Dressing Jessica Trent

Green_barbie_196kb From Loretta:

I’m in the middle of revisions & have caught a cold, so I guess we can forget about this blog being deep and meaningful.

Today we’re taking a short look at weird clothes in LORD OF SCOUNDRELS, my longest running production.  I wrote this book well over a decade ago, and apparently did a good job.  It won a Romance Writers of America Rita award, and readers continue to buy it and continue to let me know–either in their emails or via polls—that it’s one of their favorites.  You can expect to hear more about it in the coming months, here and elsewhere.

Lord_of_scoundrels_07sm Here it is in its beautiful new cover from Avon.  You can get the real thing in December from your favorite bookstore.

What you won’t be able to find easily (or nearly so cheaply) is the hardcover version.  It had a brief life, a small print run, and has now fallen into the hard-to-find-and-expensive category.  I had only two hardcover copies myself. 

This brings me to my short Public Service Announcement:  I’ve autographed one of these hardcovers and donated it to the All About Romance Auction for the benefit of Hands On New Orleans.  The auction began 15 October.  There’s still plenty of time to bid on it as well as on some special editions and sets of other books–a chance to get a rare edition while contributing to a worthy cause.

Back to our regularly-scheduled blogging.  I know you understand the essentials about Regency-era clothing because Kalen Hughes explained here recently what the hero wore, and what the heroine wore.

Modification_de_la_taile1810_1813_1 But as we discussed briefly in the comments, by the late 1820s women’s attire became very…entertaining.  Here is the picture that can save me a thousand words.

Lord Dain, my hero, does not fail to notice the weird stuff women are wearing.  This is from his first encounter with the heroine Jessica Trent, in an antique shop:

Headwear_182819th_c_womens_fashion“All Dain could ascertain was that the female wore a blue overgarment of some sort and one of the hideously overdecorated bonnets currently in fashion.”

Later, he watches her leave a party in the small hours of morning:

“She was not wearing a ridiculous bonnet but a lunatic hair arrangement even more ludicrous.  Shiny knots and coils sprouted from the top of her head, and pearls and plumes waved from the knots and coils.”  (These delicious illustrations are from C. Willett Cunnington’s English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century.)

The two colored plates below come from The Costumer’s Manifesto site.  For more, look here.
1828_costumes_parisiennes38cmsm1828_costumes_parisiennes11cmsm Lord Dain’s gaze moves downward:  “The oversize ballooning sleeves of her silver-blue gown didn’t even have  shoulders.  They started about halfway to her elbows, primly covering everything from there down–and leaving what should have been concealed brazenly exposed to the view of every slavering hound in Paris.”

Later in the story, Jessica dares him to box with her.  This heroine knows the ways of men.  She understands the principles of fisticuffs.  But she is no tomboy by any stretch of the imagination:

1828_carriage_dressblum “She was wearing an immense leghorn hat, with flowers and satin ribbons sprouting from the top.  It was tied under her left ear in an enormous bow.  The carriage dress was the usual fashionable insanity of flounces and lace and overblown sleeves….He could not remember when he’d seen anything so ludicrous as this silly bit of femininity gravely poised upon a stone in approved boxing stance.” (The carriage dress at left is from Ackermann’s Costume Plates: Women’s Fashion in England, 1818-1828, edited by Stella Blum)

Underneath, women of the time are all wearing pretty much the same thing, and this half-undressed view would be one of Dain’s favorite views of Jessica (although she’d have him or her maid doing the undoing).  Like many other men, the Marquess of Dain doesn’t understand women’s fashion and really just wants to see them wearing as little clothing as possible.Planche_xi_le_coucher_dapres_deveri

Not all of my heroines are fashion plates.  Some are the exact opposite:  They don’t care about their clothes or they use clothing as armor.  But Jessica Trent and my new heroine Francesca Bonnard (of YOUR SCANDALOUS WAYS) are fashion mavens.  The way they dress, to a great extent, tells us who they are, in the same way that other heroines’ simpler or less fashionable attire expresses something about them.

I think most of us identify with certain heroines’ attitudes toward their attire.  I know I do.  I’m more the Jessica Trent-Francesca Bonnard kind of girl, though it’s only in my dreams.  I don’t have their bank accounts.  What about you?  Which heroine’s style of dress do you most strongly relate to?   Is the dress important?  Or do you barely notice how the author garbs her characters?

110 thoughts on “Dressing Jessica Trent”

  1. Loved the blog! I’m very partial to the ‘gigot sleeve’ fashion period. I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes for the purpose of living in them, but I’d love to try them on and have my photograph taken from all angles as a souvenir (no chance, surviving dresses are tiny).
    The dresses from that period are beautifully made, often from the most wonderful printed cottons.
    I always feel a bit sorry for girls who got their first grown-up dresses in the early 1840’s, when it was the fashion to dress as a demure old lady, ‘à la vieille’, with smooth hair, tight long sleeves and bonnets that blinkered vision.
    The dresses are just as beautifully made and even more uncomfortable, with the sleeves still starting on the upper arm, but the bodice now descending into the stomach in a deep V-shape.
    Personally, if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes, I would rather look like bird of paradise than a grey dove.

    Reply
  2. Loved the blog! I’m very partial to the ‘gigot sleeve’ fashion period. I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes for the purpose of living in them, but I’d love to try them on and have my photograph taken from all angles as a souvenir (no chance, surviving dresses are tiny).
    The dresses from that period are beautifully made, often from the most wonderful printed cottons.
    I always feel a bit sorry for girls who got their first grown-up dresses in the early 1840’s, when it was the fashion to dress as a demure old lady, ‘à la vieille’, with smooth hair, tight long sleeves and bonnets that blinkered vision.
    The dresses are just as beautifully made and even more uncomfortable, with the sleeves still starting on the upper arm, but the bodice now descending into the stomach in a deep V-shape.
    Personally, if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes, I would rather look like bird of paradise than a grey dove.

