Buttons and Bows

ButtonsWoman's_Dress_LACMA_38.19.1a-b_(2_of_4)My research lately has centered on the 1830s election for the UK Prime Minister that threw out Wellington’s conservative party and voted in Earl Grey’s reformist party—does that sound like history repeating itself? Of course, the series focuses on romance, my magical Malcolms, and recalcitrant Ives, so the books really are about people and not politics. What can be more about people than fashion?

I’ve spent the better part of my career writing about the Regency era, which is technically a much smaller period of time than publishers believe. So if they want to include the late Georgian era as Regency, then why not the 1830’s, after George IV dies? I’m not even sure William’s reign over the ensuing decade has a name. Publishers are probably calling it the Victorian era, simply because Victoria’s reign took over almost the rest of the century.

No matter what era we call it, fashions change on a yearly basis—women’s fashions anyway. I can look at Fashionimages of men from 1800 and 1830 and not see a startling amount of difference. But during those thirty years, women went from wispy, uncorseted waistless gowns to heavy corsets, tiny waists, leg-o-mutton sleeves and skirts over five petticoats.

My fascination, though, is with the intricate little details necessary when characters dress and undress. Did you know that metal buttons weren’t invented until 1807? (and of course, they had no plastic!) A cloth-covered version didn’t come around until 1827. So ladies wanting buttons down their fronts for easier dressing either had to look really gawkish with metal down their middle, or wait until modistes figured out how to conceal them with cloth. And solid-headed pins weren't manufactured until 1831, so pinning up those gowns could be a real chore!

Sewing_machine_Cathedral_Museum_Mdina_Malta_2014_But blessedly, elastic fabric made of rubber came long about 1820, because my inventor had use for that. And while a sewing machine wasn’t patented until 1850, there were innumerable examples of them being used well before that, so my inventor’s lady could sew the new fashionable pleats into shirts so much faster.

Despite all the pretty images on the internet of shoes, I’ve never spent much time researching them. Kicking off ladies’ slippers probably didn’t take long, but a man’s boots?

How much clothing description do you like in a book? Or are you like me and just want to know how to get them out of their clothes?

https://www.pinterest.com/clg241/1800s-shoes/

160 thoughts on “Buttons and Bows”

  1. I do enjoy some description of the clothes, but not too much! Men’s clothes do tend to be described more generically than women’s. I love the picture at the top of this article; I had assumed it was a close-up of a man’s coat, but now I think it’s a lady’s dress. Is it?

    Reply
  2. I do enjoy some description of the clothes, but not too much! Men’s clothes do tend to be described more generically than women’s. I love the picture at the top of this article; I had assumed it was a close-up of a man’s coat, but now I think it’s a lady’s dress. Is it?

    Reply
  3. I do enjoy some description of the clothes, but not too much! Men’s clothes do tend to be described more generically than women’s. I love the picture at the top of this article; I had assumed it was a close-up of a man’s coat, but now I think it’s a lady’s dress. Is it?

    Reply
  4. I do enjoy some description of the clothes, but not too much! Men’s clothes do tend to be described more generically than women’s. I love the picture at the top of this article; I had assumed it was a close-up of a man’s coat, but now I think it’s a lady’s dress. Is it?

    Reply
  5. I do enjoy some description of the clothes, but not too much! Men’s clothes do tend to be described more generically than women’s. I love the picture at the top of this article; I had assumed it was a close-up of a man’s coat, but now I think it’s a lady’s dress. Is it?

    Reply
  6. I love descriptions of clothes, but then I love clothes. Those pins have always intrigued me. I can’t help thinking that people must have pricked themselves fairly often, especially when attacking the clothes in a fit of passion. So I have also wondered about using them as a possible murder weapon. Could you dip the pins in poison and hope that sooner or later a finger will be pricked? Chancy, since the wrong finger (or none) might get pricked, but hard to be brought back to the murderer.
    But what sort of poison would work? Would it weaken with age? Maybe someone picking up grandmother’s old gown would be pricked. Hmm.

    Reply
  7. I love descriptions of clothes, but then I love clothes. Those pins have always intrigued me. I can’t help thinking that people must have pricked themselves fairly often, especially when attacking the clothes in a fit of passion. So I have also wondered about using them as a possible murder weapon. Could you dip the pins in poison and hope that sooner or later a finger will be pricked? Chancy, since the wrong finger (or none) might get pricked, but hard to be brought back to the murderer.
    But what sort of poison would work? Would it weaken with age? Maybe someone picking up grandmother’s old gown would be pricked. Hmm.

    Reply
  8. I love descriptions of clothes, but then I love clothes. Those pins have always intrigued me. I can’t help thinking that people must have pricked themselves fairly often, especially when attacking the clothes in a fit of passion. So I have also wondered about using them as a possible murder weapon. Could you dip the pins in poison and hope that sooner or later a finger will be pricked? Chancy, since the wrong finger (or none) might get pricked, but hard to be brought back to the murderer.
    But what sort of poison would work? Would it weaken with age? Maybe someone picking up grandmother’s old gown would be pricked. Hmm.

