Tagged Victorian Fashion

My Biggest Gripes with Austen Movies (Miss Gail Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Generally speaking, Gentle Reader, when times are tough I watch Austen movies. I know, I know, but we all have our visual comfort food.

Austen Movie Sins Promo Blog Post

I don’t like to be negative here on the blog, but I figure taking sublime umbrage in a Jane Austen movie adaptation ranks pretty low on the totem poll of putting negativity out into the world. Still, if you come here for all things positive, best to skip this post.

Still with me?

For the purposes of this discussion I’m going to talk about only those movies and miniseries produced in the last 20 years.

I have plenty of gripes with the 1970s BBC series of adaptations, but those party stem from being made the 1970s, just as it would for some of the 1950s and earlier black & white productions.

All of these, then, I tend to think of as period pieces, both in and of themselves, and representing the aesthetic and directorial style of he time in which they were made. As such, I hold them to different standards.

So without further adoo…

Gail’s Biggest Pet Peeves in Austen Movies

Okay then, let’s talk things about Austen adaptations that bother me.

Hair Sins Austen Wear it Up

A Lady’s Hair Is WORN UP

For goodness sake. There is absolutely no excuse of any grown female character in an Austen movie to have her hair down and loose. Under no circumstances, outside of the bedroom, would this have been acceptable. Even young girls would have had it plaited or tied with ribbon, or treated in some way.

We are talking Austen characters here, basically tradeswomen and higher ranked. THE HAIR WOULD BE UP.  It is absolutely unacceptable in a period piece to break this society regulation. It’s upsetting to watch, breaks the suspension of disbelief, and instantly modernizes a character.

It’s like being at the Renaissance Faire and seeings someone in full proper garb… wearing sun glasses.

Sanditon hair ARGH

Sanditon is doubly egregious in this manner, her hair cut and styling are entirely modern, plus she is at a very windy beach half the time, where any normal human with long hair would tie it back, doesn’t even matter if it’s period or not. The director’s choice in this matter is unforgivable.

Billie Mansfield Park Austen Half Back Hair

Billie Piper’s half-back atrocity in Mansfield Park, and Jemima Rooper’s ultra modern bob in Lost in Austen, I’m assuming have something to do with the actress weighing in on brand image. (And yes, I get that Lost in Austen is portal fantasy, but if she’s putting on the period dresses she should put up her mother-fing-hair!)

Lost Austen Modern Bob

Incidentally, Gwyneth’s Emma is a bit too severely scraped back into a bun, she looks like a ballet dancer half the time. And I can’t stand even thinking about Kiera’s neck bangs in Pride & Prejudice.

Regency Hairstyles Jane Austen

What I expected?

At the very least: parted in the middle, curls at the side of the face, bun directly at the back or slightly higher up. Yes they got more elaborate than this, but this is the basic. Here’s a historical article on the subject. The 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini series does a decent job with the hair.

Glove SIns Austen

Ladies Wore Gloves In Public!

This is a harder one to spot in movies, but generally speaking, ladies and gentlemen of a certain class (or aspiring to that class) wore gloves in public for everything BUT eating. So sitting down at a meal, or eating from the buffet at a ball = no gloves. Otherwise, dancing, walking, socializing, visiting = GLOVES!

Pride and Prejudice Kiera Darcy No Gloves Ball Austen

In the Keira Pride & Prejudice movie she and Darcy are not wearing gloves at their dance, neither are Anne and her men in Becoming Jane.

Becoming Jane Austen Dancing No Gloves

The most recent Emma (2020) committed this offense in both directions. First Anya is dancing without gloves in “that scene.” Second she eats a strawberry with her gloves on. Sigh.

Gloves Eating Austen Emma

You need only watch Under the Greenwood Tree (Victorian later period, but still about the gloves) for the sexiest no gloves scene ever filmed. They are washing their hands and it’s practically a sex scene.

Not wearing gloves is a serious business. And I get that’s what the director is alluding to in 2020 Emma, but still, there is no excuse for her not to be wearing gloves at a ball! I mean they made special gloves exactly for balls!

Jane Austen Society Gloves

What I expected?

Gloves. I expected to see gloves. On ladies and gentlemen!

“I was very lucky in my gloves–got them at the first shop I went to…and gave only four shillings for them; upon hearing which everybody at Chawton will be hoping and predicting that they cannot be good for anything, and their worth certainly remains to be proved; but I think they look very well.”

~ Jane Austen, 1813

So those are my big ones, what are some of yours? Anything you peeve about in Austen movies?

Yours (destined to die on the tiniest of hills),

Miss Gail

  • Want a fun blog in this vein? Try Recycled Movie Costumes tumblr. It’s GREAT. 
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Dimity, London’s cheerfullest spy, must fix a broken vampire hive while a gentle soldier tries to keep her safe. A charming makeover story set in the popular Parasolverse.

It’s a battle for survival… and wallpaper!

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The first lines of 10 classic novels, rewritten for social distancing.

The Austen character that I, Gail, most identify with…

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Dear Lord Akeldama: The Vampire Answers 9 Fashion Questions

Posted by Gail Carriger

Happy New Year, my darling Gentle Reader. In fact, happy new decade!

With that in mind how about something from the man who has been through many many decades himself?

Why yes indeed, it’s our own favorite vampire dandy! And he is ready to solve all your fashion dilemmas…

Welcome Lord Akeldama… take it away!

Dear Lord Akeldama Ready for the Ball by François Brunery c1880

9 FASHION QUESTIONS

1. What would you say is your most useful advice? 

Better not to leave the house than to leave it ill dressed.

2. Oliver says: A friend of mine wore four flannels and and a jacket, at the same time, over a T-shirt?

I am all amazement.

3. What is the proper way for large women to wear vests and still look elegant?

Proper foundational garments.

4. What’s your process to remove bloodstains from your clothes? 

Cold water INSTANTLY. Never let blood sit for even a second. It’s the only time in my afterlife when I have any sense of, well, urgency.

5. What colors would best set off my grey (pewter, not silver) hair? 

Jewel tones darling, sapphire and emerald, ruby or royal purple if you dare.

via pimpernelfans tumblr Lord Akeldama Anthony Andrews

pimpernelfans tumblr (Anthony Andrews)

6. What is your opinion on bow ties for the adventurous, daring woman? 

Cautiously optimistic. I do like necks in bows, it’s always fun to unwrap a prettily presented snack.

7. I have always practiced the policy of getting completely dressed for an event, and then removing one piece of jewelry. Is this habit still valid, or has it become outdated? If it is still au courant, would you remove a pin or a bracelet?

Leave off the bracelet, my shimmery nugget. The primary purpose of jewelry in a modern social setting is to encourage dialogue ~ pins (or brooches) are more prominent and less common, and therefore more intriguing. Bracelets get caught on things all the time.

8. Miss Serena asks: Lemon juice does bring out the highlights in my hair, but without access to your pomade, how do I keep my naturally blond tresses from turning to straw? 

After washing out the lemon, mix baking soda in cold water (enough to soften the water but not supersaturate it) and pour over hair. Let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse out.

9. What are your thoughts on culottes? Are they only for summer time, or can they be worn any season?

I am generally against garments that cannot decide what they wish to be.

antique royals tumblr Lord Akeldama

via antique royals tumblr

And he’s gone!

Thank you all for paying him such close attention, he loves it, even if he doesn’t say so.

Extra nugget: 20 Queer Fantasy Books That Should Be On Your Radar

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Speaking of which… this Sunday’s Chirrup (January 5, 2020) will offer the option to enter to win this goodie box!

Goodie Box Blue Purple Passion 2 Free stuff from Gail Carriger

You’ll need to be signed up and confirmed before it goes out, then there is a link to enter in the newsletter itself. I random number generate one winner, open to all who get the Chirrup.

Yours, thinking about a wardrobe overhaul,

Miss Gail

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Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident featuring Alexia & Conall’s first encounter!

Meat Cute The Hedgehog Incident Gail Carriger Free Download

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In this short story Alexia Tarabotti attends what seems to be a dull London party, until the new werewolf Alpha turns up, is unconscionably rude to her, and sits on a hedgehog.

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Currently coveting this Tea Cozy.

