Friday, February 11, 2011

Historicals--Dressing Up The Part

If there is one thing I love about writing historicals, beyond those brooding dukes and earl's, and ravishment scenes in carriages, it's dressing my heroine's up! I think part of the reason I'm so drawn to writing in the Victorian Era is the clothing. Geesh, I just love corsets and ballgowns, and jewellry and all that feminine fru fru stuff that exemplifies the Victorian way of life. And the Victorian era lasted so many decades, that you can really get quite a bit of different design choices--and research is so plentiful, along with design plates, and glossy books.

One of my favorite things is the corset, and all the satin ribbon and bows that go with it. Really, I think it's just so pretty and romantic, and I can imagine how a lady of leisure must have felt, knowing what was under those bustled gowns. How could one not feel pretty in feminine in such garments? How could men not go utterly mad when that ballgown is stripped away, and his heroine, whom he's been longing for is finally revealed to him wearing a corset and silk stockings? I mean, how could he not be provoked to an instant, sexual frenzy when presented with his virginal heroine wearing any of the above corsets, or the picture below?
For a writer who enjoys writing the more sensual, and base side of Victorian relationships, these images hold alot of inspiration. I jcan ust imagine some dark haired rogue bending down to play with, and sensually untie those creme and ribbons on the ivory corset. It's so pretty and romantic, but at the same time, an erotic writer's fuel for a tantalyzing scene!

Virtual shopping is for me, research. It's also inspiration. When I'm writing, I'll frequently go trolling through sites for pretty things, and ideas for dress up. Today, I found these lovely corsets, but I also found some really neat things for Vanity, the  next book in my Sins and Virtues series. Now, that's more an erotic fantasy fairytale type of book, and the pictures I've found really convey that feel, plus they've inspired a few scenes! As well, I needed to fill out the cover art fact sheet, and I sent these pictures along, to aide the cover art department with what I'm seeing in my mind for Vanity, and his virtue Humility.

What do you think of these? I think they have that airy quality that I always associate with the Fey, plus there's just enough drama and sensuality to suit those bad boy Unseelie Fey of mine!
I can tell you, I'm DEFINITELY using that throat corset! It's just too gorgeous and tempting too pass up!
In Pride and Passion, book 2 of The Brethren Guardians, which I'm currently writing, Lucy, the heroine is unconvential in the fact that she makes her own clothes and corsets. Despite the fact I'm challenged with even sewing on buttons, I'm enjoying creating all Lucy's elaborate dresses, and trousseau. But, I'm having a hard time finding the right kind of lingerie for Lucy to use to seduce the Duke of Sussex into committing unspeakable acts on the parlor floor--and the leather settee--and of course the ducal bed. Please, if you come across any fine looking examples, email them to me, or leave links here. I'd love the help! If you're at all interested here's a fabulous, and most inspiring link!

So, when reading your historical's, what's your favorite part of the clothing? Or maybe it's the design and decorating? Or, maybe it's those white billowy shirts the heroes wear....oooh, don't even get me started on those shirts. I like them with sleeves rolled up and some thick, corded forearms sticking out!

Happy Friday, and to all who might be celebrating Valentine's day this weekend, have fun!
 Be Well!


VampFanGirl said...

Oh wow, those corsets are amazing. I truly feel that I would have been magnificent in period clothing. I swear that's why I love period movies. The last one I watched was THE DUCHESS with Keira Knightly. Have you seen it? The clothes are fantastic.

To be honest, I notice the clothes more on men in books than women. I suppose it's because my focus is more on the hero, picturing him and his physique. I already know what the woman looks like since she's me. *wink* But there are a few books where I recall the heroine's clothing and that's primarily with Judith McNaught. ....this could very well stem from the fact that she was the first romance author I ever read and I've read all her work thrice over... But still, McNaught puts tons of emphasis on her characters clothing.

Oh and I can totally see why that neck corset inspires you. Wow!

Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlotte! I love all these images you posted. For me, I think the clothing is what adds to the reason why I love historical romance so much. Like you, I love the ballgowns and the corsets, but I especially love the fact that everyone is always so polished. Ugh, and I love cravats. There's just something about a victorian man's cravat that gets my blood pumping! *rawr*

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Hey, VFG, no problem with envisioning the men more, because I have the same problem, too--the herooines are always me! lol! I do love to add a bit of the female dress though! I can't help myself. I'm playing dress up by proxy!

Barbara, OMG, do I love a cravat! Sooooo sexy!

Rechelle said...

I think Victorian era clothing is some of the sexiest there is. It has always amazed me the way the style of the dresses (ie:Necklines)along with the upsweep hair styles of the day always accentuated a woman's chest and neck; especially considering the moral and religious focus of the era. Regardless, there was still a soft sensual subtlety and hint of enticement present in the women's clothing of the era so it isn't hard to be inspired by them.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Rechelle, you said that perfectly! There is definitely a feeling of decorum, with an underlying forbidden sensuality!

I like being able to express that in a love scene!


Laura T said...

I had always thought I loved historical romances for the getaway from today's life and hustle/bustle. Until you mentioned it, I hadn't thought how important the fantasy of the period clothing is part of that--and the romance of horses, too, now that I think about it...

Thanks for the escape!


Selena said...

Love the historical dressing! It's one of the details about historicals that always works in your writing.

I'm a new follower, but I've been reading your books for a while. Loved Lust! Actually got it as an ARC and reviewed it on my blog, The Enchanted Book, giving it the top rating and My New Favorite rating. Definitely looking forward to more of those Unseelie Fey.


edna said...

I fall in love for this beautiful throat corset!!! Sooooo cute!!!

edna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlotte Featherstone said...

Selena and Laura, welcome!

Laura, I love horses, too! The romance of them, and the thought of some dashing gentleman sweeping you off your feet and riding off with you definitely captures the feel of historical romance!

Selena, thanks for letting me know about the review and Lust! I'll go and check out your site! Glad you liked it, and are looking forward to more Fey! I'm writing Vanity, right now!

Edna, isn't that thorat corset GORGEOUS! I can't wait to feature it in a scene! ;)

Vickie ~ Mademoiselle*Rose said...

I just love your post, I think one of the reasons I love historical romance is the dress. Oh, I so wish I had an excuse to wear clothes like that.

I actually just bought a romantic bustier on Etsy. I just wouldn't dare wear it myself (my partner is soooo unromantic), but I'm putting it on a manequin in my bedroom in front of a pretty fabric screen. It's too poofy to wear under clothing, but it's the best I can get to having these beautiful things. The lady makes them out of vintage and antique lace.

I too am always the heroine in novels, I thought I was the only one who did that, but obvously not! By the way I love your books!

Sue A. said...

I'm envious of those tiny waists that corsets can produce! Not only a beautiful work of art and design, but sexy too!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Vicky, thanks so much for that link! Gorgeous! And welcome!

Sue, welcome! You're not the only one envious of the teeny weeny waists! What could be better, magnificent bosom and little trim waist! I was born in the wrong century! lol!

Virginia C said...

Gorgeous--dressing as art : ) I love clothes and fashions of all eras! I love to sew and work with fabric. I do needlework and embroidery, and have made a living at times through my crafts and custom sewing. I adore clothing and costumes with lots of beautiful fabric, gathers, tucks, pleats, beadwork and artistic details. I also make cloth dolls and country animals, and they all have wonderful clothing : )

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Jena Lang said...

Great post! I love historical clothing, especially the bustles and corsets of the Victorian era.

V said...

Wow! That throat corset is absolutely stunning! Addicted was a wonderful book and Sinful even more compelling....can't wait to read Seduced by Starlight!

Victoria said...

Oh my... Love the corsets.. Love the costumes...They are the reason why I love historical romance so much!! The throat corset is... WoW... 1st time seeing it!!

June M. said...

Some of those corsets are really beautiful, but I don't know that I would have liked wearing them. I suppose that once you were used to them, they would not bother you too much.

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