Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember When . . . Your Hair Went White?

Wow, TWO giveaways to remind you of! First is Friday's of Deliver Us from Evil by Robin Caroll (romantic suspense), and then yesterday's of The Stones by Eleanor Gustafson (Biblical Fiction).

And while I'm reminding, don't forget to check out giveaways of A Stray Drop of Blood on ICFW, A Fiction-Filled Life, and Mary's Musings.


So, those of you who have been reading this blog for months may recall my mention over the summer over of a story idea that would take place in post-Revolution Annapolis, Maryland. I got the go-ahead to put together a proposal for it, so now I have all these 1780s tidbits floating around my head. Hope y'all are interested, cuz you're about to get some of them!

One of things I'm coming across for my particular stretch of time--late 1783 through early 1784--is that fashion was drastically changing for the first time in a couple decades. For quite a while, the hairstyles had gotten larger, more extravagant, and were either powdered or covered with powdered wigs. Then all of a sudden hats got more extravagant, and hair was all of a sudden worn in loose curls, totally down, in a natural color.

For decades dresses had been large, hooped, bustled (though that wasn't the word for it at the time) and frilled--especially formal wear. Then in the mid 1780s Marie Antoinette all of a sudden introduced the "chemise gown." So named because instead of volume, it was a simple swath, sashes, a precursor to the empire styles we know and love from Regency days. When it first appeared on the scene, to most it looked like nothing more than an undergarment, hence the name "chemise."

Interesting, huh? I'm always so intrigued by how fashion can change subtly, subtly, and the WHAM! All of sudden hemlines rise (in the case of the 1920s), necklines plunge, volume decreases, undergarments change, hair goes from up-to-the-ceiling to totally down . . . and why, I ask, do my settings always seem to be in those transition years?? I don't plan it that way, but every time I look up the fashion for my particular year, I find it to be in transition, not what I associate with the "typical" for an era. Sheesh. ;-)

Another thing that struck me yet again is the corset. They were called stays at the time, but still. It was a corset. Corset were worn by all women for centuries and centuries, even well into ours. They made a brief exit in the early 1920s, but women didn't like the bulges that emerged without them, so they quickly came back in, though in a more comfortable form. What happened to that?? I mean, I'm all for comfort, but seriously. I find it strange.

And that sums up my musings on fashion for now. I got a few books out of the library I'm going to be looking at tomorrow, so who knows what weird little factoids I'll have for you next week. ;-) Hope everyone has a fun Wednesday!

1 comment:

  1. That was a fun trip through fashionland!!
    Thanks, Roseanna.