    Reply
  9. I love descriptions of clothes, but then I love clothes. Those pins have always intrigued me. I can’t help thinking that people must have pricked themselves fairly often, especially when attacking the clothes in a fit of passion. So I have also wondered about using them as a possible murder weapon. Could you dip the pins in poison and hope that sooner or later a finger will be pricked? Chancy, since the wrong finger (or none) might get pricked, but hard to be brought back to the murderer.
    But what sort of poison would work? Would it weaken with age? Maybe someone picking up grandmother’s old gown would be pricked. Hmm.

    Reply
  10. I love descriptions of clothes, but then I love clothes. Those pins have always intrigued me. I can’t help thinking that people must have pricked themselves fairly often, especially when attacking the clothes in a fit of passion. So I have also wondered about using them as a possible murder weapon. Could you dip the pins in poison and hope that sooner or later a finger will be pricked? Chancy, since the wrong finger (or none) might get pricked, but hard to be brought back to the murderer.
    But what sort of poison would work? Would it weaken with age? Maybe someone picking up grandmother’s old gown would be pricked. Hmm.

    Reply
  11. I think some description is nice – but not too much. You know, color, style – the basics.
    This post got me thinking though. What was it like for the lower classes who didn’t have someone to help them get in and out of their clothes? Where their styles more utilitarian? I’m going to have to check that out. The internet is good for that.

    Reply
  12. I think some description is nice – but not too much. You know, color, style – the basics.
    This post got me thinking though. What was it like for the lower classes who didn’t have someone to help them get in and out of their clothes? Where their styles more utilitarian? I’m going to have to check that out. The internet is good for that.

    Reply
  13. I think some description is nice – but not too much. You know, color, style – the basics.
    This post got me thinking though. What was it like for the lower classes who didn’t have someone to help them get in and out of their clothes? Where their styles more utilitarian? I’m going to have to check that out. The internet is good for that.

    Reply
  14. I think some description is nice – but not too much. You know, color, style – the basics.
    This post got me thinking though. What was it like for the lower classes who didn’t have someone to help them get in and out of their clothes? Where their styles more utilitarian? I’m going to have to check that out. The internet is good for that.

    Reply
  15. I think some description is nice – but not too much. You know, color, style – the basics.
    This post got me thinking though. What was it like for the lower classes who didn’t have someone to help them get in and out of their clothes? Where their styles more utilitarian? I’m going to have to check that out. The internet is good for that.

    Reply
  16. “The internet of shoes,” yes! Not that I’m much of a shoe person–I want comfort first, last, and always–but if there is an Internet of Things, why not an Internet of Shoes? Great post, Pat!

    Reply
  17. “The internet of shoes,” yes! Not that I’m much of a shoe person–I want comfort first, last, and always–but if there is an Internet of Things, why not an Internet of Shoes? Great post, Pat!

    Reply
  18. “The internet of shoes,” yes! Not that I’m much of a shoe person–I want comfort first, last, and always–but if there is an Internet of Things, why not an Internet of Shoes? Great post, Pat!

    Reply
  19. “The internet of shoes,” yes! Not that I’m much of a shoe person–I want comfort first, last, and always–but if there is an Internet of Things, why not an Internet of Shoes? Great post, Pat!

    Reply
  20. “The internet of shoes,” yes! Not that I’m much of a shoe person–I want comfort first, last, and always–but if there is an Internet of Things, why not an Internet of Shoes? Great post, Pat!

    Reply
  21. I don’t know how much I notice details in a story. I want “enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to get in the way of the story.”
    I KNOW how unfair to an author that statement is. How can you judge? And by what measure, since I’m sure that my own measure changes from day to day and that no oe person’s measure would match that of “most” readers.
    I can tell you that one of the reasons I fell in love with Georgette Heyer so many years ago was that her stories explained Jane Austen to me. An Austen novel would mention something like “Speculation” like we would mention “Monopoly” in the expectation that the reader would understand. As of course, the reader would, because Jane Austen was writing to a contemporary audience about the current times. They are only historical novels because we have continued to read them without continuing to play Speculation.
    The game comparison came first to mind, but it applies to any detail, including fashion. Fairly recently, one of you Word Wenches scratched an unknown itch by explaining “Stays” on this blog. I am SO very grateful for this. And I’m sure having that explanation in the middle of the action would have felt like interference.
    Some details will always need to be given in situations like the Word Wenches blog. But some details can be slipped into the action and those details help us understand the flavor of the times. One frequent example comes to mind; several of my favorite authors mention undoing the tapes that were the closures of the time. There is no interruption in the narrative presentation when that details given, but those references build a feeling for the clothing of those years.
    So I guess I’m saying to all authors — keep the narrative going, but remember that we readers don’t know the details, so clue us in gracefully when the narrative allows.
    And to the Word Wenches specifically, keep up the good work and continue to explain here when the explanations don’t fit into the narrative.

