The Importance of Clothing

Do you have an interest in fashion? I know I do, and for me fashion is one of the best things about writing historical fiction. There have been so many amazing clothing styles throughout history, and clothes have always been important to show one’s status, wealth and so on. I love doing research on this topic, and I’ve got tons of Pinterest boards filled with old portraits, patterns, and images from museum collections.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the 18th century, and the fashion plays a very large part in it. I adore the men’s fashion in particular, since it’s so fun and colorful compared to what men wear nowadays.

My pirate trilogy Wavesongs takes place during the beginning of the 18th century, which means I had the opportunity to go all in with the fashion of that era when I wrote the series. I’ve got lists describing in detail what each character wears—at the time, clothes were a luxury, so the average person didn’t have many items to choose from. The fabrics and colors used signalled the wearer’s position in society—or, for that matter, in a pirate crew.

Here are my ridiculously detailed lists of garments worn by the two main characters, Nick and Christopher:

Nick

Ashore (in Corona):

  • White linen shirt
  • White linen cravat
  • White linen stockings
  • Cream white silk waistcoat with light blue silk embroidery (floral pattern)
  • Light blue cotton breeches with fall front fastening
  • Light blue cotton cassock with white floral embroidery at the wrists and hem
  • Black leather shoes with steel buckles

Everyday attire:

  • White linen shirt
  • Grey wool stockings (after Corona: white linen stockings)
  • Clogs with wooden soles and well-worn brown leather, handmade by his father (these are too small for him and barely usable anymore—after Corona he wears his new black leather shoes instead of the clogs)
  • Dark brown wool breeches
  • Light brown wool waistcoat

Christopher

During attack/ashore:

  • White linen shirt with ruffles at the wrists
  • White linen drawers
  • White linen cravat, laced
  • White silk stockings
  • Red silk sash around his waist
  • Dark brown leather belt
  • Felt round hat, black, with a green feather
  • Dark grey silk breeches with fall front fastening
  • Light grey silk waistcoat, embroidered with a white floral pattern
  • Red velvet cassock, with gold embroidery at the wrists, collar, pockets and along the hem
  • Black leather jackboots (Hessians, over the knee)

Everyday attire:

  • White linen shirt
  • White linen drawers
  • White linen cravat
  • White linen stockings
  • Dark brown leather belt
  • Grey wool breeches with fall front fastening
  • Red damask waistcoat (floral pattern)
  • Black wool cassock with silver embroidery at the wrists, collar, pockets and along the hem
  • Black leather shoes with silver buckles

Which historical period do you think has the best fashion?

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