Monday, January 31, 2011

Your Chance To Win A Personalized Copy Of A Very Merry Chase

Medieval author, and fellow historian Joyce DiPastena, has posted the interview she did with me last week for her blog. In it, I talk about writing and researching my Regency romance novel, A Very Merry Chase.  Check it out and post a comment for your chance to win a personalized copy of AVMC, or Tweet, Like or forward the link to anyone you know who might be interested.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nineteenth Century Late Regency Romance Era Fashions Worn By Men

Nineteenth Century Late Regency Romance Era Fashions Worn By Men

The mode in beaver hats was most varied; high straight crowns with small brims, others tapering at the top with larger curled brims, or crowns enlarging at the top with almost straight small brims. A short-crowned hat was also worn. The hair was combed towards the front at either side, and the face shaven, with the exception of short side-whiskers.

A very high stock of black satin or linen surrounded the throat, with or without the points of collar showing, and a frilled shirt, often stiffly goffered.

Coats were very tight-fitting and mostly double-breasted, with long swallow-tailed skirts, or long full skirts; the waist was rather short, and the effect of coat-front round-breasted with a high turned-over collar finished in large lapels, which were often treated with velvets. The favourite colours for overcoats were greys, buffs, greens, and blues, and the edges were neatly finished with fine cord. The sleeves, rather full in the shoulder, became tight on the lower arm, coming to a curved shape well over the hand, and buttoned up the side. The pockets were frequently set at an angle, as in illustration, and a short round cape, or two, was seen on many overcoats. A short type of coat is seen about 1827, with a single roll collar.

1820-1840 Regency Romance Fashions For The Fashionable Gentleman.
Waistcoats mostly had a round-shaped lapel, and were often double-breasted and very shaped at the waist, which was set fairly high; a long opening allowed the frilled shirt-front full display. There were also waistcoats having no lapels, no pockets, or no cover-flap; the points of front were very small, being buttoned to the end, or, with the double-breasted shape, they were straight across.

Breeches were not so much worn as trousers of cloth, nankeen, drill, and fine white corduroy; these were usually fastened under the boots with a strap, others were looser and often worn short, well above the ankle. A very full type in the upper part peg-tops, was in fashion about 1820-25 amongst the dandies, and for evening dress, very close-fitting breeches to the knee, or just above the ankle, the latter being opened and buttoned up to the calf. Pince-nez were favoured, with a heavy black ribbon, generally worn tucked in the lapels of the waistcoat; and a fob of gold seals, hung from the braces, below waistcoat pocket.

1830-1840 Fashions For A
Gentleman Of The Era.

Shoes and short Wellington boots were chiefly worn, the former being low in the heel and very short in the tongue, which was almost covered by small latchets, either buckled or tied, the shape of the toe being rather round. The Hessian boots with curved front and tassel at the top were still worn.


Friday, January 14, 2011

You Can Win A Copy of my Regency Romance Novel
A Very Merry Chase

This contest is now closed.
Due to a problem with my second blog not taking comments, which I didn't discover until the hop was almost over...I decided to give three copies away.
The Lucky Winners Are
Marta Lanza    Rebecca Irvine    Vidisha Singh

And please take a moment to

The Dreaming of Books Contest Runs From
12:01 AM Friday, January 14th to 11:59 PM Monday, January 17th

Your copy of A Very Merry Chase will be in PDF format...
so it can be downloaded to read on your PC or Nook.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Female Fashion and Accessories Worn During the Regency Era of Jane Austen and Reign of George IV

Female Fashion and Accessories Worn During the Regency Era of Jane Austen and Reign of George IV

The hair at this period was worn in plaits or curls gathered on top, and during the latter years was arranged into stiff loops set with a high comb; a group of curls was drawn to the sides of the face, the hair being mostly parted from the centre. Plumes were much used for head-dresses, and caps with gathered puffs and pointed frills. A high-crowned straw poke bonnet, tilted upwards, was still in form; but the prevailing mode was a silk bonnet, with the brim curved in at the front, the sides being drawn together under the chin with a bow. The prevailing decoration was a group of feathers thrown forward or ribbon loops, and after this a large round hat, with a full gathered crown, arrived about 1827, or straw shapes.

Dresses gradually assumed a longer waist, and a short pointed bodice made its appearance here and there from about 1822, when short stays began to return, and pointed belt corselets were frequent, though the waistband or sash was chiefly used. Short puffed sleeves of charming character and workmanship were sometimes set in a gauze sleeve.

