Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Fashion

It’s two and a half weeks until the big event of the year for many romance authors: the Romance Writers of America annual conference. We’ll be in Orlando, this year. Already I’m combing my wardrobe for the right outfits to wear to meet my editor for the first time, to attend a literary tea, to dance at the nineteenth century soiree hosted by the Beau Monde Chapter (for those who write in the Regency period). Everything seems too tight, too loose, too warm, too cold, or wrong color, and nothing matches. Arg! An entire closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!

So, like many ladies in nineteenth century England, I turned to that trusted source, La Belle Assemblée, for advice. I mean, it’s going to be warm and probably humid in Orlando, but the hotel will probably be freezing in comparison. What’s a lady to do?
“The continued warmth of the weather renders yet the muslin pelisses and spensers to be almost universally adopted: some of the latter are of clear book muslin, trimmed with very full trimmings of muslin, richly embroidered at the edge. Scarf-shawls, mantles, and sarsnet wraps are only seen on evenings, when returning from the rooms or from crowded parties.”

Okay, so I need to find a wrap to wear in air conditioned hotel rooms or returning from my publisher’s party at the Waldorf. What about when I need to go outside into the Florida sun?
“Never were caps so universal; and in this the English ladies do wisely; an ardent sun, particularly when accompanied by breezes from the sea, has often a sudden effect in changing the color of the hair. Among the new cornettes is the fan cornette à-la-Contesse, so called from the front being spread out like a fan; youth and loveliness are certainly requisite to render this head-dress becoming. The breakfast cornette, of fine thread net and Brussels lace, simply finished by rouleaux of lilac satin, is a very becoming dishabille to every face.”

So wear a hat when venturing out of doors. Gotcha. I probably need to choose my neutral color to build the wardrobe around. I only have so much space in my suitcase, and I’d rather fill it with books coming home. What’s in this year?
“The favorite colors are Clarence blue, rose color, and lilac.”

Really? I think I look better in basic black.

Any advice on how a nineteenth century writer can look professional, yet fashionable and comfortable, in Florida in the summer?


ShanaGalen said...

I live in Houston and find layers work well. You can wear a tank top with a jacket over it and capris with cute strappy sandals. If you go outside, take off the jacket. Voila!

C.A. Marshall said...

Convertible maxi dresses! different lengths, top styles, etc! Plus, this one has a gorgeous color that's perfect for the season!

Regina Scott said...

Layers--very good idea, Shana! Hope to see you at Conference too!

C.A.--I've seen ads for Bluefly but had never visited their site. Nice stuff! Love the color of that dress. I just wish I was more graceful. I'd probably spill something on myself Day 1, and there goes the wardrobe for the week!

Joanna said...

I'm from Michigan and when we went to South Carolina last year, we wore alot of light clothing because it was so humid and muggy. So light colors and light weight clothing work well too.

Also sandles.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Joanna! I tend to wear darker colors, but you're right--the lighter shades look so much more like summer!

Marissa Doyle said...

Oh my--will Sir Reginald be attending this year? :)

Regina Scott said...

Sir Reginald is pursuing an heiress with a hunting lodge in Scotland. I doubt I can pry him away from her side. I, on the other hand, am merely grateful to have been handed a lovely gown in cream taffeta with an underskirt of fine net overlain with flocked roses. There’s even velvet bows under the high waist and at the puffy cup sleeves. I simply hope no one notices that the roses and ribbon are a hideous Halloween orange! It's Jane Austen meets the 70s.

Regina Scott said...

Um, that's an OVERskirt, not an UNDERskirt. If it was under the taffeta, I sincerely doubt anyone would notice!

Marissa Doyle said...

I'm relieved to hear that, Regina. :)