    Reply
  22. I don’t know how much I notice details in a story. I want “enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to get in the way of the story.”
    I KNOW how unfair to an author that statement is. How can you judge? And by what measure, since I’m sure that my own measure changes from day to day and that no oe person’s measure would match that of “most” readers.
    I can tell you that one of the reasons I fell in love with Georgette Heyer so many years ago was that her stories explained Jane Austen to me. An Austen novel would mention something like “Speculation” like we would mention “Monopoly” in the expectation that the reader would understand. As of course, the reader would, because Jane Austen was writing to a contemporary audience about the current times. They are only historical novels because we have continued to read them without continuing to play Speculation.
    The game comparison came first to mind, but it applies to any detail, including fashion. Fairly recently, one of you Word Wenches scratched an unknown itch by explaining “Stays” on this blog. I am SO very grateful for this. And I’m sure having that explanation in the middle of the action would have felt like interference.
    Some details will always need to be given in situations like the Word Wenches blog. But some details can be slipped into the action and those details help us understand the flavor of the times. One frequent example comes to mind; several of my favorite authors mention undoing the tapes that were the closures of the time. There is no interruption in the narrative presentation when that details given, but those references build a feeling for the clothing of those years.
    So I guess I’m saying to all authors — keep the narrative going, but remember that we readers don’t know the details, so clue us in gracefully when the narrative allows.
    And to the Word Wenches specifically, keep up the good work and continue to explain here when the explanations don’t fit into the narrative.

    Reply
  23. I don’t know how much I notice details in a story. I want “enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to get in the way of the story.”
    I KNOW how unfair to an author that statement is. How can you judge? And by what measure, since I’m sure that my own measure changes from day to day and that no oe person’s measure would match that of “most” readers.
    I can tell you that one of the reasons I fell in love with Georgette Heyer so many years ago was that her stories explained Jane Austen to me. An Austen novel would mention something like “Speculation” like we would mention “Monopoly” in the expectation that the reader would understand. As of course, the reader would, because Jane Austen was writing to a contemporary audience about the current times. They are only historical novels because we have continued to read them without continuing to play Speculation.
    The game comparison came first to mind, but it applies to any detail, including fashion. Fairly recently, one of you Word Wenches scratched an unknown itch by explaining “Stays” on this blog. I am SO very grateful for this. And I’m sure having that explanation in the middle of the action would have felt like interference.
    Some details will always need to be given in situations like the Word Wenches blog. But some details can be slipped into the action and those details help us understand the flavor of the times. One frequent example comes to mind; several of my favorite authors mention undoing the tapes that were the closures of the time. There is no interruption in the narrative presentation when that details given, but those references build a feeling for the clothing of those years.
    So I guess I’m saying to all authors — keep the narrative going, but remember that we readers don’t know the details, so clue us in gracefully when the narrative allows.
    And to the Word Wenches specifically, keep up the good work and continue to explain here when the explanations don’t fit into the narrative.

    Reply
  24. I don’t know how much I notice details in a story. I want “enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to get in the way of the story.”
    I KNOW how unfair to an author that statement is. How can you judge? And by what measure, since I’m sure that my own measure changes from day to day and that no oe person’s measure would match that of “most” readers.
    I can tell you that one of the reasons I fell in love with Georgette Heyer so many years ago was that her stories explained Jane Austen to me. An Austen novel would mention something like “Speculation” like we would mention “Monopoly” in the expectation that the reader would understand. As of course, the reader would, because Jane Austen was writing to a contemporary audience about the current times. They are only historical novels because we have continued to read them without continuing to play Speculation.
    The game comparison came first to mind, but it applies to any detail, including fashion. Fairly recently, one of you Word Wenches scratched an unknown itch by explaining “Stays” on this blog. I am SO very grateful for this. And I’m sure having that explanation in the middle of the action would have felt like interference.
    Some details will always need to be given in situations like the Word Wenches blog. But some details can be slipped into the action and those details help us understand the flavor of the times. One frequent example comes to mind; several of my favorite authors mention undoing the tapes that were the closures of the time. There is no interruption in the narrative presentation when that details given, but those references build a feeling for the clothing of those years.
    So I guess I’m saying to all authors — keep the narrative going, but remember that we readers don’t know the details, so clue us in gracefully when the narrative allows.
    And to the Word Wenches specifically, keep up the good work and continue to explain here when the explanations don’t fit into the narrative.

    Reply
  25. I don’t know how much I notice details in a story. I want “enough to keep it interesting, but not enough to get in the way of the story.”
    I KNOW how unfair to an author that statement is. How can you judge? And by what measure, since I’m sure that my own measure changes from day to day and that no oe person’s measure would match that of “most” readers.
    I can tell you that one of the reasons I fell in love with Georgette Heyer so many years ago was that her stories explained Jane Austen to me. An Austen novel would mention something like “Speculation” like we would mention “Monopoly” in the expectation that the reader would understand. As of course, the reader would, because Jane Austen was writing to a contemporary audience about the current times. They are only historical novels because we have continued to read them without continuing to play Speculation.
    The game comparison came first to mind, but it applies to any detail, including fashion. Fairly recently, one of you Word Wenches scratched an unknown itch by explaining “Stays” on this blog. I am SO very grateful for this. And I’m sure having that explanation in the middle of the action would have felt like interference.
    Some details will always need to be given in situations like the Word Wenches blog. But some details can be slipped into the action and those details help us understand the flavor of the times. One frequent example comes to mind; several of my favorite authors mention undoing the tapes that were the closures of the time. There is no interruption in the narrative presentation when that details given, but those references build a feeling for the clothing of those years.
    So I guess I’m saying to all authors — keep the narrative going, but remember that we readers don’t know the details, so clue us in gracefully when the narrative allows.
    And to the Word Wenches specifically, keep up the good work and continue to explain here when the explanations don’t fit into the narrative.