Spencers and pelisses had long sleeves coming from these short ones; they were rather full, and were caught at the wrist with a band. The upper sleeve gradually disappeared as the full-topped sleeves began to develop in size, about 1824; this fullness was often broken up into gathered parts, a tight cuff-piece usually finished at the wrist. The high set-up collars and neck-frills gave way to the flat capes about 1827, though the small ruffs were worn round the top of the high-necked capes to 1830. The gathered shoulder began about 1823, and soon became a marked feature; pointed or scalloped frills and trimmings came into favour from 1825, and about 1827 the sloped appearance in the bodice began to be noticed as the sleeves were set lower. The shoulders in ball dresses were shown, and a gathered Bertha of silk or lace was arranged round the neck of bodice. The V-shaped piece from the centre of waist or breast began to spread over the shoulders, where it was opened. This V shape was often open down to the waist, where it was filled in with a centre-piece of embroidery. Skirts were gradually set out fuller, with stiff-flounced petticoats; they had various simple or richly decorated borders and fronts, or several small flounces, or one deep one often with the edges cut into divers shapes.

Outdoor Silk Dress. 1825-35.

Shoes were rather round at the toes till near the end of the reign, when they took a square shape; a tiny rosette or bow was placed at the front of instep, and they were held by narrow ribbons, crossed and tied round the ankle. Boots lacing at the inside, with seam down the front, often had a toe-cap; no heels were worn.
Light gauze scarves were usually carried, and very small fans besides the larger feather ones. Bags or sachets of the forms illustrated were painted or embroidered in ribbonwork, chenille, tulle, and coloured silks.

A few specimens of parasols are also given, and gloves and mittens were of the same character as in the latter part of the last reign.

The patterns given of some of the dresses shown in the plates will be useful as to the measurements of the increase in skirt-width and sleeves; one may also note the very pointed set-out of the breast, sometimes made with two gores, which only occurs in this reign. Muffs were usually of a large size, and a bow with long ends was often worn on the front.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Nineteenth Century Fashions and Accessories for Men

Early Nineteenth Century Fashions and Accessories for Men. Clothing Worn By Mr. Darcy and His Contemporaries.

Wigs had practically gone out, except for a few of the latter type of the 18th century amongst elderly people. The hair was now worn short, and left rather full on the front, with short side-whiskers. Plain black or white stocks tied with a front bow, and a starched or unstarched collar with a frilled or gathered shirt-front were in use. A tie-pin or stud was also seen in the centre of the stock or frilling.

The same hats as in the latter part of the 18th century continued for a time, but the top-hat had established its favour, and assumed various shapes throughout this reign.
 A. Morning Coat of Chintz

 B.  Cloth Coat 1808-1820

 C.Cloth Overcoat 1820-35

The coats were set with very high turn-over collars and a wide-shaped lapel, and the lapel of the waistcoat was still brought outside. As these lapels on the coats became smaller and changed into a roll collar, they were cut into points at the breast, as seen in the illustrations.

The front of the coat cut away in a short square, rather high in the waist, which thus formed a long-tailed skirt; the fronts were made double-breasted, and were often fastened high up the lapel. The hip-pleats had gone round more to the back into a closely pressed fold, about three inches from the back-opening. Sleeves were gathered rather full in the shoulders, becoming very tight on the forearm, and were finished in a cuff, or buttoned cuff-shape. We also see that a short square coat without tails was worn over the longer one. Overcoats (or long-skirted coats) with a cape or capes, up to four, were worn all through this reign, both double and single breasted, sometimes with turn-up cuffs; but this mode was not frequently used, as a sewn-on cuff or cuff made in the sleeve was now worn, and began to take a curved shape well over the hand, with three buttons to fasten it on the outer sides.

Short double-breasted waistcoats continued much the same, but a round-shaped lapel appeared on many.
Very tight-fitting breeches were worn of the same 18th-century cut, and trousers began to gain favour; a fob of seals were always worn, coming from under the waistcoat.

Soft high boots with turn-down tops, and boots with longish brown tops set low on the leg. The top-boot with the pointed or oval-shaped front and tassel still held sway, and an oval-toed low shoe with or without small latchets was in use.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Regency Romance era Fashion as Jane Austen knew it

Early Nineteenth Century Fashion and Accessories For Ladies. Clothing Worn By Jane Austen And Her Contemporaries.

During the later part of the 18th century, a great deal of tinsel drawn work was done on fine muslin, and became beautifully treated in delicate design on the hem and down the front of many of the high-waisted dresses as in . Later on towards the twenties we see a great deal of effective coarse work in heavy gold tinsel, and at the same time to the forties a number of dresses were ably enriched with fine gold thread.