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Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

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“I loved this book! There is just something about the life lessons in this series that just warms my heart.”

Quote of the Day:

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10 Tips on Writing Victorian Garb from Gail Carriger (Important for Authors)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

10 Facts Gail Wishes Other Authors Knew About Writing Upper Class Victorian Clothes

1. Gown = Bodice + Skirt

Ball Gown  1900-1905  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Most gowns and dresses were in two or more parts:

  1. the top (or bodice)
  2. the bottom (or skirt/overskirt/underskirt+overskirt)

The two were sewn (yes on the wearer), tied, or hooked together. (This continued into the Edwardian era.)

 

Ball gown and day dress, 1865 Robe à Transformation The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This lead to transformation outfits (AKA Robe à Transformation):

Same skirt, different bodice, dictating different occasions and allowing for double use.

Very practical.

 Godeys July 1872 Fig. 12 Low muslin bodice for a white French muslin dress, trimmed with lace and colored ribbon brows. Fig. 14 Pink silk bodice far an evening dress, made with plaited bertha, edged by points bound with satin; a ruche of illusion inside of neck and sleeves. Fig. 15 Ladies drawers, made of muslin or linen, trimmed with tucks, tatting insertion, and tape trimming. Fig. 16 Piece to wear over a surprise dress of black grenadine, made of blue China crape, trimmed with white lace.

2. Lots of Layers

There is usually an article of clothing both under the corset and over the corset.

 

Chemise 1876 and Combination 1890s both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Slip 1900-1908 and Petticoat 1909-1911 both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Under, depending on time and class, was called a…

  • chemise
  • petticoat (which, as the name “small coat”  implies had a top part like a slip as well as a bottom part)
  • slip
  • combination
  • camisole

 Corset Cover  1864-1868 and Camisol 1895-1905 both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Corset Cover  1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over was usually called a camisole (yes called same thing as above) or a corset cover.

Then the bodice of the dress, that’s so long as there wasn’t also a chemisette/collarette (which is a little like a Dickey) required for day (see next section #3). Agatha refers to her collarette as her “lace tuck.”

 Godeys July 1872 Ladies’ corset, made of fine linen, and edged with a narrow Valenciennes lace around the neck. Ladies’ chemise, made tightly gored, with puffs set in the front from the neck down, insertion and edging around the neck and sleeves.

Godeys Nov 1872 Corset cover for lady, made of fine linen, and trimmed with medallions of embroidery and lace. The sleeves are trimmed to correspond.

3. Detachable Sleeves

Sleeves could be detachable (like those worn by bakers to protect the bottom of their sleeves from flour) and were called undersleeves.

Chemisette, Undersleeves, and Handkerchief  1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  

 Godeys Oct 1872 Open habit shirt and sleeves, made of fine muslin ruffles plaited, and embroidered insertion; and Undersleeves and collarette, made of muslin, embroidered and trimmed with Valenciennes lace; Godeys Sept 1872 Collar and under sleeve, made of linen tucks and narrow ruffles; the collar is to be worn with a surplice dress.

In the 1890s there was a brief fad for cage sleeve supports as well.

Sleeve Supports  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

4. Colorful Stockings

 

 Stockings  1870 and 1880-1899 both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stockings could be very colorful and were held up with garters (not a garter belt), or garter straps which were attached to the corset and went down over the drawers and bottom part of the chemise often causing them to bunch up.

 

 Garter 1875-1825 and Waist Cincher 1908 both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Stockings  1860s  The Victoria & Albert Museum

5. Drawers: To Split or Not to Split?

Split drawers appear in the late 1840s and continue through the 1910s but drawers were also sewn closed during the Victorian Era.

During the Regency Era evidence suggests drawers were not split, but then, corsets were so short drawers didn’t need to be split as the waistband rarely tucked tightly under the corset.

 Godeys Sept 1872 Ladies drawers trimmed with rows of insertion and tucks, finished by a lace edging.

Split Drawers 1900s  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Split Underwear 1916  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A further note on drawers:

In England, even during their surge in popularity in Europe, women did not wear pantalettes (ankle length drawers) only young girls.

Later period knickerbockers were shorter and more practical than drawers but did not entirely replace them.

Bloomers is a term not really used in England until after 1910 (Amelia was American).

6. They Stuffed

Bust Improvers  1890s  Whitaker Auctions

Bust improvers were introduced in the 1880s, so yes, the Victorians stuffed.

7. Leather Undies

In the 1860s some undergarments were made of chamois leather, for added support, and layered over cloth.

I had a hard time finding a picture of this, although written evidence abounds, but here are some leather stays from the time.

8. Stays Please!

 

1876 Corset “Queen Bess” The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1890s Summer Corset  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Corset  1897-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Speaking of which, corsets were never talked about in public. If for some reason they had to be mentioned (between ladies of the same age, or in written form), they would be referred to as stays or (better) foundation garments.

The word corset appears to be mainly used in late period advertisements. Whether there was a recognized difference between the two terms at the time is unclear.

8 From the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog

Godeys Nov 1872 Waist for child of a year old, to button skirts on, made of white muslin, trimmed with worked edging. Ladies chemise yoke and sleeves, made of insertion and tucks edged with lace.

 

 Knitted waist for a child.

9. Maid Required

With the exception of some tea gowns and carriage dresses worn, if a lady was daring enough, without stays, it was actually very hard for an upperclass woman to dress herself (or undress, for that matter).

(Yes, I’m aware of the recreationest YouTubes out there claiming this isn’t true (but note her dresses button up the FRONT and she is very relax laced). Frankly, I can get into my own full Victorian (hooks and eyes up the back), but I’m never laced tight, I’m never sewn in, and I’m never fully period accurate, because… I’d need a maid!)

 

 Not how to lace; going at it alone

Yes, if you are flexible you can button up the back of your own bodice, or even lace your own corset, but most gowns were custom designed to go over a tighter lacing and that requires a dresser or lady’s maid (unless you’re wicked strong and flexible).

Speaking of which, corset laces are pulled tight to either side, not straight back. Images like the one above are a joke and the technique would not be effective. And yes it is entirely possible to lace your own corset.

10. Occasion Dressing

Gowns had designated times and places they could be worn: from sportswear specific to event specific to occasion specific to time of day.

This changed throughout the Victorian era.

 

Dressing Gown early 1870s versus Tea Gown 1898-1901 both via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dressing gown intended to be seen only by a lady’s maid and possibly husband. Tea gown worn informally about the house seen by staff and family but not visitors unless very intimate.

Here’s a short list from Gail’s memory (a lady did not need to actually have one of each!):

nightgown, peignoir, wrapper, negligée, night-rail, dressing gown, morning dress, tea gown, day dress, walking dress, promenade ensemble, visiting gown, afternoon dress, dinner dress, evening dress, ball gown, reception gown, court dress, wedding dress, opera dress, fancy dress, masquerade costume, swimwear, ice skating ensemble, tennis wear, riding habit, bicycling ensemble, croquet dress, hunting outfit, shooting outfit, country dress (the tweeds), picnic ensemble, travel gown, carriage dress.

 

Shocking Lady Cricters Punch 1892 (via Project Gutenberg) and Walking Ensemble 1865 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Plus outerwear.

Plus many of the same in various shades of mourning (full mourning, half mourning, and mauves for extended mourning for the pious).

 

 Evening Dress and matched Shoes 1889  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The lower classes usually had about three dresses: a working dress (sometimes this could be a uniform or livery), a day dress (for home activities usually worn covered with a pinafore or apron), and Sunday Best.

Much of the same holds true for a man

Which is to say:

  • He had lots of clothing in multiple parts some of which hooked together so it wouldn’t shift around.
  • He wore many layers.
  • There were such things as chest and calf improvers (padding).
  • He might have had chamois leather undergarments.
  • Men’s undergarments were not talked about in public.
  • He needed someone to dress him, which is why even bachelors kept a “man” (AKA valet). What Jeeves calls a “gentleman’s personal gentleman.”
Leather Underwear For Men

This post originally appeared in Retro Rack.

Yours with a new clothing rack for the new office…

Miss Gail

Main Room Clothing Rack New Office

OUT NOW!

Reticence: The forth and final Custard Protocol Book!

Reticence

USA & Canada: Amazon print & digital & audiobook | Kobo | B & N | Apple | Audible | Other

UK digitalprint | Kobo | Apple UK coming soon I hope

Amazon Overseas DE | FR | AU

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Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series.

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via ClassicPics @History_Pics Young Maiko from the 1920s

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I love me some dashes, but I have SERIOUS opinions on them. If I see a flipping closed-up em dash, I lose my tiny mind. It is horrible for both spacing on a printed page & ebook formatting. It is a convention that needs to DIE.

6 Dashing Em Dash Examples in Literature

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Alexia by Jessica Maggie Lake 2015 fanart

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Quote of the Day:

I was once chatting with author friend Alex White in a cafe about a new ridiculous story idea.
A gentleman at the next table said, “I couldn’t help but overhear, that sounds like something Gail Carriger would write. Have you heard of her?”
And I was like, “Well this is awkward.”

Your Moment of Gail

 

“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


How to Thrift for Victorian & Steampunk Outfits (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Dear Gentle Reader,

This is not for the faint of heart.

This is an older blog post I did on Retro Rack, that I’ve consolidated and moved here. It contains basic guidelines on how to cobble together a pseudo victorian or steampunk outfit via thrift stores.

I originally wrote this post many years ago for a different blog, before I was a paid authorbeast, when I used my online journal as a kind of information distribution center for friends. Back then it was all about thrifting for the Dickens Fair, an icon of the Christmas season up here in NorCal/. I worked there for a decade or so.

I adapted it to be a general Thrifting Victoriana post and it can also be used as a basis for steampunk.

 One of my beta readers at Dickens wearing a top (we thrifted) that she made, from a 1980s plaid vest + skirt set (she tailored in the vest and used the skirt for bell sleeves). 

 

I thought I would reboot it one last time for you, my most fashionable of readers. My hope is it will evolve and become a place I can point people too whenever they ask me the inevitable questions, how do I thift for a {fill in the blank} costume.

Outfit made of thrifted velvet bathrobe, white king sized sheet set, tailored 1970’s blouse, straw hat re-purposed to be a bonnet lined with a pleated handkerchief, lots of ribbon.

Anyway, Fashionable Reader, as you may well have guessed I am the shopping denizen for my particular group.

One of my few super powers (including the inexplicable ability to turn off street lights) is thrift store juju. I’ve used it to construct various outfits over the years. You see I have an eye trained to spot the possibilities. So this post was written to help others develop the “eye to what can be”.

 Kai modeling a dress I made out of thrifted items: bridesmaid’s cream satin dress, a crochet tablecloth, brown velvet bathrobe, recovered hat, and pheasant feathers from a mask.

Please note:

This is meant to be a basic tips instruction manual to help those just getting into costuming, not for those with more advanced techniques.  All rules are made to be broken so please keep in mind that this post is 101, not seminar level. Also I’m not using modifiers for the sake of brevity, all of the instructions bellow are meant as suggestions not commands.

Here we go!

Thrifting for Victorian Inspired Fashion

Some General Thoughts

  • Middle to upper-class costumes should FIT properly. You don’t need to sew but you will need to tailor.
  • For ladies this means bodice (shoulder to waist) hugs the upper body, blouse sleeves end at the wrists, and skirts show no ankle.
  • For men this means the jacket fits the upper torso (shoulder to waist), sleeves are long and do not ride-up, waistcoats are tight to the body, and trousers start at the WAIST and end at top of the shoe, below the ankle.

1860s couple. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution . ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

  • Patterned fabric is your friend. Avoid those that look too modern or too machined, go for small checked, striped, tweed, and flowered.

TIP: Look for something you might see on old-fashioned wallpaper.

1860s check dress, Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

  • Color is your friend. The Victorians loved color. Take advantage of: white, black, pastel, jewel tones, primary, secondary, and contrasting. Colors project images. For example: pastels and whites tended to be worn by unmarried young ladies, blacks and reds by matrons.
    • For men, early in in the era, yellow and red suggest dandy, and blue is associated with the Corinthian set.
    • Women tend to be more matched. A combination of three colors was considered flattering early on in the Victorian era, for example, sage green, peach, and black, by the 1870’s graduating shades of the same color came into vogue. The exception is blouses, worn underneath rest of the outfit, these are almost always white or cream.
  • Fabric is NOT your friend. This is England post regency, light fabrics were considered a tad old fashioned, although they did appear. Best to avoid cheep silk, muslin, other light cottons, and, of coarse, anything man-made. Brocade was rare on women, although some men did do it for a waistcoat.

TIP: Opt for twilled raw silks, wool, dupioni, heavy cotton, satin, velvet, taffeta, and other rich, lux, weighty fabrics. Think curtains in libraries

GOOD MOVIES TO COSTUME WATCH

Nicholas Nickleby – for early lower class.

Washington Square – w/ Jennifer Jason Lee, CHECK OUT HER HAIR!

Jane Eyre (A&E) – good lower-class dresses.

Mrs. Brown – for an excellent range in space and class.

Impromptu – great men’s attire

North and South – not only good costumes but a great romance, and a killer look at the dark side of life and rise of industrialism during this era.

All About Steampunk Fashion

Part ONE: Victorian Dress Thrifting for Women

Swiss Waist, Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

You have more choices, but more modifications and sewing.

Self in a mainly thrifted outfit: hat Goodwill (dampened and bent, decorated – using hot glue gun – with ribbons and flowers from a church rummage sale); velvet cape is the top portion of a coat (bottom of which was stained); shirt 1970 boxy cut thrifted on Height Street, tailored to figure, and blue ribbon threaded through; skirt gored made from stain resistant king size bed sheets, bed ruffle at bottom, blue ribbon sewing on all over. Parasol not thrifted but added blue ribbon to match.

OUTER GARMENTS

1. Hats

Victorian women always wear their hair up. Only whores and very young girls wear their hair loose. In the streets and when visiting or shopping, hair is also always covered, with any of the following:

A. Mob Cap (or Mop Cap): Made of lace or cotton trimmed with lace, usually white, this hat looks like a shower cap with a ruffle around the edge. Favored by older, married women, and widows.

 B. A Floof (or Lace Cap): A lace head covering that drapes over crown of head with ruffles in the back and flaps over the ears. Works both inside and outside the house. Can’t be found in thrift stores, but relatively easy to make.

Floof! Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

C. Flat Straw (or Shepherdess Cap): A very shallow crown, very wide brim, close weave straw hat that must be held on with hatpin or bow and curved in interesting ways. Favored by younger women and the country set.

 The cream and brown hat I made, mainly with a hot glue gun for my 1878 walking gown.

D. Lady’s Bowler: Shaped like a bowler with a slightly smaller brim, made of straw, and worn tilted to one side affixed with a hatpin. Difficult to find.

E. Riding Hat: A lady’s top-hat, this is usually shorter than a man’s, decorated with a vale, and worn with a riding habit. Considered very daring.

 F. Perch: An undersized, highly decorated hat with a narrow brim curled up on each side and peaked in the front (like a cowboy hat), worn perched far forward on the head, or far to the back later on in history, and affixed with a hatpin.

 Mine is made from a fez with a turned up back brim. Feathers from an African mask, and dried flowers.

G. Bonnet: Sits way back on the head, highly decorated to match the dress.

 H. A whole range and variety came in the 1870’s that emulated turbans and flowerpots like the toque.

I. And in the mid to late 1970s the teeny tiny hats came in as well. You can make on of these using a doll’s hat blank from any craft store.

 The crazy purple Ivy hat I made using a bucram blank, a Styrofoam flowerpot insert, a glue gun, and lots of scraps.

THRIFTERS: Bonnets and flat straw hats can be made by cutting down regular straw hats. Look for close weave, bendable straw of any color with a shallow crown. All of the above tended to be highly decorated with silk flower, fake fruit, feather birds and more. Millinery is lots of fun, especially with a glue gun!

2. Shawls

Large square or triangle shape of heavy silk usually embroidered. NO CUT-VELVET! Cape is another good option.

Tip: Christmas tree skirts work really well as cape-like jackets.

Here is one I picked up from an after Christmas sale at TJ Max used as a shawl, and also as a can can skirt for a steampunk outfit.

