Georgette Heyer did an enormous amount of research into the Regency period and nowhere is that more evident than in the detailed descriptions of her characters’ clothing. From pantaloons to poke bonnets, fichus to figured muslin, hessians, cravats, shakos and chapeau-bras, she has provided those of us who love reading Regency romance novels with an entirely new vocabulary.
Amongst the many fashionable figures in Georgette Heyer’s novels, particularly memorable are the heroines of her stories. No matter how meager their fortunes, odds are that at some point they will be donning their finery for Almack’s or an evening at the theater.
Who can forget the ball-dress of Pomona green crepe over a white satin slip with “tiny puff-sleeves of lace and seed-pearls” that Sophy Stanton-Lacy wears to the ball at Ombersley House in The Grand Sophy? Or the ball-dress of “pale orange Italian crape, trimmed with lace, and cut low across the bosom” that Ancilla Trent wears when she waltzes with Sir Waldo Hawkridge in The Nonesuch?
A lavish wardrobe is just one of the perks of being an heiress for Regency Buck’s Judith Taverner. Whether she is wearing a ball-dress of “white crêpe with velvet ribbons spangled with gold” or a gown of jonquil muslin with lace trimming and shoes of celestial blue kid, her taste is, as Lord Worth informs her, “unimpeachable.”
In A Lady of Quality, Annis Wychwood dons a robe of “celestial blue crepe with an open front over a white satin slip” to her rout-party, complementing the ensemble with sapphires clasped round her throat and a sapphire spray in her burnished blonde hair. And even cash-strapped Frederica Merriville manages to look elegant and self-assured at the Marquis of Alverstoke’s ball in a gown of orange-blossom crepe with an Austrian-style bodice, a “shawl of Albany gauze, caught up over her elbows,” and a sparkling diamond necklace.
Cast your vote for the most fashionably dressed Georgette Heyer heroine! And if you have a preference for another of Heyer’s stylish Regency heroines, or one of the fashionable leading ladies from Heyer’s Georgian novels (Horatia Winwood in The Convenient Marriage once wore a pair of diamond-studded shoes, didn’t she?), then write your choice in below.
(*Author’s note: Crepe, crape, and crêpe were all used to describe fabrics in the fashion magazines of the period. Heyer likely copied these descriptions when writing her novels. Differentiations in spelling in quoted material are neither Heyer’s error nor my own.)
The Poll is Now Closed.
1st Place: Sophy Stanton-Lacy from The Grand Sophy with 53% of the vote.
2nd Place: Annis Wychwood from A Lady of Quality with 11% of the vote.
3rd Place: Judith Taverner from Regency Buck with 10% of the vote.
4th Place: Arabella from Arabella (by write-in) and Kitty Charing from Cotillion (by write-in) with 5% of the vote each.
5th Place: Frederica Merriville from Frederica, Ancilla Trent from The Nonesuch, and Serena from Bath Tangle (by write-in) all tied.
Honorable Mentions to those write-in heroines who garnered one vote each: Barbara Childe from An Infamous Army, Abigail Wendover from Black Sheep, and Charis Merriville from Frederica.
Thank you for voting!
© 2015 Mimi Matthews
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