    Reply
  3. Loved the blog! I’m very partial to the ‘gigot sleeve’ fashion period. I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes for the purpose of living in them, but I’d love to try them on and have my photograph taken from all angles as a souvenir (no chance, surviving dresses are tiny).
    The dresses from that period are beautifully made, often from the most wonderful printed cottons.
    I always feel a bit sorry for girls who got their first grown-up dresses in the early 1840’s, when it was the fashion to dress as a demure old lady, ‘à la vieille’, with smooth hair, tight long sleeves and bonnets that blinkered vision.
    The dresses are just as beautifully made and even more uncomfortable, with the sleeves still starting on the upper arm, but the bodice now descending into the stomach in a deep V-shape.
    Personally, if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes, I would rather look like bird of paradise than a grey dove.

    Reply
  4. Loved the blog! I’m very partial to the ‘gigot sleeve’ fashion period. I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes for the purpose of living in them, but I’d love to try them on and have my photograph taken from all angles as a souvenir (no chance, surviving dresses are tiny).
    The dresses from that period are beautifully made, often from the most wonderful printed cottons.
    I always feel a bit sorry for girls who got their first grown-up dresses in the early 1840’s, when it was the fashion to dress as a demure old lady, ‘à la vieille’, with smooth hair, tight long sleeves and bonnets that blinkered vision.
    The dresses are just as beautifully made and even more uncomfortable, with the sleeves still starting on the upper arm, but the bodice now descending into the stomach in a deep V-shape.
    Personally, if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes, I would rather look like bird of paradise than a grey dove.

    Reply
  5. Loved the blog! I’m very partial to the ‘gigot sleeve’ fashion period. I wouldn’t want to wear those clothes for the purpose of living in them, but I’d love to try them on and have my photograph taken from all angles as a souvenir (no chance, surviving dresses are tiny).
    The dresses from that period are beautifully made, often from the most wonderful printed cottons.
    I always feel a bit sorry for girls who got their first grown-up dresses in the early 1840’s, when it was the fashion to dress as a demure old lady, ‘à la vieille’, with smooth hair, tight long sleeves and bonnets that blinkered vision.
    The dresses are just as beautifully made and even more uncomfortable, with the sleeves still starting on the upper arm, but the bodice now descending into the stomach in a deep V-shape.
    Personally, if I had to wear uncomfortable clothes, I would rather look like bird of paradise than a grey dove.

    Reply
  6. I definitely pay attention. But after having done research on 19th century freakish fashions, I enjoy envisioning a Regency heroine in her simple silk dress the most. I can’t imagine being unable to go through a doorway because your dress was so wide you wouldn’t fit.

    Reply
  7. I definitely pay attention. But after having done research on 19th century freakish fashions, I enjoy envisioning a Regency heroine in her simple silk dress the most. I can’t imagine being unable to go through a doorway because your dress was so wide you wouldn’t fit.

    Reply
  8. I definitely pay attention. But after having done research on 19th century freakish fashions, I enjoy envisioning a Regency heroine in her simple silk dress the most. I can’t imagine being unable to go through a doorway because your dress was so wide you wouldn’t fit.

    Reply
  9. I definitely pay attention. But after having done research on 19th century freakish fashions, I enjoy envisioning a Regency heroine in her simple silk dress the most. I can’t imagine being unable to go through a doorway because your dress was so wide you wouldn’t fit.

    Reply
  10. I definitely pay attention. But after having done research on 19th century freakish fashions, I enjoy envisioning a Regency heroine in her simple silk dress the most. I can’t imagine being unable to go through a doorway because your dress was so wide you wouldn’t fit.

    Reply
  11. while my favorite time period to read about is Regency, my favorite time period for clothing is Edwardian. I love all those high collars, intricate lace, Gibson girl look. I’m not sure I’d like being in the corsets, but love the look.
    And if you like wonderful photographs from that time period, take a look at: http://lafayette.150m.com/dhblist.html
    This site has some wonderfully sumptous outfits and beautiful beautiful photographs. It’s one of my favorite sites.

    Reply
  12. while my favorite time period to read about is Regency, my favorite time period for clothing is Edwardian. I love all those high collars, intricate lace, Gibson girl look. I’m not sure I’d like being in the corsets, but love the look.
    And if you like wonderful photographs from that time period, take a look at: http://lafayette.150m.com/dhblist.html
    This site has some wonderfully sumptous outfits and beautiful beautiful photographs. It’s one of my favorite sites.

    Reply
  13. while my favorite time period to read about is Regency, my favorite time period for clothing is Edwardian. I love all those high collars, intricate lace, Gibson girl look. I’m not sure I’d like being in the corsets, but love the look.
    And if you like wonderful photographs from that time period, take a look at: http://lafayette.150m.com/dhblist.html
    This site has some wonderfully sumptous outfits and beautiful beautiful photographs. It’s one of my favorite sites.

    Reply
  14. while my favorite time period to read about is Regency, my favorite time period for clothing is Edwardian. I love all those high collars, intricate lace, Gibson girl look. I’m not sure I’d like being in the corsets, but love the look.
    And if you like wonderful photographs from that time period, take a look at: http://lafayette.150m.com/dhblist.html
    This site has some wonderfully sumptous outfits and beautiful beautiful photographs. It’s one of my favorite sites.

    Reply
  15. while my favorite time period to read about is Regency, my favorite time period for clothing is Edwardian. I love all those high collars, intricate lace, Gibson girl look. I’m not sure I’d like being in the corsets, but love the look.
    And if you like wonderful photographs from that time period, take a look at: http://lafayette.150m.com/dhblist.html
    This site has some wonderfully sumptous outfits and beautiful beautiful photographs. It’s one of my favorite sites.

    Reply
  16. I too pay careful attention to clothing desciptions. I find them of great benefit for the images that run through my head as I read.
    I have also thoroughly enjoyed using Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to come up with details for my heroine’s clothing. I have neither the figure nor the bank account for such clothes, but it is great fun to have her wear them. It reminds me a bit of playing paperdolls as a child.