    Reply
  26. I studied history in university because I have a long standing love affair with “old fashioned” dresses. It began at 3 when my imaginary friend dressed like a character from Little House on the Prairie (or so my mother tells me- she would know, she had to sew the dresses I insisted on wearing to match “Sandy”). So needless to say, I enjoy the descriptions of what the ladies are wearing! It’s why I read historical fiction, to be honest.

    Reply
  27. I studied history in university because I have a long standing love affair with “old fashioned” dresses. It began at 3 when my imaginary friend dressed like a character from Little House on the Prairie (or so my mother tells me- she would know, she had to sew the dresses I insisted on wearing to match “Sandy”). So needless to say, I enjoy the descriptions of what the ladies are wearing! It’s why I read historical fiction, to be honest.

    Reply
  28. I studied history in university because I have a long standing love affair with “old fashioned” dresses. It began at 3 when my imaginary friend dressed like a character from Little House on the Prairie (or so my mother tells me- she would know, she had to sew the dresses I insisted on wearing to match “Sandy”). So needless to say, I enjoy the descriptions of what the ladies are wearing! It’s why I read historical fiction, to be honest.

    Reply
  29. I studied history in university because I have a long standing love affair with “old fashioned” dresses. It began at 3 when my imaginary friend dressed like a character from Little House on the Prairie (or so my mother tells me- she would know, she had to sew the dresses I insisted on wearing to match “Sandy”). So needless to say, I enjoy the descriptions of what the ladies are wearing! It’s why I read historical fiction, to be honest.

    Reply
  30. I studied history in university because I have a long standing love affair with “old fashioned” dresses. It began at 3 when my imaginary friend dressed like a character from Little House on the Prairie (or so my mother tells me- she would know, she had to sew the dresses I insisted on wearing to match “Sandy”). So needless to say, I enjoy the descriptions of what the ladies are wearing! It’s why I read historical fiction, to be honest.

    Reply
  31. In addition to metal buttons, did they also have bone and wooden ones? I imagine Regency ball gowns or gloves with pearl buttons but don’t really know if they used such materials, it just seems pearls go with evening wear more than metal does.
    As for the comment about maids getting the hand-me-downs, wouldn’t they usually sell them? Cash in hand would be far more useful than a dress that was impractical and hard to maintain when one didn’t have a maid of one’s own.

    Reply
  32. In addition to metal buttons, did they also have bone and wooden ones? I imagine Regency ball gowns or gloves with pearl buttons but don’t really know if they used such materials, it just seems pearls go with evening wear more than metal does.
    As for the comment about maids getting the hand-me-downs, wouldn’t they usually sell them? Cash in hand would be far more useful than a dress that was impractical and hard to maintain when one didn’t have a maid of one’s own.

    Reply
  33. In addition to metal buttons, did they also have bone and wooden ones? I imagine Regency ball gowns or gloves with pearl buttons but don’t really know if they used such materials, it just seems pearls go with evening wear more than metal does.
    As for the comment about maids getting the hand-me-downs, wouldn’t they usually sell them? Cash in hand would be far more useful than a dress that was impractical and hard to maintain when one didn’t have a maid of one’s own.

    Reply
  34. In addition to metal buttons, did they also have bone and wooden ones? I imagine Regency ball gowns or gloves with pearl buttons but don’t really know if they used such materials, it just seems pearls go with evening wear more than metal does.
    As for the comment about maids getting the hand-me-downs, wouldn’t they usually sell them? Cash in hand would be far more useful than a dress that was impractical and hard to maintain when one didn’t have a maid of one’s own.

    Reply
  35. In addition to metal buttons, did they also have bone and wooden ones? I imagine Regency ball gowns or gloves with pearl buttons but don’t really know if they used such materials, it just seems pearls go with evening wear more than metal does.
    As for the comment about maids getting the hand-me-downs, wouldn’t they usually sell them? Cash in hand would be far more useful than a dress that was impractical and hard to maintain when one didn’t have a maid of one’s own.

    Reply
  36. thank you for the encouragement to our nerdiness! It is a tight rope to walk when we write because we all want to put in all this fun stuff we learn when we research. But unless the hero gets stuck on the tapes, it’s hard to squeeze that detail in without stopping the action. And so many people now know what these details mean, that’s it’s hard to guess which ones need explaining. So viva la blog!

    Reply
  37. thank you for the encouragement to our nerdiness! It is a tight rope to walk when we write because we all want to put in all this fun stuff we learn when we research. But unless the hero gets stuck on the tapes, it’s hard to squeeze that detail in without stopping the action. And so many people now know what these details mean, that’s it’s hard to guess which ones need explaining. So viva la blog!

    Reply
  38. thank you for the encouragement to our nerdiness! It is a tight rope to walk when we write because we all want to put in all this fun stuff we learn when we research. But unless the hero gets stuck on the tapes, it’s hard to squeeze that detail in without stopping the action. And so many people now know what these details mean, that’s it’s hard to guess which ones need explaining. So viva la blog!

