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Cassandra Austen’s Lifetime (1773-1845)

Pretty Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen’s elder sister by two years, lived until the ripe age of 72 . This brief visual guide demonstrates how fashion changed during her lifetime. Wherever possible, I tried to represent Cassandra’s age and the clothes she would have worn during that period. I also used the paired women combination to evoke Cassandra and Jane, even in the years after Jane’s death. The last image shows the changes in the silhouettes of the gowns regarding waists, sleeves, skirts and trains.

Mrs. Thomas Bolling with children, 1773. One can see the style of clothes baby Cassandra and Mrs. Austen would have worn after her birth.
Madame Vigee and child, 1780. Cassandra was seven and Jane had turned five, somewhat older than the child depicted in this painting.
Isaac Cruickshank Sketch 1790. Jane Austen would have been 15 and Cassandra 17 years of age. This image is NOT of the Austen sisters.
Jane Austen was 20 and Cassandra 22 when Hoppner painted this image of the Frankland sisters in 1795
Chemise dress, 1799. Lovely lines, but the trains so popular during these years must have collected dust and dirt.
Afternoon dresses, Lady’s Monthly Museum, 1802
Ingres drew the Harvey sisters in 1804 when Jane was 29 and Cassandra had turned 31
Belle Assemblee, English Costume 1807. Short trains are still fashionable.
Regency morning dress 1813
Walking dress 1817, the year Jane Austen died
Eliza Ridgely painted by Sully, 1818.
Ball gown, 1820. Notice the shorter dress length and the fancy hem.
Rust brown redingote, 1823
Morning and evening dresses in 1829. Notice how the elaborate hats and hairdos balance the large sleeves. The waistline is situated almost at its natural position and the hemlines reveal slippers and trim ankles.
Riding Habit, 1842
Would Cassandra have resembled this old woman in 1845, the year of her death?
Review of the changes in fashion silhouettes