Skip to content

Fun Friday–A Look Inside Kate’s Closet

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fun Friday 2013

One of the major differences between the Regency period (in which The Ransome Trilogy is set) and the early Victorian period in which the Great Exhibition series takes place is the fashion. I had so much more fun “dressing” my characters in this book. Colors and patterns and shapes and fabrics! Though I tried to give the ladies some variety back in 1814, the truth was there wasn’t much I could do for them. The Empire fashions were somewhat limited. But, ah, this era . . .

In the early 1850s skirts got as wide as they could without the help of the hoopskirts we typically think of when we look at dresses from that era. But hoopskirts (a version of which had been so popular in the 18th century) did not come back until 1855/56. The large, bell-shaped skirts of the late 1840s/early 1850s were accomplished with petticoats and crinolines.

Wait, you say. Aren’t crinolines and hoopskirts the same thing?

No. Actually, the word crinoline comes from the French term crin which means horsehair and lin which means flax (horsehair and linen—the fabric that comes from flax—were woven together). Crinolines were stiff, woven or quilted petticoats, sometimes so stiff they could almost stand up on their own! With a combination of petticoats (ruffled, starched, etc.), these underpinnings managed to create the volume we see in the pre-hoopskirt fashions. But that’s enough of a history lesson. Let’s get on to the fashion show!

Whether actually described in the book or not, these gowns/plates (among many others found here–click each link to learn more/see the original source) served as inspiration as I pictured Kate’s wardrobe. (Actually, the yellow one in the last image served as inspiration for a gown that Nora ends up wearing.)

  1. Dora permalink
    Friday, April 19, 2013 12:53 pm

    Love the green one. Like you with purple, I generally like anything in green. Seriously, I think the green dress has a simplicity that I like. I am so not a ribbons, bows, etc. kind of girl. In fact, I think I would be a “bloomer” girl, rather than wear dresses. I so hate to be in hose and dress shoes. I also like the purple and black dress, in its evening state. It looks more elegant without the jacket. All of the dresses are really beautiful.


  2. Janella permalink
    Friday, April 19, 2013 1:57 pm

    What lovely dresses, I also really like the green one.
    I’m not sure how they got around without colliding into objects.


  3. Debra E. Marvin permalink
    Friday, April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

    I’d like the plaid one if we are putting in an order!


    • Amber permalink
      Friday, April 19, 2013 6:06 pm

      I like the plaid one, too!


  4. Amber permalink
    Friday, April 19, 2013 6:05 pm

    This is so interesting! I love the fashion of the 1920s, but I’m liking these more and more. It seems like these dresses would be so uncomfortable–super tight bodice–but they’re beautiful!


  5. Friday, April 19, 2013 11:40 pm

    The dresses of that time period were gorgeous. I’m just glad we don’t have to wear them today. I remember when I was watching, “Gone With the Wind”, Scarlett had to be tied into a corset so she could get into one of these dresses. By today’s standards, they were extremely uncomfortable. The ladies of that era didn’t know anything different, so they probably didn’t think of them as being uncomfortable. Can you imagine wearing one in the summer, especially in the South?


  6. Saturday, April 20, 2013 11:23 am

    These dresses are beautiful! I can’t select a favorite (but could imagine myself wearing one). If only there was a way to bring that elegance back without the discomfort.


  7. Emma permalink
    Saturday, April 20, 2013 2:44 pm

    Ahhh, historical fashion….one of my favorite things! I actually really like the fashions of this time period. I love the first dress, the blue dress, and a really purple/black dress. Gorgeous!


  8. Deonna permalink
    Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:23 am

    That is one (of the MANY!) things I love about your historical fiction. You work very hard to make things accurate, which is important to me. I also LOVE how you post pictures for us to help visualize the details of uniforms, ships, dresses, buildings…

    Thanks SO much!!!


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: