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Cynthia Young: The Importance of Costumes in Stories
Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Quick note: Yesterday’s contest is still open! Be sure to enter to win a free story!
There will be THREE winners!

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Medi Kit_RoguesGraphic1_700

Delilah kindly posted here about what inspired “An Eye for Love”, the short story that is part of the Rogues anthology , so today I’ll talk a little bit about the importance of costumes.

Breeches or pantaloons? Hoops or petticoats?

Clothing plays an integral role in a story. The garments a character wears aids in setting the time period the story is taking place in as well as showing the character’s social status, how they view themselves, or the image they want to portray to the people in their world. When writing stories set in a historical time period, mentioning a character wearing a garment from a different era can throw a reader out of the story.

As a writer, it’s important to know the era and the clothing worn during the time the story takes place. The more detail you are able to acquire about a particular item the better. Knowing whether buttons were used in a certain garment, the length of a garment and the undergarments worn are details that can enrich a scene. Fortunately, there are many resources available for the person interested in learning about the garments worn during a particular time period.

Historical re-enactment societies are good sources of information. Some members of these organizations use the construction techniques of the respective era, making entire costumes by hand. Historical authors are another source and some are quite knowledgeable about the colors, fabrics and types of articles worn. Historical pattern makers and sewing experts can also provide research material.

I enjoy sewing when I have time. The photo is of a corset I made a few years ago using Simplicity® pattern 1819. It was time-consuming to make even with the use of a sewing machine. This corset is part of a Steampunk costume, and with its modern lines doesn’t fit the Regency time period I set my stories in.

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About the Author

Cynthia Young writes tantalizing, passionate romances set during the Regency era. She enjoys writing stories with strong characters that triumph over challenges to achieve their happily-ever-after. Cynthia lives in the Pacific Northwest where the rain and numerous coffee houses make the perfect writing companions.

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2 comments to “Cynthia Young: The Importance of Costumes in Stories”

  1. Vonnie Alto
    Comment
    1
      · June 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 am · Link

    Insightful info on costume! I would add that costume/fashion history books are also invaluable sources. They are some of my very favorite books!



  2. Cynthia
    Comment
    2
      · June 2nd, 2016 at 11:41 pm · Link

    You are right that costume and fashion history books are great sources.