    Reply
  39. thank you for the encouragement to our nerdiness! It is a tight rope to walk when we write because we all want to put in all this fun stuff we learn when we research. But unless the hero gets stuck on the tapes, it’s hard to squeeze that detail in without stopping the action. And so many people now know what these details mean, that’s it’s hard to guess which ones need explaining. So viva la blog!

    Reply
  40. thank you for the encouragement to our nerdiness! It is a tight rope to walk when we write because we all want to put in all this fun stuff we learn when we research. But unless the hero gets stuck on the tapes, it’s hard to squeeze that detail in without stopping the action. And so many people now know what these details mean, that’s it’s hard to guess which ones need explaining. So viva la blog!

    Reply
  41. You’re probably right about the maids selling the gowns. I just like to imagine them going out with their young men and flaunting silk. The writer in me, I fear.
    Definitely need to do more button research. Pearl is very possible on the most elegant and expensive. But what about the lesser ones? Argh, now see what you’ve done!

    Reply
  42. You’re probably right about the maids selling the gowns. I just like to imagine them going out with their young men and flaunting silk. The writer in me, I fear.
    Definitely need to do more button research. Pearl is very possible on the most elegant and expensive. But what about the lesser ones? Argh, now see what you’ve done!

    Reply
  43. You’re probably right about the maids selling the gowns. I just like to imagine them going out with their young men and flaunting silk. The writer in me, I fear.
    Definitely need to do more button research. Pearl is very possible on the most elegant and expensive. But what about the lesser ones? Argh, now see what you’ve done!

    Reply
  44. You’re probably right about the maids selling the gowns. I just like to imagine them going out with their young men and flaunting silk. The writer in me, I fear.
    Definitely need to do more button research. Pearl is very possible on the most elegant and expensive. But what about the lesser ones? Argh, now see what you’ve done!

    Reply
  45. You’re probably right about the maids selling the gowns. I just like to imagine them going out with their young men and flaunting silk. The writer in me, I fear.
    Definitely need to do more button research. Pearl is very possible on the most elegant and expensive. But what about the lesser ones? Argh, now see what you’ve done!

    Reply
  46. oh, that’s a fascinating site! I’m wondering how they would put holes in delicate mother of pearl, but I suppose some of those shells were tough. Can you imagine what it must have been like to sew buttonholes by hand? Although given all the expensive embroidery at the time, buttonholes may have been a baby’s job.
    But adding the holes or the metal on back would be the main challenge to what could be used, I guess.

    Reply
  47. oh, that’s a fascinating site! I’m wondering how they would put holes in delicate mother of pearl, but I suppose some of those shells were tough. Can you imagine what it must have been like to sew buttonholes by hand? Although given all the expensive embroidery at the time, buttonholes may have been a baby’s job.
    But adding the holes or the metal on back would be the main challenge to what could be used, I guess.

    Reply
  48. oh, that’s a fascinating site! I’m wondering how they would put holes in delicate mother of pearl, but I suppose some of those shells were tough. Can you imagine what it must have been like to sew buttonholes by hand? Although given all the expensive embroidery at the time, buttonholes may have been a baby’s job.
    But adding the holes or the metal on back would be the main challenge to what could be used, I guess.

    Reply
  49. oh, that’s a fascinating site! I’m wondering how they would put holes in delicate mother of pearl, but I suppose some of those shells were tough. Can you imagine what it must have been like to sew buttonholes by hand? Although given all the expensive embroidery at the time, buttonholes may have been a baby’s job.
    But adding the holes or the metal on back would be the main challenge to what could be used, I guess.

    Reply
  50. oh, that’s a fascinating site! I’m wondering how they would put holes in delicate mother of pearl, but I suppose some of those shells were tough. Can you imagine what it must have been like to sew buttonholes by hand? Although given all the expensive embroidery at the time, buttonholes may have been a baby’s job.
    But adding the holes or the metal on back would be the main challenge to what could be used, I guess.

    Reply
  51. I think that long buttoned gloves — the kind we have now, with tiny buttons at the wrist so the whole glove can be tighter — were after the Regency period. Regency evening gloves were just pull-on, and so they had to be looser.
    Fellow historical author Louise Allen kindly researched her vast collection of Regency prints for me when I was writing a story where the (very protracted!) removal of the heroine’s evening gloves was central to the love story. My original version had buttons at the wrist but they had to go!

    Reply
  52. I think that long buttoned gloves — the kind we have now, with tiny buttons at the wrist so the whole glove can be tighter — were after the Regency period. Regency evening gloves were just pull-on, and so they had to be looser.
    Fellow historical author Louise Allen kindly researched her vast collection of Regency prints for me when I was writing a story where the (very protracted!) removal of the heroine’s evening gloves was central to the love story. My original version had buttons at the wrist but they had to go!

    Reply
  53. I think that long buttoned gloves — the kind we have now, with tiny buttons at the wrist so the whole glove can be tighter — were after the Regency period. Regency evening gloves were just pull-on, and so they had to be looser.
    Fellow historical author Louise Allen kindly researched her vast collection of Regency prints for me when I was writing a story where the (very protracted!) removal of the heroine’s evening gloves was central to the love story. My original version had buttons at the wrist but they had to go!

