I recently interviewed Queensland author, Ellen Read about writing, self-publishing, and what it’s like to undertake research for historical fiction… NLK: How did you first begin writing fiction? ER: I began with reading books. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading and living in a story. As a child I made up fictional […]
Abigail Shepherd is the 29-year-old author of teen historical fiction novel Victoria’s Victorian Victory. Her other work has most recently been published by The Flash Fiction Press, and Mystery Weekly, and she has a regency romance series, Ask Me No Secrets, on channillo.com. She’s hoping her upcoming novel will encourage teenage girls to think about their futures, set goals for themselves, and insist on being treated with the respect they deserve. Her hobbies include fishing, napping, and drinking exceptionally good wine. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter as @abiwriting and blogs at bewritingblog.wordpress.com
I first met Abigail Shepherd approximately one year ago on Instagram, which has a thriving book community of authors and readers. During that time we have become friends.
It has been a pleasure to watch Abigail gain confidence and begin to shine. Now she has just released her new book Victoria’s Victorian Victory, a Young Adult historical novel set in the Victorian era.
I’m so pleased to welcome Abigail Shepherd to my blog as a guest author. Abigail has written the article below, which looks at fashion in the Victorian times.
The Victorian era lasted 64 years and saw almost as many changes in fashion as from the equivalent time today. The difference being, for most of that period, clothes were not purchased ready-made on the high street. Victorian women either paid a dressmaker if they could afford it, or made their own clothes. This meant many changes in fashion tended to involve things that could be added or altered on an existing dress. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a woman’s silhouette received so much attention.
My new novel The Dragon Sleeps is set in Victoria, Australia in the 1920s. I recently did a post on women’s fashion from that era.
Men’s fashion was equally as stylish. It was influenced by the new heart-throbs of the silent films, although the term ‘silent films’ wasn’t used during that era. They were called ‘the flicks’ or ‘the pictures’.
Rudolph Valentino liked to set a style.
John Gilbert wears the pencil-style moustache that was popular during the 1920s and 1930s. He was known as The Great Lover of the Silver Screen. The Merry Widow launched him to fame in 1925, and by 1928 he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.
Benedict Archer in The Dragon Sleeps looks like John Gilbert, or so Edith claims.
Men in the 1920s wore suits and, at least the highly fashionable ones, wore many accessories. There were so many types of hats (here we see fedoras, straw boaters, and Newsboy hats).
Below shows the Porkpie hat that Sergeant Smith wears when he accompanies Alexandra and Edith to the Victorian State Library.
Canes were popular accessories as well as small rings, tie pins, and collar pins. Three-piece suits were also worn – one for every occassion.
Shoes were very stylish, with examples here of brogues, two-tones, white tennis shoes and the exquisite art deco shoes.
Even the working man and boy liked to don hats, ties and jackets.
The Parry and Brady men in The Dragon Sleeps would have worn similar outfits.
I hope you enjoyed looking at male attire in the 1920s.
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I’m excited to be working on research for book two of The Thornton Mysteries. Next week I’m heading down to Victoria to do research for the location/setting of the story. Thornton Park, as the family home, will still feature but some of the story will be in Daylesford, a beautiful village in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
It was originally my intention to have my newly released novel The Dragon Sleeps as a stand-alone book. As I drew close to the ending, I started to think that I should write a second book. Through all the editing, proof-reading and finally the publishing, I still hadn’t made up my mind. I had another novel I was working on and I really wanted to finish it.
I had no sooner given approval for the printing of The Dragon Sleeps, than I thought, of course I must write a second book!
Since then I’ve decided to write at least two more books. They will be under the series title of The Thornton Mysteries. Each book will have a separate title, with it’s own mystery. The thread linking them will be Alexandra’s personal story.
Thornton Park will remain the focal point of the lives of Alexandra, Benedict, Edith and Thomas, Alexandra’s father. However, the second book will also be in Daylesford, Victoria. Daylesford is a beautiful town located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, approximately 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. It’s principally known for it’s spas, and it has many antique stores and art galleries.
The scenery in the district is pure postcard stuff!
I am going to love writing about this beautiful place. My story will be still set in the 1920s and I can’t wait to bring Daylesford to life in this exciting era. To make certain that I achieve this, in January, I’m going to Victoria and will stay at Daylesford to do some research.
I’ll be taking heaps of photos and I will feature some of them here, on Instagram and Facebook.
I hope you’ll follow me on my journey to create the second Thornton Mystery.
My new novel The Dragon Sleeps is set in Victoria, Australia in the 1920s. I had such fun in so many ways, writing in this era. One of these ways was the fashion. I take a look here at ladies fashion.
Hemlines were shortened, while waistline were lowered.
The 1920’s were a turning point for women. The Great War (WWI) had ended and women had become more independent. During the war, they had gone out to work for the first time.
With their new found independence, women wanted to cut ties with the old feminine images of the past.
Hair was cut short into ‘Bobs’ or styled into ‘finger waves’, so-called because the hair was dampened and fingers and comb were used to create this look.
The cloche hat, in all its variations, was the hat of the 1920s. It clung to the head and was pulled down on to the forehead. Sometimes the cloche hat featured a brim, with flowers or feathers decorating the sides. Add pearls, beads or feathers, and the cloche could even be worn in the evening.
The woman with the golden curls and green hat – Copyright 2012 Tracy J Butler
These are Tabard-style evening dresses. They are typically a sheer beaded overlay, with a silk chiffon shift of the same colour or contrasting colour beneath. Tabards frequently featured low backs and thin straps.
Alexandra wears a tabard dress in The Dragon Sleeps.
The bias cut was popularized, which allowed the fabric to hang and drape in sinuous folds and stretch over the contours of a woman’s figure. The beauty of the bias cut was that the dress could be pulled on and off with ease.
It heralded the free-form look of many gowns in the 1920s.
Chanel’s black evening dresses with huge transparent draperies.
Molyneux’s transparent printed dresses with full scalloped skirts and arm draperies.
Paquin’s acid green moire dresses with a V-neck and bulk at the hip.
source –Vintage Fashion Sourcebook – Carlton Books
The modern ‘myth’ of the ‘flapper’ party dress is more a relic of the 1960’s revival. In fact, generally the hemline was below the knee. Women enjoyed the swishing of the softer more feminine fabrics against their legs. Silk, velvet and taffeta were the favoured fabrics.
Many gowns were designed with the new dances in mind. Freedom of movement was important.
When I first visited Werribee Mansion in Victoria, Australia, I feel in love with it. Its glorious Italianate architectural style and its 60 stately rooms, not to mention the beautifully landscaped grounds, inspired me.
Some years later, when I started jotting down notes for the novel that became The Dragon Sleeps, there was no doubt that Werribee Mansion would become my Thornton Park. Of course, there are many differences but my inspiration came from this grand mansion.
Here you see the house and the main hall with its grand staircase.
If you find yourself near Melbourne, its definitely worth the 30 minute drive to Werribee Park.