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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

A Topic of Considerable Cheek

Good day, everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the temporary change of scenery around here. One of the perks of being webmistress and somewhat handy with graphics software (Hey, if you want a cheesy website banner, I’m your go-to duchess.) means I can redecorate. :)

 

But on to my topic, one I’m sure we can all stand behind. (Yes, I know that was bad, but I’ll always get you to laugh in the end. Ok, ok, I promise I’m done. Maybe.)

 

In a Regency romance, who wears the pants—the hero or the heroine?

 

Haha, that’s actually a trick question. The answer is neither. Even today, to someone from the UK, pants are something a man wears under his trousers.

 

So what does the self-respecting Regency hero wear if he wants to be decent? Trousers are one option, but they don’t exactly resemble today’s fashions. Adapted from the working class, trousers were worn looser and rough.

 

A Most Devilish Rogue Cover

No, his clothes aren’t historically accurate, but for some reason, I don’t care.

Despite what my cover art portrays, men did not wear belts during this time period. They used braces (suspenders—but that’s another word that has a different meaning in the UK) to fend off a wardrobe malfunction. For accessibility purposes, the various styles of trouser featured a fall front of varying width, either broad or narrow. Beneath the fall, the waistband buttoned closed.

 

One version of the trouser was known as the cossack. Deriving their name from the riders of the Russian steppe, these were of a very loose cut that owed more to comfort than fashion. They also featured strips of fabric that ran under the wearer’s foot to keep them tucked in.

 

Which only proves the 90s weren’t inventing anything new when stirrup pants came into vogue.

 

Depending on which decade of the early 19th century we’re using for our setting, breeches might be another option. By 1810, they were pretty much passé during the day, although older, more conservative gentlemen might retain their use. Men still wore them as evening dress–in fact, they were required if a gentleman sought admittance to Almack’s– until the dark trousers of the Victorian era usurped their place even in formal wear. Made of wool, cotton, linen, or silk, breeches were holdovers from the previous century with their baggy seats, although they were fitted about the leg.

 

Clifton Assembly Rooms by Rolinda Sharples

Rolinda’ Sharples’ 1817 portayal of Clifton Assembly Rooms. Note the mix of trousers and breeches among the attendees.

If you were going riding, that’s another story. Buckskin breeches were all the thing for equestrian pursuits, and given that the ideal cut was skin-tight, I’m certain the ladies appreciated the view. On the downside, buckskin couldn’t be washed, and tended to sag over time, so the conscientious gentleman would want to replace his riding breeches often so as not to offend feminine sensibilities.

 

Beau Brummell 1805

What post on men’s fashion would be complete without an image of Beau Brummell? Note his broad falls.

If a gentlemen really wanted to rough it, he might choose a denim-like cotton called nankeen for his riding breeches. I suppose that’s the closest the era gets to jeans, and who doesn’t like a hero in a well-fitting pair of Levis?

 

Beginning in the 1790s,  a new style was adopted from the French revolutionaries, a garment known by possibly the least sexy term ever—the pantaloon. Not to be confused with lacy feminine undergarment of the Victorian era, the Regency pantaloon reached the ankle and fit like proper riding breeches. That is to say, skin-tight. To make up for the non-sexy term, at least we can say our heroes probably looked sexy while sporting these garments—although I recommend looking at lots of period prints just to be certain.

 

And if some men felt a little less, shall we say, well-endowed in certain areas, they might pad out their pantaloons. Get your minds out of the gutter. I’m talking about the calves. The point of all this fitting was to show off the lower leg. I, for one, am not averse to letting my gaze trail a bit higher, though.

 

Lacing a Dandy Caricature

1819 caricature of a man who clearly takes the padding idea a bit too far.

The cover art of my latest release, A Most Devilish Rogue (available tomorrow), inspired this post, and George my hero would certainly let himself be seen only in the most fashionable versions of these garments. One lucky commenter (North America only, please) will win a signed copy, along with an Amazon gift card. So tell me, readers, how do you prefer your hero to dress?

Here’s the blurb:

 

Years ago, when Isabelle Mears was still a young miss too infatuated to know better, she surrendered her innocence to a dishonorable man. Though ruined and cast out from society, she has worked hard to shelter her illegitimate son, Jack. Having sworn off men in her quiet but dignified life, Isabelle is unprepared for the deep longing that rips through her when a handsome stranger rescues her rambunctious six-year-old from the pounding ocean surf.

 

George Upperton is a man in trouble with debts, women, and a meddling family. He is, by all accounts, the last gentleman on earth Isabelle should be drawn to. But loneliness is a hard mistress, and caution gives way to desire . . . even though Isabelle is convinced that happiness can’t be found in the arms of such a devilish rogue. Only when Jack is kidnapped does Isabelle discover the true depth of George’s devotion—and how far a good man will go to fight for the woman whose love is all that matters.

Regency vs. Victorian Ultimate SMACKDOWN!

Ash: Greetings, and welcome today. I’m very excited because my debut is coming out tomorrow, and…

 

Jen: Good day, your grace. What are you doing here?

 

Ash: Oh, you’ve heard. It’s the day before my book release. It’s called A Most Scandalous Proposal. Thank you for dropping by to congratulate me. *smile smile*

 

Jen: Erm, actually… It’s the day before my book releases, too.

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Robin Hood: Men Are Back in Tights!

 

Meggings? What are meggings? Until last week, I’d never heard of them. I should have known something was amiss when the TV commentator sort of snickered when she announced the upcoming story about meggings. Seconds later, the screen filled with photos of men who were dressed in tights. Had Robin Hood become a fashion icon? Were pointed shoes and feathered hats next?

 

Alas, this story was not about Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Meggings are a new fashion trend and famous men across America are wearing these brightly colored leggings proudly.

 

And youngsters laugh at images of 80’s mall hair, cone bras, and disco fashions.  

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