Fashion is one of the best parts of Regency England research. When I was writing His Wicked Seduction, the second book in my League of Rogues series, one of my characters, Audrey Sheridan, insisted she get to speak to you readers on all matters of what’s hot and what’s not. So without further ado… take it away, Audrey!
Audrey grins and waves. “Good morning! As Lauren mentioned, I am quite the expert in fashion. I spend a good portion of my morning pouring over the latest fashion plates to see what styles are coming to London from Paris. Now I know what you’re thinking. France and England are always at war politically. It’s no different when it comes to fashion.”
She leans forward conspiratorially to whisper. “Honestly, they are far more scandalous in their tastes than the English. Like their undergarments – much thinner, finer. I’ve heard that you can almost see through them! Can you imagine wearing such things and having a man, hopefully one’s husband, see you in them?!” A pretty blush warms her cheeks.
Audrey brushes her hands over the pale rose colored muslin gown she is wearing. “This, what I am wearing, is perfectly suitable for a young unmarried lady. No bold colors unfortunately. Pastels are best for young eligible ladies. Once a woman marries, she’s allowed darker, bolder colors.” A mischievous little twinkle lights her eyes. “It’s one of the many advantages to getting married. That, and finally having a husband in bed. Lord, I’ve listened to my brother Cedric and his friends, those Rogues, speak of bedplay enough when they don’t know I’m around. I am quite excited about it, not that I could ever tell my brother. But I digress.” She giggles and covers her mouth, hiding her delight in speaking so scandalously.
“The best part of the Regency era fashion is how the fabric drapes over the body. We favor a high empire waist line.” She holds a delicate hand just beneath her breasts where the line of the fabric cuts horizontal beneath them. “The Neoclassical style favors the female body, allowing the cloth to drape loosely and comfortably, rather than constrict us or hamper us with hoop skirts or wide bustles.”
Audrey reaches up to touch a loose curl brushing her cheek. “Hair styles became more natural along with the empire clothing style. We went from awful itchy wigs that were stacked too high, to using our own hair, coiling it up in lovely buns and curling the shorter parts close to our faces to make it attractive.” She strokes a fingertip along the matching rose ribbon woven through her locks. “Pin money from my brother is essential to keep me in fresh ribbons. A woman can go broke trying to stay on top of her ribbon collection.”
Touching her chest, she sighs. “I do wish the pressure to wear corsets would disappear. Unfortunately this kind of constriction is popular. When my mother was alive a decade ago, she wouldn’t have had to wear as much restrictive, confining underclothes. Well, I’ve chatted quite a bit about fashion, and possibly about more than I should have. You mustn’t tell my brother about my desire to marry, he’d be most upset.” She grins cheekily. “Especially since he would challenge any potential suitor to a duel. The last thing I need is my brother dueling.”
* * * * * * *
Aren’t you glad we girls no longer have to wear corsets? I sure am, but I do miss the lovely gowns and the balls to wear them to. Sigh. I hope you all enjoyed Audrey’s insight into fashion! You can read more about her unique style sense and her adventures in designing a Christmas gown for her older sister in His Wicked Seduction.
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets, a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and Semi-Finalist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.
Her latest book, His Wicked Seduction, releases on November 11, 2014 (Samhain Publishing). Warning: This book contains an intelligent lady who is determined to seduce her brother’s friend, a brooding rake whose toy of choice in bed is a little bit of bondage with a piece of red silk, a loyal band of merry rogues and a Christmas love so scorching you’ll need fresh snow to extinguish it.