3. Vest

You can, as a shop-keep, get way with a woman’s vest instead of jacket (vests are also worn under bolero style jackets). Vests should have no pockets, be VERY fitted, button or clasp up the front, have a full back (none of the fake liner fabric), flare at the waist, and have wide sloping shoulders. You will need a shawl to go into the streets. Swiss waists are also an option.

THRIFTERS: Look for full (no synthetic back), fitted vests with darts.

4. Blouses

Usually white/cream and designed to show only at the wrists and neck, blouses tend to be pretty masculine in cut and look, although they should be fitted to the torso. They usually have little lace collars, and full sleeves to a tight band of lace at the wrists. Shoulders are sloped. Necklines are high and round or v-shaped (with or without a turn-down collar), or mock turtle style, all with lace at the edge. Blouses can have some shirtfront detailing or lace, but NOT a tuxedo ruffle.

THRIFTERS: Avoid sleeves that puff out from the shoulder, are ruffled at the shoulder, and anything that turns the silhouette square (unless, of coarse this will be covered over by the rest of the outfit). Look in the white blouse section of thrift stores, you should find something. Remember you can go very masculine and wear a little necktie or lady’s cravat.

5. Jacket

You have many different style choices but only three are likely to turn up when thrifting. All the following jacket’s sleeves are full bell-shaped, although some have the fullest part at the elbow and taper in at the wrist.

  A. Bolero: If your blouse is fitted, or you have a vest, you can wear a bolero style jacket. These usually end just below the breast, have one clasp or are held closed with a broach, and taper back with a curved line.

 Jacket made from a shirt I reversed, slit up the front, pealed back and sewed ruffle on edge.

B. Regular: A tight single-breasted jacket, with or without a collar, fitted to the waist in a peak then flaring out as basques, slight tails, or a deep pointed front.

C. Blazer: Usually only worn by very poor women, they resemble modern men’s suit jackets, are usually velvet and darted to fit tight at the waist.

THRIFTERS: Look for close fitting, single-breasted jackets with NO SHOULDER PADS and wide sleeves, velvet blazers, bathrobes of good material, and the top half of dresses that can be cut off.

6. Skirt

The easiest part to find and to make from scratch, skirts are very full, gored, and run from pleats to ruffles to roushes to swags to ribbons. They changed in general silhouette over the years, from full crinoline to bustle to natural form, but always had a lot of fabric.

1860, 1870, and 1879

THRIFTERS: Look for a full skirt that has a waistband (rather than elastic) and can fit over several underskirts or a crinoline. It doesn’t have to be floor length, you can always add ruffles to the bottom. Wedding dresses can often be cut apart and ribbon added. Check the LINEN SECTION as skirts can be made from curtains or sheets. Dust-ruffles for beds make great readymade ruffles.

7. Shoes

A. Ankle Boots: Should hit just below, just above, or several inches above the ankle and lace up the front or (better!) up the side, with a flat sole or low hourglass heal. Boots can be made of leather or canvas in any color with a natural toe shape. The difficulty is in finding them without zippers. Consider substituting ribbon for laces.

B. Dancing Slippers: Ballet flats with a round toe made of satin or leather in any color that can ribbon tie up the ankle (but don’t have to).

UNDERPINNINGS

8. Chemise (optional)

A fitted undershirt worn beneath the corset, with a low square or scooped neckline and capped sleeves, made of a very light material. You do not need one unless you have a corset.

9. Corset

They are nice because they make your posture Victorian and your clothing hang correctly. Either invest in a cheap stretchy one (under $50) or buy the real thing ($150 – 500), don’t go halfway, nothing in the world is worse than an ill-fitting corset.

7 Tips on How to Buy a Corset That Fits from Gail Carriger 

10. Petticoat

Originally a petticoat was a kind of chemise with a skirt attached to the bottom that falls to just below the knee. You do not need one unless you have a corset or a scratchy underskirt.

11. Underskirts

Often wrongly called petticoats, real Victorian underskirts are worn over the crinoline (to disguise the hoops) or (by the lower-classes) instead of a crinoline, often they were stiffened to ensure the overskirt flowed properly. The “substitute crinoline” was usually made of compressed, starched horsehair, very stiff and VERY scratchy, with a pretty fabric ruffle at the bottom. You can cheat by using modern “petticoats,” the kind made to go under wedding dresses (but you’ll probably want to add a cotton or lace ruffle to the nylon in case it is seen). The Victorians were fond of outrageous underpinnings. Demurely clad young ladies often wore bright red underskirts, teal bloomers, and so forth.

THRIFTERS: Look for petticoats made for wedding dresses and/or stiff taffeta skirts. You can always wear more than one.

11. Crinoline (optional)

Known by us laymen as “the hoopskirt,” you probably won’t find a crinoline thrifting, though they do turn up with wedding dresses occasionally. You can buy the cheep nylon kind for $30 from a dance supply store, or sometimes secondhand for less from a costume shop. Think carefully about whether you want to spend the money, crinolines can be very annoying to store and clean.

12. Under Drawers

Under drawers are not optional. You have two choices, both VERY easy to make. Both styles can be made from plain wide-legged, baggy women’s slacks in cotton, silk, or satin fabrics. In Victorian times both styles were split at the crotch, so you didn’t have to unlace your corset to use the loo. You don’t have to go that far unless you wear a corset. I just wear mine elastic at the hip, below my corset.

A. Bloomers: Baggy breaches, which end just below the knee in a wide, fat, lacy ruffle. (Originally called ‘pantaloons’ the actual bloomer was designed as outerwear – too shocking!)

Pair I made from some black thin pants, added lack to bottom, thin elastic waist

B. Pantalettes: Traditionally worn by young girls in the nursery, pantalettes briefly made an appearance as an adult garment in 1853 and were considered quite scandalous as they could be (gasp!) SEEN when a lady lifted her skirts. They are longer than bloomers and taper slightly, to end at the ankle, again with lots of lace at the bottom.

THRIFTERS: Look in women’s pants section for wide, white, drawstring slacks.

13. Stockings

White, knee-high or over-the-knee socks in a natural looking fabric. Target has them.

ACCESSORIES (the fun part)

14. Gloves

Short, white (usually kid) gloves were a vital part of any lady’s wardrobe, but you can use a color that matches your outfit. Your options also include: lace and net, fingered, finger-less, and gauntlet styles.

15. Parasol

My favorite, the parasol has a glorious history, it was one of the most significant gifts a man could give his intended. The shades were smaller than those you can find today, almost doll like, coming in a variety of sizes with very long handles turning them, by 1880 into a kind of walking stick. By about that same time a lady of quality had a parasol to match every daytime outfit.

Swiss Waist

16. Belt

More like waist cinchers, lady’s belts are wide and stiffened with boning usually made of a dark, contrasting color or matched to the fabric of the dress. They are either peaked at bottom front (and sometimes also top – called a Swiss Waist) and fastened behind, or sash-like and tied in a wide trailing bow down the back of the skirt.

17. Reticule

The Victorian purse, this item matches the dress and comes in a wide variety of shapes and styles. A simple reticule is very easy to make from extra material and trim.

18. Basket

A good alternative to the reticule, Victorian baskets are carried by lower and middle-class women. They are usually made in a closer weave and smaller size than Ren Faire baskets. They can be lined in fabric and decorated with lace and ribbon.

19. Jewelry

Victorians love jewelry and a lady of any class always wears some, even if it is all she has. Such jewelry includes: hatpins, hairpins and clasps, earrings (yes, pierced), broaches, scarf clasps, necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

THRIFTERS: Look for subtle, delicate costume jewelry including or combining: pearls, crosses, cameos, lockets, old-fashion paste gems, filigree (metal fashioned to look like lace), set in or made from silver, gold, or both. 

20. Decoration

Think in terms of excess where decoration is concerned. Load your outfit down with ruffles, ribbons, lace, tassels, fringe, beads, embroidery, fake flowers, and feathers. Once you have a color scheme I advise buying at least 10 yards of one nice ribbon to use to decorate and tie the entire outfit together.

TIP: Expect to spend good money on trim (unless you have a stock or hit a really good church bizarre). It is worth it because it makes all the difference.

Don’t be afraid of WHITE.

