to outfit ourselves with a new habit, then we are going to have to get the proper underwear.

The Izod's corset in this ad, would have been appropriate to wear for all the activities shown. The manufacturers wanted to show that the corset wasn't in the least constricting and would have improved your health as it would have allowed you to stay active.

I actually have an actual Izod's corset (mine is a little earlier though) for sale on my other website and it is quite flexible and seems like it would have been comfortable to ride in.

Depending on your budget, you could opt for the model priced at 6 shillings (about £17.00/ $27.00 US in 2010 money) or go the whole way and buy the 3 Guinea model which works out to £179.00 ($283.00 US)!!! Basically, it would be like us today buying a normal priced bra from La Senza or splurging on one from Rigby & Peller!

Right, with our waistline sorted, we need to be comfortable and modest under our habits so how about some knitted pantaloons? Touted as the "most comfortable garment for riding.."

To cover up the legs of our ugly knitted pantaloons, maybe we should invest in some lovely shiny new riding boots from The Mayfair Shoe Company!

At 48 shillings and 6 pence (which works out to about £133 or $210 US in 2010 money), they seem rather inexpensive to our eyes for custom riding boots when you consider how much a pair of off-the-peg Ariat riding boots will set you back! 48 shillings though, would have been out of the reach of most people in 1901 to spend on a pair of boots unless you were wealthy. I bet they would have been lovely, I wonder if Alice Hayes, author of The Horsewoman, bought her riding boots from as her pair shown in this 1903 photograph, look very similar to the ones in the Mayfair ad.

For our riding habits, we have a choice of two habit makers in the magazine.

There is Nicholl with their "Nicholl's Specialite Riding Habit, unrivalled for elegance, durability and sound workmanship" but no mention of a safety apron which manufacturers always seemed keen to point out during the era...

or a Safety Hunting Habit from E. Tautz & Sons..

Tautz looks like they were the makers of Alice Haye's safety apron shown in the 1903 edition of
her book, The Horsewoman. Maybe this is where she had her habits made?

The Nicholl's habit is price from £6 and 6 pence (about £360 or $570 US in 2010 money) but there isn't any price on the Tautz ad. Hmm, I wonder if it was a case of "if you have to ask, then you can't afford it"?!

Now that we are suitably attired, how about a new saddle?

In this ad for an A. Davis & Co Improved Side Saddle, we can buy an attachment for the saddle costing 7 shillings and 6 pence (about £21 or $33 US in 2010 money) which prevents the habit from being caught up in the pommels, causing the rider to be dragged if she fell off. This was an extra cost if you bought one of their new saddles costing £10 and 10 pence (£573 or $906 US) which even had a removable knee rest on the side of the fixed head for extra support, very similar in concept to the blocked heads sometimes seen on Edwardian Champion and Wilton side saddles:

At £573 or $906 US, you couldn't beat that price today for a custom side saddle!

1 comment:

  1. I wish a new saddle could cost that much not 4 times + a bit more :(