The white embroidery in the earlier trimmings of this period, was remarkable for its wealth of fancy; the chief beauty of these dresses was the delightful treatment of gathered effects, and with the reign of George IV we note the gradual return of the longer pointed bodice, with the growth of very full sleeves, also the increase in the size and fuller set-out of the skirts over the stiff flounced drill petticoats. The V-shaped Bertha setting to neck and shoulders began to establish itself, and became a great feature through the thirties and forties; the first signs of it appear about 1814. Varieties of materials were used to great advantage in designing, and drawn tulle trimmings were happily introduced to soften hard shapes and colours. The shoulder fullness also began to be neatly drawn in and held by straps, which gave a charming character to many bodices.

From 1816 choice work in piped shapes, often of flower forms decorated with pearls or beads, was set on fine net. The attraction to the thirties was the happy effects gained by the bow and flower looping on the flounces, and these ripened in fancy and variety through the forties. Braiding was adopted in the thirties with a rather charming treatment of tassels down the front of the dress; the polonaises of this time were[239] also effective and simple, caught here and there with posies of flowers, and we find this fashion again revived in the sixties.

With the reign of George IV we notice an increasing choice of strong coloured effects, which culminated in the mid-Victorian era in raw colour and violent shot silks, velvets, and heavy fringes, but one may see that many of these dresses of bright pure tone looked exceedingly refined and were quite stately. A remarkable dress of very strong bright blue; its only enrichment being a curved line of folded silk. All these dresses from 1800 were delightfully embellished with embroidered fichus, light scarves of frail gauze, crêpe, or Norwich silk, and in the Victorian times capes and V-shaped shawls; fascinating lace ruffles and tuck-in fronts to the bodice necks, of frills and bands of embroidery, broke the severity or bareness of many dresses. An endless variety of fascinating caps and lace head-lappets was pinned or caught into the hair at the wearer's fancy; besides the bows, flowers, and jewels (especially pearls) which have always played an important part in the coiffure from early times, the chatelaines and bags, fobs, fans, and lace or silk handkerchiefs all give the artist a note of extra colour when desired. The cruel period of taste really came with the seventies, though one can trace many quaint and interesting cuts in the bodices and skirts of this time; but the "grand dress" of complicated drapings, heavily fringed or braided, was a "set piece" which, let us hope, will never appear again.

The long stocking-purse which began to appear in the late 17th century was up to 1820 sometimes carried tucked through the belt; it was set with a pair of metal rings and tassels of steel or gilt beads. Small and large circular and bag-shaped purses were also in use; all these were made in coloured silk threads enriched with steel, gilt, or coloured beads, the latter shapes being set in chased metal mounts, the circular ones generally having a fringe and the bag shape a small tassel or heavy drop. These shapes can also be seen in coloured leathers with a leather tassel, besides the plain money-bag with a draw-string.

The hair up to 1808 was gathered into a knot of curls at the back of the head, rather high up, with a small curl at the sides in front of the ear. Later the knot was set more on the top, and the side curls were made more of a feature, several being arranged at the sides. Numerous varieties of large and small brimmed hats, bonnets, and turbans are seen, and several masculine top-hats and cockade hats may be noted late in this reign. The usual feather decorations and large ribbons or flowers were in use, and a handkerchief was sometimes bound over the top of the straw hat and tied under the chin.

The classic high-waisted dress continued till 1808, and was often beautifully decorated with white embroidery and gold or tinsel. There were several interesting drapings, one being a cord hanging from the back of the shoulder to loop up the train of the dress. The simple tunic shapes are better described by the illustrations: more originality was essayed in design after the last-mentioned date. A high Vandyked lace collar and fan setting to the shoulders appeared, and many interesting dresses of a plain cut, mostly in velvet and silks, were worn about 1810-12. A gathered sleeve drawn tight at intervals was often seen up to 1816, when embroidered ruffles and frills decorated most of the necks and skirts, and a braided type of character, rather military in effect with beautifully piped edgings, came in from about 1817. Spencer bodices were an additional interest at this period, and a short puff sleeve was generally banded or caught with bows; these being often worn over a fairly loose long sleeve gathered by a wristband. Dresses were worn shorter from about 1810. Charming lace and embroidered fichus crossed the shoulders, and long scarf-capes were thrown round the neck and were often tied round behind, as in the 18th century; long capes with points and tassels in front fell to the knees, and a simple pelisse with cape became a pleasing feature. Bags were always carried, of which there is a variety of shapes in the plates; long gloves or mittens were generally worn. Parasols of a flat shape, or others with round or pagoda shaped tops are seen, many being edged with a deep fringe. Long purses were often tucked through the waistband.

The pointed shoe, tied sandal fashion up the leg, and with no heel, remained through this reign, but a round-toed low shoe, tied on in the same manner, began to supersede it about 1810.