    Reply
  17. I too pay careful attention to clothing desciptions. I find them of great benefit for the images that run through my head as I read.
    I have also thoroughly enjoyed using Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to come up with details for my heroine’s clothing. I have neither the figure nor the bank account for such clothes, but it is great fun to have her wear them. It reminds me a bit of playing paperdolls as a child.

    Reply
  18. I too pay careful attention to clothing desciptions. I find them of great benefit for the images that run through my head as I read.
    I have also thoroughly enjoyed using Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to come up with details for my heroine’s clothing. I have neither the figure nor the bank account for such clothes, but it is great fun to have her wear them. It reminds me a bit of playing paperdolls as a child.

    Reply
  19. I too pay careful attention to clothing desciptions. I find them of great benefit for the images that run through my head as I read.
    I have also thoroughly enjoyed using Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to come up with details for my heroine’s clothing. I have neither the figure nor the bank account for such clothes, but it is great fun to have her wear them. It reminds me a bit of playing paperdolls as a child.

    Reply
  20. I too pay careful attention to clothing desciptions. I find them of great benefit for the images that run through my head as I read.
    I have also thoroughly enjoyed using Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to come up with details for my heroine’s clothing. I have neither the figure nor the bank account for such clothes, but it is great fun to have her wear them. It reminds me a bit of playing paperdolls as a child.

    Reply
  21. What a wonderful site, Kay. Thanks for the recommendation. Though the Devonshire House Ball was of course fancy dress, the pictures do give a good idea of the opulent fashions circa 1900. The royalty pictures are even more fabulous.
    I think that if you were a girl at this time, you got a raw deal as well. Imagine being slender when fashion said you had to be statuesque and busty, and then when you’ve put on some middle-age spread, the 1920’s come along and fashion wants women to be slim and flat-chested.
    Regency dresses weren’t simple, Maggie. There’s usually weeks of sewing in just the decorations on the bodice, sleeves and hem. This was long before the sewing machine was invented.
    The dresses from the first decade of the 19th century are usually simpler of line, but for instance the ones made of embroidered muslin must have cost an enormous amount of hours to make as well.

    Reply
  22. What a wonderful site, Kay. Thanks for the recommendation. Though the Devonshire House Ball was of course fancy dress, the pictures do give a good idea of the opulent fashions circa 1900. The royalty pictures are even more fabulous.
    I think that if you were a girl at this time, you got a raw deal as well. Imagine being slender when fashion said you had to be statuesque and busty, and then when you’ve put on some middle-age spread, the 1920’s come along and fashion wants women to be slim and flat-chested.
    Regency dresses weren’t simple, Maggie. There’s usually weeks of sewing in just the decorations on the bodice, sleeves and hem. This was long before the sewing machine was invented.
    The dresses from the first decade of the 19th century are usually simpler of line, but for instance the ones made of embroidered muslin must have cost an enormous amount of hours to make as well.

    Reply
  23. What a wonderful site, Kay. Thanks for the recommendation. Though the Devonshire House Ball was of course fancy dress, the pictures do give a good idea of the opulent fashions circa 1900. The royalty pictures are even more fabulous.
    I think that if you were a girl at this time, you got a raw deal as well. Imagine being slender when fashion said you had to be statuesque and busty, and then when you’ve put on some middle-age spread, the 1920’s come along and fashion wants women to be slim and flat-chested.
    Regency dresses weren’t simple, Maggie. There’s usually weeks of sewing in just the decorations on the bodice, sleeves and hem. This was long before the sewing machine was invented.
    The dresses from the first decade of the 19th century are usually simpler of line, but for instance the ones made of embroidered muslin must have cost an enormous amount of hours to make as well.

    Reply
  24. What a wonderful site, Kay. Thanks for the recommendation. Though the Devonshire House Ball was of course fancy dress, the pictures do give a good idea of the opulent fashions circa 1900. The royalty pictures are even more fabulous.
    I think that if you were a girl at this time, you got a raw deal as well. Imagine being slender when fashion said you had to be statuesque and busty, and then when you’ve put on some middle-age spread, the 1920’s come along and fashion wants women to be slim and flat-chested.
    Regency dresses weren’t simple, Maggie. There’s usually weeks of sewing in just the decorations on the bodice, sleeves and hem. This was long before the sewing machine was invented.
    The dresses from the first decade of the 19th century are usually simpler of line, but for instance the ones made of embroidered muslin must have cost an enormous amount of hours to make as well.

    Reply
  25. What a wonderful site, Kay. Thanks for the recommendation. Though the Devonshire House Ball was of course fancy dress, the pictures do give a good idea of the opulent fashions circa 1900. The royalty pictures are even more fabulous.
    I think that if you were a girl at this time, you got a raw deal as well. Imagine being slender when fashion said you had to be statuesque and busty, and then when you’ve put on some middle-age spread, the 1920’s come along and fashion wants women to be slim and flat-chested.
    Regency dresses weren’t simple, Maggie. There’s usually weeks of sewing in just the decorations on the bodice, sleeves and hem. This was long before the sewing machine was invented.
    The dresses from the first decade of the 19th century are usually simpler of line, but for instance the ones made of embroidered muslin must have cost an enormous amount of hours to make as well.

    Reply
  26. Great post Loretta!
    I like it when writers take the time to describe clothing as you do.
    One thing I’d like to see authors use more of is color. Just a few words about color can bring so much to life. For me, anyway.
    Nina

    Reply
  27. Great post Loretta!
    I like it when writers take the time to describe clothing as you do.
    One thing I’d like to see authors use more of is color. Just a few words about color can bring so much to life. For me, anyway.
    Nina

    Reply
  28. Great post Loretta!
    I like it when writers take the time to describe clothing as you do.
    One thing I’d like to see authors use more of is color. Just a few words about color can bring so much to life. For me, anyway.
    Nina

    Reply
  29. Great post Loretta!
    I like it when writers take the time to describe clothing as you do.
    One thing I’d like to see authors use more of is color. Just a few words about color can bring so much to life. For me, anyway.
    Nina

    Reply
  30. Great post Loretta!
    I like it when writers take the time to describe clothing as you do.
    One thing I’d like to see authors use more of is color. Just a few words about color can bring so much to life. For me, anyway.
    Nina

    Reply
  31. I love reading about the period details of the clothes. I am always amazed at the care required for “fancy” clothes– the laundresses, maids, etc. I wear pants and t-shirts in real life though!

