Accoutrements dans la vallée de Loire

We’ve made it to France!

Even better yet, we’re spending the first part of the holiday in the Loire valley. Home to many amazing Chateaux, fantastic wines and amazing crémants!

Upon landing at CDG Saturday, we made our way through customs and to our friend’s pick up point. While waiting we stumbled upon Ladurée and thought: “Macarons are definitely in order for our road trip!”

Half way to our destination and home for the next week, Clos de Chavigny, a 16th century Chateau, we stopped for lunch at Chambord, walked the grounds and enjoyed a small meal.

It was a long day, but we did eventually arrive at Chavigny.

The chateau itself is very lovely and quiet. It’s proprietors keep a well running B&B. There are 8 of us and we rented out the whole chateau for the week, which is a real treat for sure.

Finishing touches, really…

When I received my MS in EE, my father gave me his father’s pocket watch. Of course, it holds some sentimental value and now I actually have a place to wear it! Some time ago, I purchased an antique watch chain off of eBay.

I think I was drawn to it because of the black gros-grain ribbon, but I always knew that I would be replacing the ribbon with something more colorful that would match the breeches and the occasion better.

I chose a robin’s egg blue ribbon with gold embroidery and replaced the tired black ribbon with new. I stumbled across a small gold desk key at home and added it to the letter stamp. Et voila!

My shoes

There are very few places where a man can find a nice pair of 18th century shoes, but I’ve listed them below. The ones I preferred off of etsy for this event were simply more than I wanted to spend and so I had the idea to figure out a way to make my own on a budget.

Given the style of shoe I was looking for, I had an idea to take a Cuban dance shoe and alter it to fit the occasion.

Below are the shoes I purchased off of amazon.com. To the right are the buckles I selected from the Sign of the Gray Horse shop on etsy.com. Docked stockings were purchased from Townsends.

Next, I visited my local Goodwill and went looking for a black handbag that matched the style of the leather of the shoe so that I could make faux leather latchets.

After finding an acceptable choice, I slashed the bag to pieces, created 2 leather latchets for each shoe and attached them to the shoe using a hot glue gun.

Both American Dutchess (video) and Townsends have a good video on YouTube about placing holes into the latchet.

In the end, I think these shoes strike the right mood and styling without costing me too much. I spent $40 on the shoes, $38 on the buckles and $6 on the handbag that was used for upcycling.

Sarah’s shoes

One thing that Sarah felt pretty strong about is foot comfort. She expressly did not want to stand in heels for several hours. That being said, I went on the hunt for a comfortable modern shoe that would look pretty with the sacque. Tom’s had a pair of velvet flats with a small bow in a pretty crushed pinkish/purplish velvet. Done.

I used some of the pearl/rhinestone findings that embellished the dress to finish them off. While not historically accurate, they work well with the sacque gown and will be comfortable.

Jewelry

Sarah will wear some reproduction pieces created by the Smithsonian in the mid-90’s from Marie Antoinette’s jewelry collection and an original piece that I worked on some years ago that is composed of 18th century busts or scenes carved into cameo ovals.

Lastly, she will wear some large jeweled bee rings from Gucci.

And so…we are ready! Only hair and makeup! It’s been a fun project to make these garments and style them.

Next post? The results in Versailles!

Until then!

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