Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Remember When . . . Fashion Study Paid Off?

I am by no means an expert of historical fashion--I leave that to wonderful folks like Rachel Wilder, who my family fondly refers to as "Louisiana Rachel," and who I have recruited to read my manuscripts and find any errors in how I refer to cravats vs. ties, waistcoats and vests and chemises and panniers and hoops and crinolines and...and..and...

I can't tell you where the seams were in sleeves in a random year in the 19th century. I can't tell you exactly when hoops turned to bell-shapes and what fabrics were most common when, and what colors were popular--not without looking it up, anyway. But at this point I've researched the fashion of enough eras, from 1770s through the 1920s, that I'm beginning to recognize things before I see a year attached to them. And that's pretty cool. =)

One of my recent realizations of this was with a book I was reading for WhiteFire. There was no date at the beginning of the book to tell us when it was taking place, and our other editor asked. I said something like, "Based on the fashion described, it has to be 1890s." I went and checked in the proposal she'd sent earlier, and voila! 1890! I felt so proud, LOL.

This is a pretty handy (and necessary) skill for a historical writer to have attained, and it's a fun one to learn! It's also the point where I can recognize a few designers, believe it or not. Every time I see a late 19th-century gown that I just adore, I know it's from the House of Worth. Haven't been wrong yet, LOL.

So while we've looked at a lot of fashion here as I'm in one era or another, today we're going to just take a quick tour through the ages that I've studied. =)

Early 1860s
Late 1860s (House of Worth!!)
1890s (also Worth - drool)
And you know what all these beautiful dresses make me wish? That we still wore such lovely creations on a day-to-day basis! I daresay Charles Frederick Worth would be none too impressed with the trend of yoga pants, LOL. ;-)


  1. I'm not an expert, but I do enjoy this stuff. Thanks for sharing these, Roseanna!

  2. We drool in the same places ! Go figure , guess I instilled good tastes as well as manners eh?

    Guess Who ?

  3. Oh I am totally with you here! Drool worthy, indeed! I, too, wish we still wore these every day. I'm a throwback for my age and would always get the fancy dresses for church because I loved these looks. :) Love the post!