by Michele Ann Young
One of my favorite parts about writing stories set during the late Georgian period, known by most as the Regency, is that you get to write about the styles of the day, both as regard to fashion and life. Of course, we all know in our hearts it wasn't the most ideal time to have been alive unless you were one of the very few wealthy landowners.
But we can always imagine that we were.
I spend quite a lot of time going through what in those days were called fashion plates, to pick out just the right costume for the right event in my novels. In The Lady Flees Her Lord coming out in October I had a chance to use the outfit at the top of the blog.
This was an outfit designed for ladies to engage in one of the few sports they indulged in. If you guessed archery, you were right. It was probably the green that gave it away. And there is something "Robin Hood" about those dags at the hem and the slashes in the puffed sleeve. It just so happened that my story nicely lent itself to an archery contest, and although Lucinda did not have such a fancy outfit, one of the other ladies did.
And what about those lovely evening dresses? One does have to be careful, fashions changed from one end of the Regency to the other. This one is from 1811, right at the beginning of the Regency era. Only a slender woman would look good in this. Remember, stays were not the corsets of the Victorian times, so there wasn't much support for the bounteous figure.
And they had walking gowns, and morning gowns (to receive callers, although morning calls started in the afternoon) and they had undress gowns (what they wore before they got dressed in their morning gowns) and mourning gowns (for a family death) and half mourning and they had court dresses (which really were from the last century with hoops).
And last but not least there were Riding Habits. This one from 1815, the year Wellington won the battle of Waterloo.
A writer could have her heroine spend all day dressing and undressing if she wanted, because that is what they did in those days. It would be completely accurate. But not so interesting for the reader.
When I feel the need to play dress up, I use the equivalent of a paper doll on line.
We never even got to the gentlemen, all those lovely Darcy types and I've used up my space.
I know, I will save them for next time.