Ball Gowns: Regency vs. Victorian

When I selected a time period for my book, right or wrong, I picked a time when dresses had the Victorian look, but women had not yet started to wear corsets. It was a time just before Queen Victoria’s reign. Somewhere around the middle to the end of the 19th century was when women began to wear the big hoops under their dresses like you see in “Gone With the Wind”.

In the first chapter of my book (which you are welcome to read here on my blog), my heroine, Cynthia, wear’s a  late Regency dress. I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to spoil the fun of who the dress once belonged to. To get an idea of what she was wearing compared to what all the other ladies were wearing I’ve put together a chart.

Regency

Victorian

Filmy, gauzy material Heavy material
Usually made of muslin Usually made of velvet or silk
High waistline Waistline at waist
Bolder ladies dampened their chemises underneath As many as 6 petticoats and a corset

As I’ve mentioned before, ball dresses were white, but did you know that most wedding dresses were not white? That tradition hadn’t started yet. I’m not sure when it started. I’m sure you can imagine why ladies didn’t wear white dresses. After a year or two of going to balls and having to wear white gowns, I suppose a different color was refreshing.

With the Victorian dress, there would have been an elaborate necklace. Women word their hair up and decorated with a hat often times with a long feather or two sticking out.

Of course, I’m not an expert on what was fashionable for the Regency lady or the Victorian lady. If you know something of interest, leave a comment and tell us. 🙂

Which do you prefer? Regency or Victorian? Why?

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May I have this dance?

You’ve heard of the waltz. When a couple dances the waltz the gentleman and lady grasp each other’s hands, while the gentleman places his other hand on the lady’s waist and she places her other hand on his shoulder. From this possition they twirl around in a circle and progress around the room. But, in the Regency period it was considered inappropriate. Instead, the kind of dance you might find at a ball was more like a square dance. Couples lined up, men on one side and women on the other, then waited for their turn to dance a figure (a sequence of movements).

In the following video we can get a glimps of what it must have been like. It is a short clip of one of my all time favorite movies, “Pride & Prejudice” with Keira Knightley. It shows Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett as they dance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start at the beginning of the dance where you see them lined up, but you will see it at the end of the dance. Please ignore the last 30 seconds, as this video comes from YouTube and it would take a lot of work to get the end taken off.

Did you notice how easy it was for them to carry on a conversation? Certainly, the dance is romantic enough, but not conducive for talking.

There are several things you do not do while dancing. Because everyone in the room is eather dancing or watching the dance, you do what it takes to follow the rules. Here are some examples:

  • When dancing, eather you and/or you partner must be wearing gloves.
  • Don’t dance more than two or three dances with the same person.
  • Don’t stop dancing in the middle of a figure.
  • Never leave your dance partner in the middle of the dance.

Dancing has changed a lot since the early 19th century. Yet, there is a lot that’s the same. Which would you reather dance? A waltz or slow dance? Which one do you think is more romantic?

I have a drug problem

I heard the story told of a man who had a drug problem. From the time he was a baby he was drug to church on Sunday morning, drug to church Sunday night, drug to church on Wednesday night, and drug to church any other time the doors were open.

That was me. So, I forget that phrases I grew up hearing are not always understood by others outside the denomination I am in. This was brought back to mind when a good friend of mine read my book for the purpose of helping me do a little editing. One of the characters in my book stated that he prayed the sinners prayer. She wrote out to the side: “what is the sinners prayer.

The sinners prayer is prayed when a person prays to God asking him to forgive them of their sin, believes that Jesus is God’s son, and asks Jesus to be their Lord (i.e. the boss).

To pray the prayer, you really have to mean what you are praying. We try to put sin into categories: big and little and think that the little sin doesn’t count. Yet, sin is sin, even if it’s big or small.

A lot of people believe in God, but believing in Jesus is very important to the sinner’s prayer. You must believe in him. Hey, I’m not the one who says it. I’m just the messenger. It’s stated in the Bible.

Asking Jesus to be your Lord or Boss is not easy. In fact that is the hardest part. We want to do and be what we want. But the greatest thing about praying the sinners prayer is that God has a plan for our lives that is greater than anything we could plan ourselves.

What is the greatest benefit you will get from praying the sinners prayer? Your soul will live forever with Jesus in a place where there is no pain, no sorrow, and no sadness, only joy and happiness.

I love to hear the stories of when others prayed the sinners prayer. Will you tell me when you prayed the sinners prayer? What made you decide to pray the sinners prayer?