In historical romance, most of us authors love swathing our heroines in silks and satins. We pore over vintage prints from La Belle Assemblee, studying sleeve shapes, sashes, bodices and furbelows. We peer at the tiny details like buttons and ribbons, sarcenet and lace, gold-threaded embroidery and delicate seed pearls. Then, of course, there are bonnets, reticles and pelisses . . .
The details add wonderful color and texture to our characters. Which got me to thinking about our heroes. They tend to be more understated—biscuit-colored breeches, navy superfine coats, snowy white cravats, dark Hessians, polished to a mirror shine . . . Unless, they are military men.
For a just-finished manuscript, I was looking at the Sir Thomas Lawrence paintings of Wellington and Charles Stewart, and taking careful note of the glorious finery of the fancy dress officers. Gold braid, epaulettes, crested buttons, starburst medals and intricate patches fashioned out of precious metals and gems—some of the regalia puts the most elaborate ballgowns to blush. Which got me to thinking about uniforms, and a bit of research turned up the sort of obscure and fun facts that always tickle my fancy.