How to Remove Odors From Hand-Me-Down Clothes

SHORTLIST

Women, when you walk into a thrift store you should zero-in on these sections:

  • Hats
  • Shawls
  • Women’s White Blouses
  • Women’s Vests
  • Women’s Jackets = bolero, blazer
  • Women’s Skirts = long, full
  • Dresses = use top part as a jacket, or the bottom part as a skirt
  • Bathrobes = jacket
  • Wedding Dresses = underskirts or skirts
  • Women’s Shoes
  • Women’s Pants = wide leg slacks for bloomers
  • Linen’s Section = bed ruffles and curtains

Part Two: Victorian Dress Thrifting for Men

Most Likely American, c. 1860s. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

1. Hat

This is the most expensive item. Top-hats were the most common, which can be short (daytime, races, driving, visiting clubs) or tall (evening, formal events, weddings, funerals), and any color (black and gray are most common). Alternatives include bowlers and trilbies (newsboy cap). Men wore hats, always, period, end of story. Hats rarely turn up in thrift stores, except trilbies. Top-hats are cheapest online, expect to spend around $75.

Most Likely American, c. 1860s. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

2. Cravat

A cravat is a length of colorful lightweight fabric tied around the neck (often silk or satin). Usually no pattern. Modern ties do NOT work. The longer a cravat, the more elaborate the knot. No velvet and no wool. (Upper-class evening dress required at least 3 yards of white Egyptian cotton, called “lawn.”) A black ribbon might be tied over a cravat for formal occasions.

TIP: A cravat should be AT LEAST as long as your arm and as wide as your splayed hand.

THRIFTERS: Look for colorful women’s scarves, sashes, and fabric from which a long strip can be cut.

3. Shirt

The Victorian mens shirt is basically a plain, white men’s dress shirt (no stripes, no ruffles) with full sleeves and no turned collar (though this isn’t vital). (Upper-class collars were squared and stuck straight up, a stiff independent piece was inserted under the cravat.)

THRIFTERS: If you can’t find this part of your costume, you’re hopeless. Just tinker with the collar a bit.

Most Likely American, c. 1860s. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution.

4. Waistcoat

The modern men’s vest with the peaked bottom front, deep v-neck, and synthetic tied back is not Victorian. A waistcoat should end about two inches below the natural waist-line and be squared off at the bottom (easy to hem from pointed or too long). The v-neck ended at the sternum, though it can go higher and/or fold over in a curve (the shawl collar). Waistcoats should be made completely (front and back) from the same fabric and be colored and/or patterned: think red, yellow, green. They can be double or single-breasted, single is more flattering to most men.

(Purely syntax: around the middle of the Victorian era vest came to mean single breasted, while waistcoat meant double breasted.)

THRIFTERS: Look in WOMEN’S VESTS for waistcoats with the same fabric all the way around, and no pockets (or one small one near the waist). Although for steampunk you can always embellish the pocket. You can also think in terms of sleeve removal. If you can find a thin jacket or robe from which the sleeves can be taken? Those brocade cropped monstrosities from the 80s can have a whole new life.

Most Likely American, c. 1860s. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

5. Jacket

The jacket is one of the hardest things to find: should have tails and be fitted through the torso. It can be single or double-breasted. Tails that fit properly end at the back of the knee. 3 options:

Still from the BBC Mini Series, Cranford

A. Tuxedo-tails (evening dress):

Modern styles work fine, but make sure to AVOID the satin stripe along the seam (AKA the tuxedo stripe) and anything too pointed.

Still from BBC miniseries Cranford

B. Swallow-tails (or morning coat):

Not cut-away square like tuxedo-tails, but forms tails by graduating down from front to back. (Man in the photo of the couple at the beginning is wearing a swallow tail.)

Still from Cranford

C. Frock-coat (or skirted jacket):

Basically tails without any cut away or graduation at all, they fit to the waist and then flair out. This style looks the most period and is the hardest to find. Unless you convert a woman’s coat.

THRIFTERS: Look for long coats or jackets that can be cut down. Women’s coats work great but often don’t fit through arms and shoulders. Expect to spend $75 on a quality pair of tails.

Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution.

6. Trousers

Plaid, striped, checked, formal, and tweed all work. Trousers must fit all the way from natural waist to top of foot with a slightly tapered leg. No Belts.

THRIFTERS: You should have good luck if you look in WOMEN’S SLACKS (watch out for too-light weight fabrics).

7. Socks

Modern dress socks that match the shoes are fine.

8. Shoes

Nice men’s dress shoes in black or brown will work OK, spectator and wingtips came in during the later half of the Victorian era but were considered very, very daring.

THRIFTERS: Look for men’s dancing or formal shoes, very plain.

9. Accessories

A. Scarf: Long, straight wool or silk scarves (the same length as cravats) with a small fringe were worn draped around the neck. (Silk ones are called opera scarves.)

B. Cravat Pin: A small, jeweled pin fastens your cravat (just below or inside the knot) to your shirt. Usually the same kind of design as a woman’s hatpin, such as a single pearl, or an emerald set in gold – only shorter in the stick part.

C. Pocket Watch

D. Pipe

E. Suspenders: Since most did not wear a belt, almost all Victorian men wear suspenders to keep their trousers up. But as suspenders reside under the vest no one knows if they are there but you.

F. Spats or Gaiters (knee-high spats):

Spats and gaiters can be found on line or at your local military surplus stores. Gaiters (the long version of spats) are difficult to find in tend to indicate country “Squire.”

G. Gloves: Should be white or gray, kid leather (practically impossible to find) or cotton.

H. Buttons: All plastic buttons should be replaced with metal or cloth-covered ones.

Most Likely American, c. 1860s. Image from my personal collection, please re-post with attribution. ©GAILCARRIEGRLLC

10. Overcoat (optional)

Three options, all made from either wool or canvas.

A. Trench Coat: A double-breasted coat that falls at least to mid-calf.

B. Duster: A floor-length, single-breasted coat fitted through the waist (think matrix).

C. Great Coat: Cut like either of the above but with one, two, or three capes attached over the shoulders.

SHORTLIST

Men (or Madame Lefoux), when you walk into a thrift store you should zero-in on these sections

  • Women’s Scarves = cravat or scarf
  • Men’s Shirts = white dress shirt
  • Women’s Vests = waistcoat
  • Women’s Coats = jacket to make into tails
  • Men’s Jackets = tails
  • Women’s Slacks = trousers
  • Men’s Shoes = dress shoes
Meme via FB

Congratz for wading through such a massive post!

Feel free to comment with your own tips and tricks! Also this post is a bit old so some of this may be out of date.

Yours (currently getting RID of costuming),

Miss Gail

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  • Coop de Book for October 2019 is Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern (comic). I bit spendy but it will make a GREAT Christmas gift. 

OUT NOW!

Reticence: The forth and final Custard Protocol Book!

Reticence

USA & Canada: Amazon print & digital & audiobook | Kobo | B & N | Apple | Audible | Other

UK digitalprint | Kobo | Apple UK coming soon I hope

Amazon Overseas DE | FR | AU

Kobo Overseas DE | FR | AU

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1862 Ladies' Companion August Parasol blue Teal Cloak Victorian

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Rococo Red Gail Carriger Office

In my red & cream rococo outfit, also thrifted combo of two robes, 2 prom dresses, 2lace skirts, and a lot of trim.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Inside a Victorian Bathing Machine

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Do Writers Know Too Much To Enjoy Reading?

Book News:

It’s not an interview but you can listen to a fellow fan wax poetical on your truly on the Underrated Podcast: It’s pronounced Grrrrr

Quote of the Day:

“The only way to atone for being occasionally a little over-dressed is by being always absolutely over-educated.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Your Moment of Gail

 

“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Victorian Silhouette & Fashion Explained for Readers, Fellow Authors, & Dilettantes from Gail Carriger (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

My dear Gentle Reader,

I am so very immersed in the Victorian Era it often doesn’t occur to me to actually explain fashion (or fashion terms). So here is is the massive explanation of pretty things I talk about in the Parasolverse, that you might not know…

Ivy and her hat, REM’s character sketch

“The English attach too much importance to ceremonies merely conventional, and for which there seems no motive but the ever-changing decrees of fashion.”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

 All 3 At A Glance

  • Sophronia & The Finishing School: Early 1850s
  • Alexia & The Parasol Protectorate: Mid 1870s
  • Prudence & The Custard Protocol: Mid 1890s

1854  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1877  The Museum at FIT; Evening Ensemble  Hellstern & Sons, 1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Why these 3 time periods?