    Reply
  32. I love reading about the period details of the clothes. I am always amazed at the care required for “fancy” clothes– the laundresses, maids, etc. I wear pants and t-shirts in real life though!

    Reply
  33. I love reading about the period details of the clothes. I am always amazed at the care required for “fancy” clothes– the laundresses, maids, etc. I wear pants and t-shirts in real life though!

    Reply
  34. I love reading about the period details of the clothes. I am always amazed at the care required for “fancy” clothes– the laundresses, maids, etc. I wear pants and t-shirts in real life though!

    Reply
  35. I love reading about the period details of the clothes. I am always amazed at the care required for “fancy” clothes– the laundresses, maids, etc. I wear pants and t-shirts in real life though!

    Reply
  36. Loretta regrets that she’s been unable to answer your posts here today, and regrets even more that she has been laid low by an odious flu-bug. She craves your indulgence, hopes you’ll continue discussing among yourselves, and promises to post again as soon as she’s able.
    Feel better soon, Loretta!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  37. Loretta regrets that she’s been unable to answer your posts here today, and regrets even more that she has been laid low by an odious flu-bug. She craves your indulgence, hopes you’ll continue discussing among yourselves, and promises to post again as soon as she’s able.
    Feel better soon, Loretta!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  38. Loretta regrets that she’s been unable to answer your posts here today, and regrets even more that she has been laid low by an odious flu-bug. She craves your indulgence, hopes you’ll continue discussing among yourselves, and promises to post again as soon as she’s able.
    Feel better soon, Loretta!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  39. Loretta regrets that she’s been unable to answer your posts here today, and regrets even more that she has been laid low by an odious flu-bug. She craves your indulgence, hopes you’ll continue discussing among yourselves, and promises to post again as soon as she’s able.
    Feel better soon, Loretta!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  40. Loretta regrets that she’s been unable to answer your posts here today, and regrets even more that she has been laid low by an odious flu-bug. She craves your indulgence, hopes you’ll continue discussing among yourselves, and promises to post again as soon as she’s able.
    Feel better soon, Loretta!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  41. I’m a Leo, and I’m all about clothes, so I love to “see” what the characters are wearing, particularly if it tells me more about them. And like Nina, I want colors.
    But for myself, I’m not into frills so much as texture and quality. The feel of a good piece of silk, the delicacy of a perfectly placed embroidered, an exciting array of original buttons— I bought a jacket at an art show that’s made of exquisite pieces of tapestry and silk. Just looking at it makes me happy. So I do understand how our characters enjoy a new gown!

    Reply
  42. I’m a Leo, and I’m all about clothes, so I love to “see” what the characters are wearing, particularly if it tells me more about them. And like Nina, I want colors.
    But for myself, I’m not into frills so much as texture and quality. The feel of a good piece of silk, the delicacy of a perfectly placed embroidered, an exciting array of original buttons— I bought a jacket at an art show that’s made of exquisite pieces of tapestry and silk. Just looking at it makes me happy. So I do understand how our characters enjoy a new gown!

    Reply
  43. I’m a Leo, and I’m all about clothes, so I love to “see” what the characters are wearing, particularly if it tells me more about them. And like Nina, I want colors.
    But for myself, I’m not into frills so much as texture and quality. The feel of a good piece of silk, the delicacy of a perfectly placed embroidered, an exciting array of original buttons— I bought a jacket at an art show that’s made of exquisite pieces of tapestry and silk. Just looking at it makes me happy. So I do understand how our characters enjoy a new gown!

    Reply
  44. I’m a Leo, and I’m all about clothes, so I love to “see” what the characters are wearing, particularly if it tells me more about them. And like Nina, I want colors.
    But for myself, I’m not into frills so much as texture and quality. The feel of a good piece of silk, the delicacy of a perfectly placed embroidered, an exciting array of original buttons— I bought a jacket at an art show that’s made of exquisite pieces of tapestry and silk. Just looking at it makes me happy. So I do understand how our characters enjoy a new gown!

    Reply
  45. I’m a Leo, and I’m all about clothes, so I love to “see” what the characters are wearing, particularly if it tells me more about them. And like Nina, I want colors.
    But for myself, I’m not into frills so much as texture and quality. The feel of a good piece of silk, the delicacy of a perfectly placed embroidered, an exciting array of original buttons— I bought a jacket at an art show that’s made of exquisite pieces of tapestry and silk. Just looking at it makes me happy. So I do understand how our characters enjoy a new gown!

    Reply
  46. Ingrid, I know the Regency dresses were embellished, but the line or silhouette of them was relatively restrained in comparison to the flounces/hoop skirts/enormous sleeves of the dresses that came after them. Imagine dragging around a cage crinoline for a few hours…I get tired just thinking about it!

    Reply
  47. Ingrid, I know the Regency dresses were embellished, but the line or silhouette of them was relatively restrained in comparison to the flounces/hoop skirts/enormous sleeves of the dresses that came after them. Imagine dragging around a cage crinoline for a few hours…I get tired just thinking about it!

    Reply
  48. Ingrid, I know the Regency dresses were embellished, but the line or silhouette of them was relatively restrained in comparison to the flounces/hoop skirts/enormous sleeves of the dresses that came after them. Imagine dragging around a cage crinoline for a few hours…I get tired just thinking about it!

    Reply
  49. Ingrid, I know the Regency dresses were embellished, but the line or silhouette of them was relatively restrained in comparison to the flounces/hoop skirts/enormous sleeves of the dresses that came after them. Imagine dragging around a cage crinoline for a few hours…I get tired just thinking about it!