    Reply
  54. I think that long buttoned gloves — the kind we have now, with tiny buttons at the wrist so the whole glove can be tighter — were after the Regency period. Regency evening gloves were just pull-on, and so they had to be looser.
    Fellow historical author Louise Allen kindly researched her vast collection of Regency prints for me when I was writing a story where the (very protracted!) removal of the heroine’s evening gloves was central to the love story. My original version had buttons at the wrist but they had to go!

    Reply
  55. I think that long buttoned gloves — the kind we have now, with tiny buttons at the wrist so the whole glove can be tighter — were after the Regency period. Regency evening gloves were just pull-on, and so they had to be looser.
    Fellow historical author Louise Allen kindly researched her vast collection of Regency prints for me when I was writing a story where the (very protracted!) removal of the heroine’s evening gloves was central to the love story. My original version had buttons at the wrist but they had to go!

    Reply
  56. Hi Pat, I believe clothes are important because they say something about the person wearing them as well as about the fashion of the day. However, it’s quite hard to describe clothes successfully without being long-winded. Georgette Heyer was really good at writing ‘word pictures’ of clothing and it is one of the reasons I love her books. She made the Regency period come alive. So I can only say please keep up the clothes descriptions, from planning what to wear for an important occassion to the even more important task of getting them off at critical moment.

    Reply
  57. Hi Pat, I believe clothes are important because they say something about the person wearing them as well as about the fashion of the day. However, it’s quite hard to describe clothes successfully without being long-winded. Georgette Heyer was really good at writing ‘word pictures’ of clothing and it is one of the reasons I love her books. She made the Regency period come alive. So I can only say please keep up the clothes descriptions, from planning what to wear for an important occassion to the even more important task of getting them off at critical moment.

    Reply
  58. Hi Pat, I believe clothes are important because they say something about the person wearing them as well as about the fashion of the day. However, it’s quite hard to describe clothes successfully without being long-winded. Georgette Heyer was really good at writing ‘word pictures’ of clothing and it is one of the reasons I love her books. She made the Regency period come alive. So I can only say please keep up the clothes descriptions, from planning what to wear for an important occassion to the even more important task of getting them off at critical moment.

    Reply
  59. Hi Pat, I believe clothes are important because they say something about the person wearing them as well as about the fashion of the day. However, it’s quite hard to describe clothes successfully without being long-winded. Georgette Heyer was really good at writing ‘word pictures’ of clothing and it is one of the reasons I love her books. She made the Regency period come alive. So I can only say please keep up the clothes descriptions, from planning what to wear for an important occassion to the even more important task of getting them off at critical moment.

    Reply
  60. Hi Pat, I believe clothes are important because they say something about the person wearing them as well as about the fashion of the day. However, it’s quite hard to describe clothes successfully without being long-winded. Georgette Heyer was really good at writing ‘word pictures’ of clothing and it is one of the reasons I love her books. She made the Regency period come alive. So I can only say please keep up the clothes descriptions, from planning what to wear for an important occassion to the even more important task of getting them off at critical moment.

    Reply
  61. oh, that’s good to know! I don’t think I’ve ever written a glove scene (my heroines tend to be in the garden more than ballrooms ;)) but I’ve read a lot of them and idly wondered, but I was too lazy to look it up!

    Reply
  62. oh, that’s good to know! I don’t think I’ve ever written a glove scene (my heroines tend to be in the garden more than ballrooms ;)) but I’ve read a lot of them and idly wondered, but I was too lazy to look it up!

    Reply
  63. oh, that’s good to know! I don’t think I’ve ever written a glove scene (my heroines tend to be in the garden more than ballrooms ;)) but I’ve read a lot of them and idly wondered, but I was too lazy to look it up!

    Reply
  64. oh, that’s good to know! I don’t think I’ve ever written a glove scene (my heroines tend to be in the garden more than ballrooms ;)) but I’ve read a lot of them and idly wondered, but I was too lazy to look it up!

    Reply
  65. oh, that’s good to know! I don’t think I’ve ever written a glove scene (my heroines tend to be in the garden more than ballrooms ;)) but I’ve read a lot of them and idly wondered, but I was too lazy to look it up!

    Reply
  66. I’m listening! I’m a Leo and adore clothes but I always feel as if adding that description when I’m just setting up a scene is superfluous. I really need to dig out the Heyers and take a look at how she does it, but they’re slower books, and I was worried they were no longer relevant.

    Reply
  67. I’m listening! I’m a Leo and adore clothes but I always feel as if adding that description when I’m just setting up a scene is superfluous. I really need to dig out the Heyers and take a look at how she does it, but they’re slower books, and I was worried they were no longer relevant.

    Reply
  68. I’m listening! I’m a Leo and adore clothes but I always feel as if adding that description when I’m just setting up a scene is superfluous. I really need to dig out the Heyers and take a look at how she does it, but they’re slower books, and I was worried they were no longer relevant.

    Reply
  69. I’m listening! I’m a Leo and adore clothes but I always feel as if adding that description when I’m just setting up a scene is superfluous. I really need to dig out the Heyers and take a look at how she does it, but they’re slower books, and I was worried they were no longer relevant.

    Reply
  70. I’m listening! I’m a Leo and adore clothes but I always feel as if adding that description when I’m just setting up a scene is superfluous. I really need to dig out the Heyers and take a look at how she does it, but they’re slower books, and I was worried they were no longer relevant.