Before we start, confession time. One of the reasons I chose the 1870s for my original series (starting with Soulless) is how ridiculous the fashions were during that time period, very bustled and frilly. Of course history also had a say in why I chose the 1870s as well, I’m a fan of Queen Victoria’s Little Wars.

Then it seemed quite natural to chose c. 20 years before and c. 20 years after, for the next two series. Of course, this is primarily for various character age reasons, but also because of the change in silhouette. And, fortunately for me (as a humor writer) all three time periods are fashionably ridiculous in their unique way: and each very different from one another, as I hope you will see.

The Finishing School Series

1851 – 1853

1851 Wedding Dress, American Met Museum

 

Main points of entry?

Sloping shoulders, low necklines, nipped in waists, increasingly wide bell skirts, full wide sleeves. Younger ladies in pale colors.

Preshea & Monique in an 1850s fashion plate

 

What makes it silly?

Very wide a full skirts requiring lots of petticoats (as the cage crinoline had not yet been introduced).

1854  Ball Gown The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1855-1865  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

* 1854 saw the arrival of the cage crinoline in England. This is a skirt (or series of tape ribbons) with concentric circles of wire in it to make if poof. I doesn’t appear in the Finishing School books because the last book takes place before it was introduced. 


Why for this series?

Good for espionage: the full skirts and wide pagoda sleeves hampered movement, but also are great for hiding things. Pockets could be put in and hidden everywhere. Fashion is rife with useful plot moments and vehicles for humor.

1855  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

 

Authorial drawback?

Hats were mostly confined to bonnets, not my personal favorite. Although hair could be quite ridiculous.

Bonnet 1854 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What were the men wearing?

Some carry over from the Regency Era, especially for formal occasions. Trousers relatively tight but knee britches had been abandoned except for boys and the countryside. Jacket styles began to include a wider range of cuts.

Coat ca. 1845-1853 The Victoria & Albert Museum; 1851_Parisian; Wedding Waistcoat 1854  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

What to watch for inspiration?

 

What happened next?

Things got, if possible, even more ridiculous. Skirts just got wider and wider with the cage crinoline in play. I include these kinds of dresses in the Delightfully Deadly series of novellas.

Wedding Dress  1864  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Cage Crinoline  1862  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Want to learn more about the ever expanding hoop?

The Parasol Protectorate Series

1873 – 1876

 

Main points of entry?

Many layers, lots of trim, many kinds of hats, full bustles, long sleeves, restricted movement, range of necklines and sleeve styles.

Morning Dress  1875  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What makes it silly?

Big back bustles (although not so big as the 1880s revival bustles), way too much trim and ribbons and bows and whatnot. Extremely bizarre hats. New experimentation in chemical components and mass production yields up new color ranges and pallets. Increased access to new and amazing fabrics from India and China. New Rich attempting to break into the aristocracy increases nuanced destination in assessments based on appearance.

Bustle 1873, Austrian, Made of cotton and horsehair

Summer Corset  1872  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Why for this series?

The hats! The fabrics. The yardage. The restrictions. All represent a level of confinement and superficiality that Alexia, whether she realizes it or not, chafes against.

1872-1875  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1870-1875 Wedding Bonnet   The Victoria & Albert Museum

The authorial drawback?

Too much fabric, way too hard to move. Challenging for cover art.

 1872 Ball Gown  Charles Fredrick Worth

 

What were the men wearing?

Relatively somber colors in suits, flashy waistcoats and vests, some experimentation with fabrics and patterns, mostly matched suits.

 1873_May_Gof; 1873-1875  The Victoria & Albert Museum; 1875-1880  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

 

What to watch for inspiration?


What Happened Next?

Skirts started to come in closer and closer to the body, the lobster tale became fashionable, fabrics became (if you can imagine) even more elaborate. The Natural Form movement began (my absolute favorite. Romancing the Inventor is set during this time period.

 1870s  Kerry Taylor Auctions; “Lobster Tail” Bustle  1870s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1879-1880; 1879  both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Custard Protocol Series

1895 – 1896

 

Main points of entry?

Experimenting in asymmetry, puffy sleeves, wide range of outfit choices, more freedom of movement, complementary fabrics, the biggest most outrageous hats ever (Queen Ivy’s influence). New Woman movement influences sportswear and major dress reform due, in part, to the ubiquitous bicycle and the suffragist movement. Military influence as well.

Fashion houses really begin appear including brand loyalty, scions of fashion became brand ambassadors for a house to which they were loyal (actresses, singers, noted beauties). (Prudence lives in Worth.) Iconic dresses given names as if they were art pieces.

 1890s Wedding Dress  1890s  The Indianapolis Museum of Art; Wedding Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, 1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

What makes it silly?

Those truly bizarre sleeves, those enormous over-decorated hats equal a very top heavy look.

 1895  Kerry Taylor Auctions; 1890 Sleeve Supports  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Summer Corset  1895  The Victoria & Albert Museum

 

Why for this series?

The hats! The sleeves, the ridiculousness continues. Sportswear can make a character statement easily and up front. I have two human characters who gravitate to the practicality of sportswear (it’s less practical for shape shifters who gravitate to tea gowns and robes). Both of them are scientists Faith in How to Marry a Werewolf who is a big hiker and geologist and Arsenic who is a doctor and has masqueraded as a man in the past, in Reticence.

1894  The Goldstein Museum of Design

 

The authorial drawback?

I really think this period is pretty ugly. It’s hard to write characters swooning over dresses I think are hideous.

 

What were the men wearing?

Relatively somber suits not too dissimilar from today, frankly fashion hasn’t changed too much for men since then. Fancy occasions called for vests (single breasted) or waistcoats (double breasted) and the occasional cravat (now often referred to as an ascot). Sportswear continued to be more and more specialized and earn new names (tweeds, for example, meant hunting attire, punting meant a stripped boatsman look good for picnics or any boating activity, etc…)

 1895 Evening Vest  1885-1895; Ascot  1890s both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Suit ca. 1894 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
1890s man via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Virgil, perhaps?

 

What to watch for inspiration?

Puffed Sleeves Muthafucka Anne Green Gables Gail Carriger

via Robbie Rozelle [email protected] on Twitter

What happened next?

If you can imagine, dresses became even more elaborate eventually bleeding into the massive hats and complex outfits of the turn of the century.

Ball Gown  Jacques Doucet, 1898-1902  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“If you chance to find an authoress occupied with her needle, express no astonishment, and refrain from exclaiming, “What! can you sew?” or, “I never supposed a literary lady could even hem a handkerchief!”

~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (1864)

Yours in corsets,

Miss Gail

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  • Coop de Book for September 2019 is Still Waters by Alex Gabriel.

OUT NOW!

Reticence: The forth and final Custard Protocol Book!

Reticence

USA & Canada: Amazon print & digital & audiobook | Kobo | B & N | Apple | Audible | Other

UK digitalprint | Kobo UK | Apple UK coming soon I hope

Amazon Overseas DE | FR | AU 

Kobo Overseas DE | FR | AU

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

August 1862 featuring parasol 

1874 Fashion plate with parasol

1894 Seaside fashion plate shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr featuring a parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Hair Bracelet probably worked in Ireland about 1840

Hair Bracelet probably worked in Ireland about 1840

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

You could be putting your child off reading – here’s how to change that

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A Resource Guide to Writing Basics

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Why Dress Characters in Victorian Sportswear? (Claw & Courtship Custard Protocol Special Extra)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I love me some Victorian sportswear, Gentle Reader.

In How To Marry A Werewolf, Faith the main character (an upstart American girl) is a proponent of the great freedom and joy in the bicycle suit.

In Reticence, new character Arsenic wears all manner of sportswear from a golfing costume to a bicycling suit as well. Because she’s a doctor, she also doesn’t bother with hat (falls off, gets in the way) or gloves (how you supposed to stitch up a would with gloves on). And she usually has some kind of pinafore or apron over the top of everything.