    Reply
  50. Ingrid, I know the Regency dresses were embellished, but the line or silhouette of them was relatively restrained in comparison to the flounces/hoop skirts/enormous sleeves of the dresses that came after them. Imagine dragging around a cage crinoline for a few hours…I get tired just thinking about it!

    Reply
  51. Oh, poor Loretta! At least you’re getting it done and over with early in the flu season, so you won’t have to deal with it later, when the weather is truly nasty.
    I do like descriptions of clothing in novels, but I don’t need a detailed report. Like Pat, I’m more interested in the texture and feel of clothing, or how it enhances a character’s appearance, or if it says something about the character’s personality (such as a shocking red dress when everyone else is shrouded in somber tones).
    What I love about the excerpts from LOS is that Dain’s opinions are in character, besides being downright funny. They give us a clear picture of the character’s personality. Terms like “slavering hounds” and “fashionable insanity” are just so diss-Dain-ful. *g*

    Reply
  52. Oh, poor Loretta! At least you’re getting it done and over with early in the flu season, so you won’t have to deal with it later, when the weather is truly nasty.
    I do like descriptions of clothing in novels, but I don’t need a detailed report. Like Pat, I’m more interested in the texture and feel of clothing, or how it enhances a character’s appearance, or if it says something about the character’s personality (such as a shocking red dress when everyone else is shrouded in somber tones).
    What I love about the excerpts from LOS is that Dain’s opinions are in character, besides being downright funny. They give us a clear picture of the character’s personality. Terms like “slavering hounds” and “fashionable insanity” are just so diss-Dain-ful. *g*

    Reply
  53. Oh, poor Loretta! At least you’re getting it done and over with early in the flu season, so you won’t have to deal with it later, when the weather is truly nasty.
    I do like descriptions of clothing in novels, but I don’t need a detailed report. Like Pat, I’m more interested in the texture and feel of clothing, or how it enhances a character’s appearance, or if it says something about the character’s personality (such as a shocking red dress when everyone else is shrouded in somber tones).
    What I love about the excerpts from LOS is that Dain’s opinions are in character, besides being downright funny. They give us a clear picture of the character’s personality. Terms like “slavering hounds” and “fashionable insanity” are just so diss-Dain-ful. *g*

    Reply
  54. Oh, poor Loretta! At least you’re getting it done and over with early in the flu season, so you won’t have to deal with it later, when the weather is truly nasty.
    I do like descriptions of clothing in novels, but I don’t need a detailed report. Like Pat, I’m more interested in the texture and feel of clothing, or how it enhances a character’s appearance, or if it says something about the character’s personality (such as a shocking red dress when everyone else is shrouded in somber tones).
    What I love about the excerpts from LOS is that Dain’s opinions are in character, besides being downright funny. They give us a clear picture of the character’s personality. Terms like “slavering hounds” and “fashionable insanity” are just so diss-Dain-ful. *g*

    Reply
  55. Oh, poor Loretta! At least you’re getting it done and over with early in the flu season, so you won’t have to deal with it later, when the weather is truly nasty.
    I do like descriptions of clothing in novels, but I don’t need a detailed report. Like Pat, I’m more interested in the texture and feel of clothing, or how it enhances a character’s appearance, or if it says something about the character’s personality (such as a shocking red dress when everyone else is shrouded in somber tones).
    What I love about the excerpts from LOS is that Dain’s opinions are in character, besides being downright funny. They give us a clear picture of the character’s personality. Terms like “slavering hounds” and “fashionable insanity” are just so diss-Dain-ful. *g*

    Reply
  56. Maggie, I believe the cage crinoline came as a relief. After all, for years women had been wearing layers and layers of petticoats to fill out their skirts, it must have been like wading through water. Then came the cage, and underneath it your legs were free from pressure. It must have felt like a liberation.
    But you are right, it must have taken a lot of skill to navigate a wide skirt through a room, and it was a fire hazard as well, of course.
    But the weight is well distributed with a crinoline. I once had the chance to wear a bustle dress ca. 1875, and there you had all the weight of the bustle and train dragging on your lower back. But I suppose the original wearer’s corset took a lot of the strain that my back was taking, as I didn’t have a corset.
    I hope you feel better soon, Loretta.
    I just re-read your post and noticed that you characterised the subject as not deep and meaningful. I disagree with you there. Clothes reveal a lot more about us than we would like people to know about us at first glance. And we’re so adept at reading clothes that we hardly notice we’re doing it.
    Clothes are also very important to help readers construct a picture of imaginary people. The occasional description of clothes goes towards showing the characters to the readers. And when the people wear total fantasy clothes that are wrong for the period, these people become far less real, at least to me.
    This goes for contemporaries to. I’ve often read complaints that such-and-such an author doesn’t know how young women dress these days. And fashion dates at astronomical speed of course. That’s the good thing about historical fashions: they remain what they are. What you found out about 19th-century fashion twenty years ago, is still valid now.

    Reply
  57. Maggie, I believe the cage crinoline came as a relief. After all, for years women had been wearing layers and layers of petticoats to fill out their skirts, it must have been like wading through water. Then came the cage, and underneath it your legs were free from pressure. It must have felt like a liberation.
    But you are right, it must have taken a lot of skill to navigate a wide skirt through a room, and it was a fire hazard as well, of course.
    But the weight is well distributed with a crinoline. I once had the chance to wear a bustle dress ca. 1875, and there you had all the weight of the bustle and train dragging on your lower back. But I suppose the original wearer’s corset took a lot of the strain that my back was taking, as I didn’t have a corset.
    I hope you feel better soon, Loretta.
    I just re-read your post and noticed that you characterised the subject as not deep and meaningful. I disagree with you there. Clothes reveal a lot more about us than we would like people to know about us at first glance. And we’re so adept at reading clothes that we hardly notice we’re doing it.
    Clothes are also very important to help readers construct a picture of imaginary people. The occasional description of clothes goes towards showing the characters to the readers. And when the people wear total fantasy clothes that are wrong for the period, these people become far less real, at least to me.
    This goes for contemporaries to. I’ve often read complaints that such-and-such an author doesn’t know how young women dress these days. And fashion dates at astronomical speed of course. That’s the good thing about historical fashions: they remain what they are. What you found out about 19th-century fashion twenty years ago, is still valid now.