    Reply
  71. Some clothing description is helpful, but unfortunately, many of the fashions of the early 1800s do not really appeal to modern eyes.That is undoubtedly why romance covers show the heroine in a style of dress that was never seen in her time, in bright modern colors, and falling off at that. She is never wearing a corset underneath!?! This annoys me, but I understand that this is fantasy and marketing.

    Reply
  72. Some clothing description is helpful, but unfortunately, many of the fashions of the early 1800s do not really appeal to modern eyes.That is undoubtedly why romance covers show the heroine in a style of dress that was never seen in her time, in bright modern colors, and falling off at that. She is never wearing a corset underneath!?! This annoys me, but I understand that this is fantasy and marketing.

    Reply
  73. Some clothing description is helpful, but unfortunately, many of the fashions of the early 1800s do not really appeal to modern eyes.That is undoubtedly why romance covers show the heroine in a style of dress that was never seen in her time, in bright modern colors, and falling off at that. She is never wearing a corset underneath!?! This annoys me, but I understand that this is fantasy and marketing.

    Reply
  74. Some clothing description is helpful, but unfortunately, many of the fashions of the early 1800s do not really appeal to modern eyes.That is undoubtedly why romance covers show the heroine in a style of dress that was never seen in her time, in bright modern colors, and falling off at that. She is never wearing a corset underneath!?! This annoys me, but I understand that this is fantasy and marketing.

    Reply
  75. Some clothing description is helpful, but unfortunately, many of the fashions of the early 1800s do not really appeal to modern eyes.That is undoubtedly why romance covers show the heroine in a style of dress that was never seen in her time, in bright modern colors, and falling off at that. She is never wearing a corset underneath!?! This annoys me, but I understand that this is fantasy and marketing.

    Reply
  76. Elaine, you have hit on another concern, although not just in reference to covers. I’m writing about the 1830s, which have some of the most awful, uncomfortable designs ever to be dreamed of by mankind. So do I really want to describe that attire? But we can’t put all historical women into those 1920s evening gowns!

    Reply
  77. Elaine, you have hit on another concern, although not just in reference to covers. I’m writing about the 1830s, which have some of the most awful, uncomfortable designs ever to be dreamed of by mankind. So do I really want to describe that attire? But we can’t put all historical women into those 1920s evening gowns!

    Reply
  78. Elaine, you have hit on another concern, although not just in reference to covers. I’m writing about the 1830s, which have some of the most awful, uncomfortable designs ever to be dreamed of by mankind. So do I really want to describe that attire? But we can’t put all historical women into those 1920s evening gowns!

    Reply
  79. Elaine, you have hit on another concern, although not just in reference to covers. I’m writing about the 1830s, which have some of the most awful, uncomfortable designs ever to be dreamed of by mankind. So do I really want to describe that attire? But we can’t put all historical women into those 1920s evening gowns!

    Reply
  80. Elaine, you have hit on another concern, although not just in reference to covers. I’m writing about the 1830s, which have some of the most awful, uncomfortable designs ever to be dreamed of by mankind. So do I really want to describe that attire? But we can’t put all historical women into those 1920s evening gowns!

    Reply
  81. For things like nightgowns and men’s shirts, there were Dorset buttons—a thin slice of ram’s horn covered with thread. This was a major cottage industry in, obviously, Dorset. A woman could make buttons while minding the kiddies, stirring the pot, etc. This also vanished when factory-made buttons came into being.

    Reply
  82. For things like nightgowns and men’s shirts, there were Dorset buttons—a thin slice of ram’s horn covered with thread. This was a major cottage industry in, obviously, Dorset. A woman could make buttons while minding the kiddies, stirring the pot, etc. This also vanished when factory-made buttons came into being.

    Reply
  83. For things like nightgowns and men’s shirts, there were Dorset buttons—a thin slice of ram’s horn covered with thread. This was a major cottage industry in, obviously, Dorset. A woman could make buttons while minding the kiddies, stirring the pot, etc. This also vanished when factory-made buttons came into being.

    Reply
  84. For things like nightgowns and men’s shirts, there were Dorset buttons—a thin slice of ram’s horn covered with thread. This was a major cottage industry in, obviously, Dorset. A woman could make buttons while minding the kiddies, stirring the pot, etc. This also vanished when factory-made buttons came into being.

    Reply
  85. For things like nightgowns and men’s shirts, there were Dorset buttons—a thin slice of ram’s horn covered with thread. This was a major cottage industry in, obviously, Dorset. A woman could make buttons while minding the kiddies, stirring the pot, etc. This also vanished when factory-made buttons came into being.

    Reply
  86. if the clothes are ugly don’t spend too much time on it. Maybe have the heroine yearn for a dress seen in a family portrait. But uncomfortable is part of what she is enduring, so we need to know that.

    Reply
  87. if the clothes are ugly don’t spend too much time on it. Maybe have the heroine yearn for a dress seen in a family portrait. But uncomfortable is part of what she is enduring, so we need to know that.

    Reply
  88. if the clothes are ugly don’t spend too much time on it. Maybe have the heroine yearn for a dress seen in a family portrait. But uncomfortable is part of what she is enduring, so we need to know that.