Fashionable Reader, these articles of clothing were considered quite the SCANDAL at the time!

Possibly, just possibly, there is a bit of rebellion in this choice, but I can imagine no matter what both ladies love the freedom of movement granted by such attire.

via @VictorianWeb Twitter Punch 1895, The Bicycle Suit—very dashing

1895 The Bicycling Suit

Cycling ensemble, 1895, USA via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr
Cycling shoe, 1895-1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

I have a bit of a passion for vintage bicycle riding gear.*

And this before I learned that there is some significant connection between the advent of bike riding and women’s liberation.

At first women’s bike riding attire is not so different from other exercise attire of the late 1870s early 1880s. Which is to say, to the modern eye, not very exercise orientated at all.

via FB

But if you look closely you can begin to see the concept of freedom of movement (fewer undergarments, easier to get in and out of), and the importance of exercise (shunned in the early Victorian era as countrified and sporty) slowly embraced.

“Let the skirts be as short as possible – to clear the ankles. Nothing else is permissible for mountain work, where one must face bogs, deep heather, thorny gorse, and must not stumble into the hem of one’s garments on the face of a rocky precipice. I must, however, draw the line at the modern feminine costume for mountaineering and deerstalking, where the skirt is a mere polite apology – an inch or two below the knee, and the result hardly consistent with a high ideal of womanhood.”

~ Lillias Campbell Davidson, 1889 travel guide

And the style of bicycle attire combines this notion with that of equestrian and riding wear.

http://www.tumblr.com/liked/by/funsanity/page/6
http://www.tumblr.com/liked/by/funsanity/page/6

Then, finally, with the advent of access to higher education, rise of the middle class, the suffragette movement and the right to vote, better understanding and use of heath care particularly with regards to procreation, everything changes and, most germane to this blog… women wear trousers.

“1900 Doll” from the Gratitude Train  Calixte  1949  MET

George R. Sims on Cycling in London in the 1890’s.

1894 cycling_suit-1894-harpers-bazaar

Staring in the 1890s it becomes mostly acceptable for women to wear voluminous (but still actual) trousers to bike ride.

By 1895 we see large scale advertisements, and some lampooning in the popular press, but generally it’s clear that only the most elderly sticklers objected to the style.

1895 Cycling Ensemble  1895-1900 British Manchester City Galleries

And this wasn’t just in England, either. America, and indeed much of Europe, embraced the look.

1895 Mlle Babion et son professeur, Luchon, laiterie, 5 septembre 1895 par Eugène Trutat .      Via Rosalis tumblr

A great deal of the inspiration for this attire has its source in men’s hunting garments.

Bike wear for ladies involved heavy material: lots of country Harris tweeds, the early onset of houndstooth, all very much Too the Manor Borne. (This becomes quite a problem for Arsenic in Reticence.)

1895 Bifurcated-riding-ensemble-1895

If you want to read a fun comic novel set in the 1900’s featuring a New Woman and her fiscal and literal liberation via the bicycle, you can do no better than Miss Cayley’s Adventures by Grant Allen.

It’s free to download in ebook form.

1900bikes2

And what happened after the turn of the century?

1920s
via sydneyflapper-tumblr
1930s Riding Habit 1stdibs.com
1940s Claire McCardell bicycle outfit

Yours riding regularly,

Miss Gail

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Spot the Outfit in the Book? Clothing Featured in How to Marry a Werewolf: 1890s Hats, Dresses, and Men in Uniform (Claw & Courtship Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Want to play a rousing game of spot that outfit in How to Marry a Werewolf, Fashionable Reader?

I feature a number of fashionable items from the historical record in this one. It was fun for me to research and to write.

On Faith…

Walking suit, American, circa 1890-95. Wool, silk taffeta.
Mint Museum
1890 ca. Boater Hat English Straw, silk, by Lincoln Bennett and Company’s Hats.
museumofcostume.co.uk
Raudnitz & Co. evening dress, 1897
From the Musee Galliera
Punch 1895 – History of the bicycle
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rouff ca. 1897 | French

Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I love this last one because it so perfectly goes with How to Marry a Werewolf‘s cover art.

On Teddy…

Walking dress L’Art et la Mode 1894 N°47 Marie de Solar
1895 Ballgown by House of Worth Paris,
the Bruce Museum

On Channing (in the flashbacks)…

Player’s Cigarettes “Regimental Uniforms, Second Series” (issued in 1914) #52

Coldstream Guards ~ Light Infantry Company, 1793

Peninsula 1812 1_The Honourable W Dawson 1st Foot Guards 2_Daniel Mackinnon,

Coldstream Guards 3_The Honourable Orlando Bridgeman 1st Foot Guards

This post originally appeared in Retro Rack.

Yours in vintage sportswear,

Miss Gail

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Boater Hats of the 1890s – Fashionable Research Behind How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw & Courtship Special Extra)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I love a boater hat (also called spinners), Fashionable Reader.

One of the joys of writing in the 1890s (my Custard Protocol and Claw & Courtship series) is the fact that I can finally start to include this fashion item!

Obviously this started as a gentleman’s hat.

Source

With the advent of women on bicycles, among other things, this hat grew in popularity for the ladies.

1890s women’s boater, taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

Because it started out as an item ubiquitous to younger men river boating (pole boats) it became particularly associated with sporting activities from beach side strolls to hiking and biking.

Taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

This in turn gave it the aura of vacation and countryside, which means also casual and daytime.

Taken by Gail Carriger at the Degas Exhibit, 2017, do not remove attribution

Linen walking suit, 1895, Jacques Doucet, French. 

“This suit might well have been worn for a tour abroad. Linen was favored for hot-weather travel because it was washable & comparatively lightweight. At this time, women’s tailored suits were very popular, borrowing such details from men’s dress as wide lapels & exterior pockets. This practicality suited the more emancipated lifestyles women were beginning to lead.” From OMG That Dress

Eventually, rather like pantalettes, the boater became the provenance of school children.

Check out the importance of Faith’s boater for her, Biffy and all of Victorian his society, in How to Marry a Werewolf.

Self matching the cover of How to Marry

This post first appeared in Retro Rack.

Yours in a boater,

Miss Gail

Sporting a boater hat

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Dressing Percy & Quesnel for the Custard Protocol Books ~ Victorian Fashion for Men 1890s (Special Extra)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

With Reticence coming out soon, and it being Percy’s book, I thought I might do a bit on men’s fashion for a change, Fashionable Reader.

Here’s a quote from Reticence on the subject of Percy’s appearance…

“The others looked interested, surprised, and resigned according to their natures. Except Percy, who looked like none of those things, but just like Percy.”

I know the power of my prose (dum dum dum) in the Custard Protocol books ought to cast into your mind exactly the image of what men looked like in the 1890s, but frankly pictures are better.

The eagle eyes and costume-minded among you will have already noticed that Percy is NOT dressed appropriately to the 1890s in either of his covers…

Yes that’s regency wear he has on, around 1840s NOT 1890s. (Actually when I asked you to judge the covers I was expecting a bit more outrage on this matter). Suffice it to say, there is a VERY GOOD reason for his cover outfit. But no, what’s on the cover is absolutely NOT what a Victorian gentleman would ordinarily wear in the mid 1890s.

So shall we talk about what Percy should be wearing?

Here is a sample of 1890s clothing for gentlemen of the kind the Percy & Quesnel are oft described as wearing throughout the series.

Fashion plate, 1880s-90s via shewhosorshipscarlin tumblr

Hats have begun to get smaller and more refined than the earlier parts of the Victorian era.

The cravat is tied more simply, leans towards muted colors, and is beginning to look more like a tie. In fact we start to see the word “tie” being used for this piece of clothing, or something similar but cut of a thicker fabric and shaped more precisely and thinly around the neck. Also the bow tie becomes the rage for evening.

Higher collars, narrow lapels, and vests (singled breasted) instead of waistcoats (double breasted) are more fashion forward. Trousers are draped and tapered but not tight. Shoes have become more uniformly black, shiny and laced. Rarely boots outside of the countryside and sporting events.

“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'”

“The mood will pass, sir.”

