Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And the wearing of everything else

How lucky we are to write and read about this era.

As Colette pointed out so eloquently yesterday, we have tight pants for the gentlemen, and very nice too.

While we tend to think of our heroines draped in light muslins, there were lots of wonderful, gorgeous fabrics around with exotic names--linsley, sarcenet, nettlecloth--and all sorts of weights and weaves of silks, velvets, gauze, net. This Ingres painting is from the late teens/early twenties when a wave of nostalgia made Elizabethan-style clothes fashionable, hence the ruff and slashed sleeves of the velvet gown.

Imagine this dress in motion as the wearer moved, the play of candlelight on the flow of the velvet, the drape of her Indian shawl, the slight bounce of the ruff. Why anyone would want her to take it off is beyond me...

And the sounds of the fabric. I know later in the century the rustling of a woman's petticoats etc. would drive a man wild with lust (no wonder they had to cover the piano legs), but with this outfit you'd certainly get a slithery sound of the velvet over the cotton petticoat. I have a Regency gown of gray-blue silk that has the most luscious, delicious rustle; it's a real treat to wear!

What's your Regency dream outfit? (No, a pair of earrings and a whip does not count).


Kate Pearce said...

I actually bought myself a dark red velvet Regency gown this year to celebrate my Kensington contract!
It's not quite as daring as this one but I love the feel of the velvet against my skin and the way the skirt swishes along behind me.
I must get Mr Kate Pearce to take a photo of me in it.
Lovely post Jane!

Celia May Hart said...

You know, I *knew* that about the Elizabethan vogue thing during the Regency period, but I forgot! That helps me with the WIP! Thanks!

I have a beautiful purple satin gown (worn the last couple of years to the Soiree), but I'm back to green polyester this year as I fear I've put on a bit of weight. I'll try 'em on the week before and we shall see....

Pam Rosenthal said...

I can let it all hang out in fiction, but not, I fear, in costume. Gutless of me, I suppose, but there it is. I can't even begin to imagine my short, chunky, busty self in a Regency gown. Perhaps in another life...

Love the painting, tho, Jane

Jane Lockwood said...

True, Pam, that short, chunky, busty doesn't work for Regency clothes--they favor slender or tall and statuesque. I look shorter, chunkier, and more busty in my gown, which is why I chose the gorgeous fabric.
I'm assured too that a high head-dress balances you out.
Kate, I'd love to see the red velvet!