    Reply
  58. Maggie, I believe the cage crinoline came as a relief. After all, for years women had been wearing layers and layers of petticoats to fill out their skirts, it must have been like wading through water. Then came the cage, and underneath it your legs were free from pressure. It must have felt like a liberation.
    But you are right, it must have taken a lot of skill to navigate a wide skirt through a room, and it was a fire hazard as well, of course.
    But the weight is well distributed with a crinoline. I once had the chance to wear a bustle dress ca. 1875, and there you had all the weight of the bustle and train dragging on your lower back. But I suppose the original wearer’s corset took a lot of the strain that my back was taking, as I didn’t have a corset.
    I hope you feel better soon, Loretta.
    I just re-read your post and noticed that you characterised the subject as not deep and meaningful. I disagree with you there. Clothes reveal a lot more about us than we would like people to know about us at first glance. And we’re so adept at reading clothes that we hardly notice we’re doing it.
    Clothes are also very important to help readers construct a picture of imaginary people. The occasional description of clothes goes towards showing the characters to the readers. And when the people wear total fantasy clothes that are wrong for the period, these people become far less real, at least to me.
    This goes for contemporaries to. I’ve often read complaints that such-and-such an author doesn’t know how young women dress these days. And fashion dates at astronomical speed of course. That’s the good thing about historical fashions: they remain what they are. What you found out about 19th-century fashion twenty years ago, is still valid now.

    Reply
  59. Maggie, I believe the cage crinoline came as a relief. After all, for years women had been wearing layers and layers of petticoats to fill out their skirts, it must have been like wading through water. Then came the cage, and underneath it your legs were free from pressure. It must have felt like a liberation.
    But you are right, it must have taken a lot of skill to navigate a wide skirt through a room, and it was a fire hazard as well, of course.
    But the weight is well distributed with a crinoline. I once had the chance to wear a bustle dress ca. 1875, and there you had all the weight of the bustle and train dragging on your lower back. But I suppose the original wearer’s corset took a lot of the strain that my back was taking, as I didn’t have a corset.
    I hope you feel better soon, Loretta.
    I just re-read your post and noticed that you characterised the subject as not deep and meaningful. I disagree with you there. Clothes reveal a lot more about us than we would like people to know about us at first glance. And we’re so adept at reading clothes that we hardly notice we’re doing it.
    Clothes are also very important to help readers construct a picture of imaginary people. The occasional description of clothes goes towards showing the characters to the readers. And when the people wear total fantasy clothes that are wrong for the period, these people become far less real, at least to me.
    This goes for contemporaries to. I’ve often read complaints that such-and-such an author doesn’t know how young women dress these days. And fashion dates at astronomical speed of course. That’s the good thing about historical fashions: they remain what they are. What you found out about 19th-century fashion twenty years ago, is still valid now.

    Reply
  60. Maggie, I believe the cage crinoline came as a relief. After all, for years women had been wearing layers and layers of petticoats to fill out their skirts, it must have been like wading through water. Then came the cage, and underneath it your legs were free from pressure. It must have felt like a liberation.
    But you are right, it must have taken a lot of skill to navigate a wide skirt through a room, and it was a fire hazard as well, of course.
    But the weight is well distributed with a crinoline. I once had the chance to wear a bustle dress ca. 1875, and there you had all the weight of the bustle and train dragging on your lower back. But I suppose the original wearer’s corset took a lot of the strain that my back was taking, as I didn’t have a corset.
    I hope you feel better soon, Loretta.
    I just re-read your post and noticed that you characterised the subject as not deep and meaningful. I disagree with you there. Clothes reveal a lot more about us than we would like people to know about us at first glance. And we’re so adept at reading clothes that we hardly notice we’re doing it.
    Clothes are also very important to help readers construct a picture of imaginary people. The occasional description of clothes goes towards showing the characters to the readers. And when the people wear total fantasy clothes that are wrong for the period, these people become far less real, at least to me.
    This goes for contemporaries to. I’ve often read complaints that such-and-such an author doesn’t know how young women dress these days. And fashion dates at astronomical speed of course. That’s the good thing about historical fashions: they remain what they are. What you found out about 19th-century fashion twenty years ago, is still valid now.

    Reply
  61. I hope Loretta feels better!
    The clothes of the 1820s (and on through the 1830s) are pretty “out there” IMO. I’ve always disliked them (although Keely Hawes in the miniseries WIVES AND DAUGHTERS looks amazing in this style).
    When I give costume workshops I always try to stress that “Regency fashion” is really at least 3 different styles (early Empire/Greek revival one, the A-line of the teens, and then the natural waist and big skirts and sleeves of the 20s).

    Reply
  62. I hope Loretta feels better!
    The clothes of the 1820s (and on through the 1830s) are pretty “out there” IMO. I’ve always disliked them (although Keely Hawes in the miniseries WIVES AND DAUGHTERS looks amazing in this style).
    When I give costume workshops I always try to stress that “Regency fashion” is really at least 3 different styles (early Empire/Greek revival one, the A-line of the teens, and then the natural waist and big skirts and sleeves of the 20s).

    Reply
  63. I hope Loretta feels better!
    The clothes of the 1820s (and on through the 1830s) are pretty “out there” IMO. I’ve always disliked them (although Keely Hawes in the miniseries WIVES AND DAUGHTERS looks amazing in this style).
    When I give costume workshops I always try to stress that “Regency fashion” is really at least 3 different styles (early Empire/Greek revival one, the A-line of the teens, and then the natural waist and big skirts and sleeves of the 20s).