    Reply
  89. if the clothes are ugly don’t spend too much time on it. Maybe have the heroine yearn for a dress seen in a family portrait. But uncomfortable is part of what she is enduring, so we need to know that.

    Reply
  90. if the clothes are ugly don’t spend too much time on it. Maybe have the heroine yearn for a dress seen in a family portrait. But uncomfortable is part of what she is enduring, so we need to know that.

    Reply
  91. Lovely detail, thank you! But like metal pins, I’m betting they were rare and hard to come by. I can see where losing a glove really would be a tragedy for someone without a lot of money to throw around.

    Reply
  92. Lovely detail, thank you! But like metal pins, I’m betting they were rare and hard to come by. I can see where losing a glove really would be a tragedy for someone without a lot of money to throw around.

    Reply
  93. Lovely detail, thank you! But like metal pins, I’m betting they were rare and hard to come by. I can see where losing a glove really would be a tragedy for someone without a lot of money to throw around.

    Reply
  94. Lovely detail, thank you! But like metal pins, I’m betting they were rare and hard to come by. I can see where losing a glove really would be a tragedy for someone without a lot of money to throw around.

    Reply
  95. Lovely detail, thank you! But like metal pins, I’m betting they were rare and hard to come by. I can see where losing a glove really would be a tragedy for someone without a lot of money to throw around.

    Reply
  96. I do like dress detail because it makes you think how HARD they had to work at getting out of those stays/corset, coverings, etc. When a gentleman was waltzing with a lady, I bet it was odd feeling all that stiff material.
    Every now and then I’ve read a book where I swear it says “he undid the buttons down her front”. And I know I was reading a Regency book. And yet…all the pictures I’ve ever seen, there weren’t buttons on the bodice. My mind gets stuck on that detail going, but … but….
    So yes, using accurate detail please do a tiny bit of explaining from time to time as it fits in the story line.
    Because I’ve read Regencies for so long, I do know what various clothing items are but you still have to include simplistic/basic bits from time to time for new readers. Plus if you’ve uncovered a really fascinating new detail for those of us who have been reading forever.
    Love to view things in a new light.

    Reply
  97. I do like dress detail because it makes you think how HARD they had to work at getting out of those stays/corset, coverings, etc. When a gentleman was waltzing with a lady, I bet it was odd feeling all that stiff material.
    Every now and then I’ve read a book where I swear it says “he undid the buttons down her front”. And I know I was reading a Regency book. And yet…all the pictures I’ve ever seen, there weren’t buttons on the bodice. My mind gets stuck on that detail going, but … but….
    So yes, using accurate detail please do a tiny bit of explaining from time to time as it fits in the story line.
    Because I’ve read Regencies for so long, I do know what various clothing items are but you still have to include simplistic/basic bits from time to time for new readers. Plus if you’ve uncovered a really fascinating new detail for those of us who have been reading forever.
    Love to view things in a new light.

    Reply
  98. I do like dress detail because it makes you think how HARD they had to work at getting out of those stays/corset, coverings, etc. When a gentleman was waltzing with a lady, I bet it was odd feeling all that stiff material.
    Every now and then I’ve read a book where I swear it says “he undid the buttons down her front”. And I know I was reading a Regency book. And yet…all the pictures I’ve ever seen, there weren’t buttons on the bodice. My mind gets stuck on that detail going, but … but….
    So yes, using accurate detail please do a tiny bit of explaining from time to time as it fits in the story line.
    Because I’ve read Regencies for so long, I do know what various clothing items are but you still have to include simplistic/basic bits from time to time for new readers. Plus if you’ve uncovered a really fascinating new detail for those of us who have been reading forever.
    Love to view things in a new light.

    Reply
  99. I do like dress detail because it makes you think how HARD they had to work at getting out of those stays/corset, coverings, etc. When a gentleman was waltzing with a lady, I bet it was odd feeling all that stiff material.
    Every now and then I’ve read a book where I swear it says “he undid the buttons down her front”. And I know I was reading a Regency book. And yet…all the pictures I’ve ever seen, there weren’t buttons on the bodice. My mind gets stuck on that detail going, but … but….
    So yes, using accurate detail please do a tiny bit of explaining from time to time as it fits in the story line.
    Because I’ve read Regencies for so long, I do know what various clothing items are but you still have to include simplistic/basic bits from time to time for new readers. Plus if you’ve uncovered a really fascinating new detail for those of us who have been reading forever.
    Love to view things in a new light.

    Reply
  100. I do like dress detail because it makes you think how HARD they had to work at getting out of those stays/corset, coverings, etc. When a gentleman was waltzing with a lady, I bet it was odd feeling all that stiff material.
    Every now and then I’ve read a book where I swear it says “he undid the buttons down her front”. And I know I was reading a Regency book. And yet…all the pictures I’ve ever seen, there weren’t buttons on the bodice. My mind gets stuck on that detail going, but … but….
    So yes, using accurate detail please do a tiny bit of explaining from time to time as it fits in the story line.
    Because I’ve read Regencies for so long, I do know what various clothing items are but you still have to include simplistic/basic bits from time to time for new readers. Plus if you’ve uncovered a really fascinating new detail for those of us who have been reading forever.
    Love to view things in a new light.

    Reply

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