Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Storybook Fashion

One of the reasons I love writing historicals is the research. Lately, I've been having to dress my heroine. This involves some of the most fun. What WAS the height of fashion for a young woman in the early 1890's who is the daughter of a bank owner in Midwest Wisconsin?

My heroine, Holly, has a remarkable lack of care of fashion. Which is why her mother dresses her. Here is a glimpse into my heroine's wardrobe that makes its way into several of my story's scenes and hopefully wet the reader's appetite:

CHANGEABLE PRINTED SILK AFTERNOON DRESS, 1890's. 2-piece copper and pale blue having a meandering abstract pattern, boned high-neck bodice with large puff gathered into a narrow lower sleeve, embroidered net yoke with long ruffle and net over lower sleeve, copper velvet trim bands and collar. Skirt with serpentine self ruffle at hem.

Afternoon dress ca. 1890. Black & white dotted Swiss with satin (apparently) sash. Tucked bodice and skirt that is flat in front and has rounded hip line. It flares out to trumpet shape, also known as a ”medium-sweep length.” 

Trained velvet suit with fur trim, Cleveland, ca. 1890s. Three pieces: bodice, jacket, skirt. Aubergine silk boned jacket with band collar & gigot sleeves and matching skirt with double hem band of brown fur. Tulle high-necked bodice with cream appliqué lace, trimmed with velvet bands. Boned & with taffeta lining and chiffon under-sleeve.

What are your thoughts? Would you wear these fashions? Or are fashions of a different era more your style?


  1. I love the styles from the 50's the best. If I was small enough, I would love to wear the fashions Lucille Ball wore in I Love Lucy. The styles from the 1800s look too confining, hot and cumbersome for my taste.

  2. Wow! Those dresses are a lot different from what I've always imagined the characters wearing!
    If I had to pick a clothing era, I would say from like the 1920s-50s. I like the dresses and designs from the 20s, but they were rather immodest for my tastes, so I would like to take them and add some of the designs from the 40s and 50s. :)

    1. I think I'd wear jeans and a tshirt (I must've been born in the right era ;) LOL But I'd love to give the 1890's or the Edwardian (early 1900's) a try

  3. Beautiful dresses, Jaime!! I love looking at historical clothing and would try that of most any era!! Thanks for the peek into one area of your coming book!!


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