    Reply
  64. I hope Loretta feels better!
    The clothes of the 1820s (and on through the 1830s) are pretty “out there” IMO. I’ve always disliked them (although Keely Hawes in the miniseries WIVES AND DAUGHTERS looks amazing in this style).
    When I give costume workshops I always try to stress that “Regency fashion” is really at least 3 different styles (early Empire/Greek revival one, the A-line of the teens, and then the natural waist and big skirts and sleeves of the 20s).

    Reply
  65. I hope Loretta feels better!
    The clothes of the 1820s (and on through the 1830s) are pretty “out there” IMO. I’ve always disliked them (although Keely Hawes in the miniseries WIVES AND DAUGHTERS looks amazing in this style).
    When I give costume workshops I always try to stress that “Regency fashion” is really at least 3 different styles (early Empire/Greek revival one, the A-line of the teens, and then the natural waist and big skirts and sleeves of the 20s).

    Reply
  66. I sneaked out of bed to check on how things were going here. You all have been having a fascinating discussion without me–and I’m too foggy-brained to contribute anything of value–so I’ll encourage you to continue. I do see some interesting discussion topics for a future blog. I, too, have a weakness for the later Victorian and the Edwardian fashions, though I know the corsets were ghastly. What is it about a bustle?

    Reply
  67. I sneaked out of bed to check on how things were going here. You all have been having a fascinating discussion without me–and I’m too foggy-brained to contribute anything of value–so I’ll encourage you to continue. I do see some interesting discussion topics for a future blog. I, too, have a weakness for the later Victorian and the Edwardian fashions, though I know the corsets were ghastly. What is it about a bustle?

    Reply
  68. I sneaked out of bed to check on how things were going here. You all have been having a fascinating discussion without me–and I’m too foggy-brained to contribute anything of value–so I’ll encourage you to continue. I do see some interesting discussion topics for a future blog. I, too, have a weakness for the later Victorian and the Edwardian fashions, though I know the corsets were ghastly. What is it about a bustle?

    Reply
  69. I sneaked out of bed to check on how things were going here. You all have been having a fascinating discussion without me–and I’m too foggy-brained to contribute anything of value–so I’ll encourage you to continue. I do see some interesting discussion topics for a future blog. I, too, have a weakness for the later Victorian and the Edwardian fashions, though I know the corsets were ghastly. What is it about a bustle?

    Reply
  70. I sneaked out of bed to check on how things were going here. You all have been having a fascinating discussion without me–and I’m too foggy-brained to contribute anything of value–so I’ll encourage you to continue. I do see some interesting discussion topics for a future blog. I, too, have a weakness for the later Victorian and the Edwardian fashions, though I know the corsets were ghastly. What is it about a bustle?

    Reply
  71. Glad to know you are comparatively all right, Loretta. Don’t get up to soon.
    There are a lot of unattractive fashion plates from the 1820’s and 1830’s, but the actual dresses themselves are a different matter. I found pictures of a ravishing one:
    http://www.meg-andrews.com/showitem.php?item=6346
    Of course tastes differ. I used to dislike the second bustle, c. 1885. The fashion plates make women look like overdecorated chairs. But then I discovered the beautiful dresses that remain from that era, though of course there are some horrible overtrimmed monstrosities as well.

    Reply
  72. Glad to know you are comparatively all right, Loretta. Don’t get up to soon.
    There are a lot of unattractive fashion plates from the 1820’s and 1830’s, but the actual dresses themselves are a different matter. I found pictures of a ravishing one:
    http://www.meg-andrews.com/showitem.php?item=6346
    Of course tastes differ. I used to dislike the second bustle, c. 1885. The fashion plates make women look like overdecorated chairs. But then I discovered the beautiful dresses that remain from that era, though of course there are some horrible overtrimmed monstrosities as well.

    Reply
  73. Glad to know you are comparatively all right, Loretta. Don’t get up to soon.
    There are a lot of unattractive fashion plates from the 1820’s and 1830’s, but the actual dresses themselves are a different matter. I found pictures of a ravishing one:
    http://www.meg-andrews.com/showitem.php?item=6346
    Of course tastes differ. I used to dislike the second bustle, c. 1885. The fashion plates make women look like overdecorated chairs. But then I discovered the beautiful dresses that remain from that era, though of course there are some horrible overtrimmed monstrosities as well.

    Reply
  74. Glad to know you are comparatively all right, Loretta. Don’t get up to soon.
    There are a lot of unattractive fashion plates from the 1820’s and 1830’s, but the actual dresses themselves are a different matter. I found pictures of a ravishing one:
    http://www.meg-andrews.com/showitem.php?item=6346
    Of course tastes differ. I used to dislike the second bustle, c. 1885. The fashion plates make women look like overdecorated chairs. But then I discovered the beautiful dresses that remain from that era, though of course there are some horrible overtrimmed monstrosities as well.

    Reply
  75. Glad to know you are comparatively all right, Loretta. Don’t get up to soon.
    There are a lot of unattractive fashion plates from the 1820’s and 1830’s, but the actual dresses themselves are a different matter. I found pictures of a ravishing one:
    http://www.meg-andrews.com/showitem.php?item=6346
    Of course tastes differ. I used to dislike the second bustle, c. 1885. The fashion plates make women look like overdecorated chairs. But then I discovered the beautiful dresses that remain from that era, though of course there are some horrible overtrimmed monstrosities as well.

    Reply
  76. Hope you’re feeling fine, Loretta!
    I usually don’t notice how the authors garb their heroines but in LOS, Dain’s thoughts on Jessica’s dresses were funny. I did think they were a bit weird but thought it was probably Dain’s imagination running wild and that men’s perspective on women’s fashion are different.
    BTW, I’ll definitely be voting at AAR’s poll for LOS, Lord Perfect, etc.. on their Top 100 Romances poll. And as a reminder to all Loretta fans and those of the other Wenches fans too, it would be nice if we all go there and vote for our favourite authors. You don’t need to be a member to vote as long as you have an email address that they can verify. Be sure to provide the rankings in your vote as it is very important.