― P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters

J.W. Losse Tailoring, 1897 via dandyads-tumblr

Adjusted for inflation, one of these spring overcoats would run you $400-720 today.

This advert is an example of something it’s important to know about the late Victorian era, that professional garb is becoming ever more important, i.e the idea that you wear a specific kind of clothing for your specific job (as opposed to your station in society, although the two are linked). This is a concept in fashion that often collates historically to a rise in the middle class.

This next image is a little more modern but I imagine, given the prevalence of dirigibles in the Parasolverse, that something like this driving outfit would have been around earlier in the Parasolverse as a gentleman’s floating outfit. I can see Madame Lefoux rocking it.

1906-1908 Driving Coat The Victoria & Albert Museum

Is Your Victorian Gentleman Sponge Worthy? Contraception in the Years 1826-1891

‘Jeeves,’ I said coldly. ‘How many suits of evening clothes have we?’
‘We have three suits full of evening dress, sir; two dinner jackets—’
‘Three.’
‘For practical purposes two only, sir. If you remember, we cannot wear the third. We have also seven white waistcoats.’
‘And shirts?’
‘Four dozen, sir.’
‘And white ties?’
‘The first two shallow shelves in the chest of drawers are completely filled with our white ties, sir.’

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

So why is Percy on the cover of Reticence in REGENCY garb?

“…the jacket was of the kind one’s grandfather wore in the 1820s. It was blue with puffy shoulders and large collar, and cropped in such a manner as to exaggerate certain frontal sectors of a chap’s anatomy, sectors Percy was tolerably certain a respectable gentleman ought to be exaggerating. Which was to say, he had received compliments in the past, but only from ladies who were monetarily encouraged to be positive on the subject.”

~ Reticence

You have to read the book to find out why…

Note that in this one Percy’s trousers are awful tight? THere’s a reason for THAT too.

Heh heh.

Yours in designer men’s wear,

Miss Gail

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Dressing Primrose From the Corset Up: For Balls, Sports, and the Bedroom by Gail Carriger (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Fashionable Reader, I have concocted a pictorial guide to possible outfits that a young lady of Prim’s rank might wear during this time period.

The images run with what she would need to put on, in order. Ready? Here we go…

On the bottom half:

1. 1890  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
2. 1890s Stockings The Metropolitan Museum of Art
3. 1899 Garters  1899  The Chicago History Museum
4. 1895-1905 Oxfords   The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Note that shoes have to go on early? Well before the corset and also the rest of the dress for bending and hemming reasons.

Combination  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Ar

Combinations are a hard one for me, as an author.

Because they were ubiquitous undergarments at the time of the Custard Protocol books. They were the most common form of underwear.

However, the name and the concept is entirely lost to the modern mind set. Most of my readers would have no basis for comparison should I drop the word “combination” into, for example, a shape change or a nookie scene. I must, therefore, use the word in correct context so as to make it clear that is what the character is wearing. Or have it described to a foreign character. And yet, it’s not something that would be described. Sigh. Challenging.

On the upper half:

Bust Improvers  1890s  Whitaker Auction

Prim wouldn’t need these, but I include them because I think its fun that they exist at all!

5. Camisol  1895-1905  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
6. 1893  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
7. Sleeve Supports  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And over the top:

8. 1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
9. 1894 Evening Dress  Charles Fredrick Worth, 1894  The Kyoto Costume Institute
10. 1890s  The Goldstein Museum of Design
11. 1895-1905  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
12. Muff and Hat  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Alternatively, here’s a look at more sporty options…

Stockings  1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Combinations undergarment, England, 1875 – 1900
Corset 1890s Summer Corset   The Victoria & Albert Museu
Corset Cover  1895-1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

And sportswear on the outside:

Shirtwaist 1894 The Museum at FIT _ OMG that dress!
1890s Under The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Travel Suit  Jacques Doucet, 1895  The Victoria & Albert Museum

You don’t have to take the pictures as proof. Here’s some research to back it up…

Gwen Raverat at the end of the century describes the modest dress of a respectable female.

“Women were incredibly modest . . .  even with each other. You could see a friend in her petticoat, but nothing below that was considered decent. At school, the sidht of a person in her white frilly drawers caused shrieks of outraged virtue; and I should have thought it impossible to be seen downstairs in my dressing-gown.”

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)

americangothgirl-tumblr Catalog Photographs, Front and Back Views of Woman In Corset, c. 1880s. Albumen Prints

“This is what a young lady wore, with whom I shared a room one night…

  1. Thick, long-legged woolen combinations.
  2. Over them, white cotton combinations, with plenty of buttons and frills.
  3. Very serious, bony, grey stays, with suspenders.
  4. Black woolen stockings.
  5. White cotton drawers, with buttons and frills.
  6. White cotton ‘petticoat-bodice’, with embroidery, buttons and frills.
  7. Rather short, white flannel, petticoat.
  8. Long alpaca petticoat, with a flounce round the bottom.
  9. Pink flannel blouse.
  10. High, starched, white collar, fastened on with studs.
  11. Navy blue tie.
  12. Blue skirt, touching the ground, and fastened tightly to the blouse with a safety-pin behind.
  13. Leather belt, very tight.
  14. High button boots.”

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 269)

Undergarments ca. 1900-03  From the FIDM Museum

 1898 Walking Suit, House of Worth, French, Made of silk and lace

For the Boudoir!

How about an alternate more sexy arrangement of underthings layer…

Here’s the first layer:

Brassiere  1910s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy
Drawers  1900s  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Garter  1875-1825  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Stocking  1860  Les Arts Décoratifs

Over that would go the next layer of these items:

Corset  1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy
Corset Cover  1910s  Antique Dress
Chemisette, Undersleeves, and Handkerchief  1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art copy

Over all of this she might wear this:

Negligee, 1908  From the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
Dressing Gown  1897-1900  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Watch 100 Years of Lingerie in 3 Minutes

OK I know that’s a lot of research but you know how I feel about clothing!

This post originally appeared in two parts over on Retro Rack.

Yours in fluffy dresses,

Miss Gail

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Beautiful Dresses for Rue & Prim in the Custard Protocol Books, from Harper’s Bazaar 1891 (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I have this lovely Harper’s Bazaar from 1891, Fashionable Reader, given to me by a lovely fan.

I finally got around to scanning some of the images. Here are a few for you, the kind of things Rue & Prim might wear in the Custard Protocol series.

“We are told that several ladies have actually appeared in public without gloves; no gloves! Do not these two words imply a verdict of vulgarity?”

~ 1873 Fashion Papers

This post originally appeared in Retro Rack.

1894 Huge Mustache

‘Bring my shaving things.’
A gleam of hope shone in the man’s eye, mixed with doubt.
‘You mean, sir?’
‘And shave off my moustache.’
There was a moment’s silence. I could see the fellow was deeply moved.
‘Thank you very much indeed, sir,’ he said, in a low voice.

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Yours in fashion forward military inspired dresses,

Miss Gail

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Journal des Demoiselles Date July, 1873

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“[N]ever do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

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“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


The REAL Reason the Custard Protocol is Set in the 1890s (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

The sleeves, Fashionable Reader. So ridiculous, how could I resist?

via  Robbie Rozelle @divarobbie  We are at puffed sleeves! #AnneofGreenGables

“Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”

~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

edwardian-time-machine tumblr sleeve supports
fripperiesandfobs-tumblr Jacket ca. 1894 From Thierry de Maigret
andwomenworebloomers tumblr

And the steampunk elements are pretty cool too.

arsenicinshell tumblr

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

Doesn’t this lady look like she went to Finishing School?

1894. Is that a  weapon in her hair? 

Yours in velvet,

Miss Gail

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The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

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Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.

Sia (@raenbowgirl) on Twiiter said: 

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Spring Morning by James Tissot c. 1875 (@metmuseum)

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“The bottle rules the sensual world, but the tea-cup is queen in all the fair dominions.”

~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (c.1895)

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~ Madeleine L’Engle

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“Someone was trying to kill Lady Alexia Maccon. It was most inconvenient, as she was in a dreadful hurry. Given her previous familiarity with near-death experiences and their comparative frequency with regards to her good self, Alexia should probably have allowed extra time for such a predictable happenstance.”

~ Gail Carriger

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