    Reply
  77. Hope you’re feeling fine, Loretta!
    I usually don’t notice how the authors garb their heroines but in LOS, Dain’s thoughts on Jessica’s dresses were funny. I did think they were a bit weird but thought it was probably Dain’s imagination running wild and that men’s perspective on women’s fashion are different.
    BTW, I’ll definitely be voting at AAR’s poll for LOS, Lord Perfect, etc.. on their Top 100 Romances poll. And as a reminder to all Loretta fans and those of the other Wenches fans too, it would be nice if we all go there and vote for our favourite authors. You don’t need to be a member to vote as long as you have an email address that they can verify. Be sure to provide the rankings in your vote as it is very important.

    Reply
  78. Hope you’re feeling fine, Loretta!
    I usually don’t notice how the authors garb their heroines but in LOS, Dain’s thoughts on Jessica’s dresses were funny. I did think they were a bit weird but thought it was probably Dain’s imagination running wild and that men’s perspective on women’s fashion are different.
    BTW, I’ll definitely be voting at AAR’s poll for LOS, Lord Perfect, etc.. on their Top 100 Romances poll. And as a reminder to all Loretta fans and those of the other Wenches fans too, it would be nice if we all go there and vote for our favourite authors. You don’t need to be a member to vote as long as you have an email address that they can verify. Be sure to provide the rankings in your vote as it is very important.

    Reply
  79. Hope you’re feeling fine, Loretta!
    I usually don’t notice how the authors garb their heroines but in LOS, Dain’s thoughts on Jessica’s dresses were funny. I did think they were a bit weird but thought it was probably Dain’s imagination running wild and that men’s perspective on women’s fashion are different.
    BTW, I’ll definitely be voting at AAR’s poll for LOS, Lord Perfect, etc.. on their Top 100 Romances poll. And as a reminder to all Loretta fans and those of the other Wenches fans too, it would be nice if we all go there and vote for our favourite authors. You don’t need to be a member to vote as long as you have an email address that they can verify. Be sure to provide the rankings in your vote as it is very important.

    Reply
  80. Hope you’re feeling fine, Loretta!
    I usually don’t notice how the authors garb their heroines but in LOS, Dain’s thoughts on Jessica’s dresses were funny. I did think they were a bit weird but thought it was probably Dain’s imagination running wild and that men’s perspective on women’s fashion are different.
    BTW, I’ll definitely be voting at AAR’s poll for LOS, Lord Perfect, etc.. on their Top 100 Romances poll. And as a reminder to all Loretta fans and those of the other Wenches fans too, it would be nice if we all go there and vote for our favourite authors. You don’t need to be a member to vote as long as you have an email address that they can verify. Be sure to provide the rankings in your vote as it is very important.

    Reply
  81. I love it when an author takes time to describe what their characters are wearing. Ironically enough, just as today fashions go through cycles, they did back in the 19th century as well. That last pic Loretta posted is reminiscent of the leg-o-mutton sleeves of the mid 1890s, and the Directoire style of the early 1800s flew back into fashion in the 1910s.

    Reply
  82. I love it when an author takes time to describe what their characters are wearing. Ironically enough, just as today fashions go through cycles, they did back in the 19th century as well. That last pic Loretta posted is reminiscent of the leg-o-mutton sleeves of the mid 1890s, and the Directoire style of the early 1800s flew back into fashion in the 1910s.

    Reply
  83. I love it when an author takes time to describe what their characters are wearing. Ironically enough, just as today fashions go through cycles, they did back in the 19th century as well. That last pic Loretta posted is reminiscent of the leg-o-mutton sleeves of the mid 1890s, and the Directoire style of the early 1800s flew back into fashion in the 1910s.

    Reply
  84. I love it when an author takes time to describe what their characters are wearing. Ironically enough, just as today fashions go through cycles, they did back in the 19th century as well. That last pic Loretta posted is reminiscent of the leg-o-mutton sleeves of the mid 1890s, and the Directoire style of the early 1800s flew back into fashion in the 1910s.

    Reply
  85. I love it when an author takes time to describe what their characters are wearing. Ironically enough, just as today fashions go through cycles, they did back in the 19th century as well. That last pic Loretta posted is reminiscent of the leg-o-mutton sleeves of the mid 1890s, and the Directoire style of the early 1800s flew back into fashion in the 1910s.

    Reply
  86. Jessica and Dain–I love the clothes thing in the script, because it typifies, I think, all the ways men regard women’s apparel. The detailed descriptions and his reactions make me laugh. So very male!

    Reply
  87. Jessica and Dain–I love the clothes thing in the script, because it typifies, I think, all the ways men regard women’s apparel. The detailed descriptions and his reactions make me laugh. So very male!

    Reply
  88. Jessica and Dain–I love the clothes thing in the script, because it typifies, I think, all the ways men regard women’s apparel. The detailed descriptions and his reactions make me laugh. So very male!

    Reply
  89. Jessica and Dain–I love the clothes thing in the script, because it typifies, I think, all the ways men regard women’s apparel. The detailed descriptions and his reactions make me laugh. So very male!

    Reply
  90. Jessica and Dain–I love the clothes thing in the script, because it typifies, I think, all the ways men regard women’s apparel. The detailed descriptions and his reactions make me laugh. So very male!

    Reply
  91. I think describing the clothes are wearing gives life to the characters. I usually visualize how they look-makes the story alive.

    Reply
  92. I think describing the clothes are wearing gives life to the characters. I usually visualize how they look-makes the story alive.

    Reply
  93. I think describing the clothes are wearing gives life to the characters. I usually visualize how they look-makes the story alive.

    Reply
  94. I think describing the clothes are wearing gives life to the characters. I usually visualize how they look-makes the story alive.

    Reply
  95. I think describing the clothes are wearing gives life to the characters. I usually visualize how they look-makes the story alive.

    Reply

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