Monday, August 19, 2013

Regency 101: Renee Rose On Regency Undergarments

Thank you to Renee Rose for this wonderful guest post on Regency Undergarments.


Thank you, Celeste, for inviting me here today!

 
In picking the date to set a historical novel, it's often about the clothing.  Hoop skirts are awesome, but maybe not if you wanted a stealthy heroine who can climb trellises or slip undetected in and out of rooms. Or perhaps you're going for a certain alluring look-- in which case, you might not choose late Victorian era because, well, high-necked lace collars aren't quite as sexy as showing a little skin.

 
I picked the year 1835 for The Westerfield Affair solely on the clothing I wanted my heroine to wear. You see, I really envisioned Kitty swooning from being spanked by Westerfield because her corset restricted her breath. He would then be forced to loosen her corset, which adds all kinds of exciting scandal to the already compromising situation.


            “Ow, oh, please, Lord Westerfield!” she gasped. “I will not sass you again,” she promised.

            “Thank you, Miss Stanley,” he said. “I am almost finished.”

            He applied his hand firmly and after another interval of spanking, realized she had given up all fight and lay quietly over his lap, accepting her punishment. He looked at her face where it lay on the settee and then froze.

            She had not submitted—she had swooned.

             Kitty blinked up at the worried face of Lord Westerfield. She appeared to be on the floor, cradled in his arms. Her bottom was throbbing—a tingling burn to remind her of the humiliating position in which she had just been.

            “You fainted,” he explained at once. “I opened your corset so you could breathe.”

            “Oh,” she said, coming to a full realization of her new predicament. Though her dress was still on, the bodice was unhooked in the back, her corset was unlaced, and her drawers were still down around her thighs.

            A hysterical giggle bubbled up in her throat.

            “I’m sorry. I should have considered the effect of discipline on your breathing before I took you over my knee. That was very stupid of me.”
 
If you think of Jane Austen's heroines, they were wearing the “Empire waist” gowns-- dresses that were closely fitted to the torso just under the breasts, falling loosely below. For this style, waist-cinching corsets were not necessary.  By the 1830's, however, the natural waist had returned, along with big poofy sleeves and wide, open necklines.  So I set The Westerfield Affair at the very tail end of the Regency Era before Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837. By then, they were also wearing drawers under their skirts, a habit that was barely coming into fashion when Miss Downy, my poor heroine in Pleasing the Colonel, found her skirts lifted for a spanking and had nothing underneath to protect her. In the 1820's drawers were still optional; in fact, I read somewhere that the dance floors in Regency times were sometimes spotted with menstrual blood (TMI?).



The Colonel had walked around to her side of the desk. He patted the top of the desk. “Bend over,” he said.

Her breathing was coming in fast, short gasps. She stepped to the edge of the desk and hesitatingly leaned over it.

“Lift your skirts,” he commanded.

Oh mercy. She had not adopted the new fashion of wearing drawers under her dresses, so lifting her skirts would mean completely baring her backside for his view and punishment. Embarrassed by the mere thought, she slowly reached back and gathered the skirts of her dress and petticoat in each hand, hiking them up to her waist to expose her bare bottom for his view. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to block out the humiliation that was making her skin feel hot and flushed all over. The edges of the skirts still hung over her bottom, offering a bit of cover, but she felt the brush of his sleeve and the skirts were flipped up onto her back.
  

By the 1850's, the hoop skirts made wearing drawers necessary, as hoops could be wildly unpredictable. While they're a far cry from the g-string, drawers were considered risque because they resembled male pant legs. They basically consisted of two tubes that were tied at the waist, leaving an opening for doing one's business, or in the case of The Westerfield Affair, conveniently administering bare-bottomed spankings.

 
So there you have it—the scoop on Regency Era underclothing.

 
Renee Rose is the author of two Regency Era spanking novellas:  Pleasing the Colonel and The Westerfield Affair. She loves historical novels, most likely because they're the best place to find unabashed corporal punishment.


 

 

 

11 comments:

  1. Interesting tidbits. Have to admit I did not consider menstruation and the lack of drawers. Seems to me, that would be the time to stay home and not go to the ball.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. Yes it is! And thanks to Renee for sharing her info w/us.

      Delete
  3. Very informative, and I love the word swoon. I love when a lady gets 'the vapors', too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Those are such great and dramatic terms, aren't they?

      Delete
  4. Great information, Renee!
    I agree with Cara. Stay home! eeeew!

    I loved both stories, and love the word "swoon"
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had never heard about the spotting before. Very interesting, and yes a little gross. Guess a lady had to really be desperate to go dancing at that time of the month. Sitting down would be a problem, too. So, no wall flowers allowed. Great article, Renee and Celeste.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So informative! Awesome topic, great post ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jane Austen herself would probably never allowed one of her heroines to be spanked as an adult, and that's OK with me. I do not read Jane Austen for spankings. Some people, however, have written about which Austen heroines they would have liked to get spanked. And perhaps as lady novelists you would like to have a male perspective on that from one who has done a thesis on her novels. Of the six novels only two have heroines who m I would have liked to see spanked - and that is Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet. The others are either too shy and diffident - such as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park or too nice and childlike. Emma, of course, should have been spanked by Knightley after the Box Hill incident, where she insulted Miss Bates. Knightley did spank her verbally on that occasion, but vain, over-confident and spoiled Emma shpuld have had a long bare-bottomed spanking from him. That would have easedher conscience and hisfrustration, and they would probably have realized how much they loved each other a lot sooner. Elizabeth Bennet is my favourite heroine, but probably a spanking from Darcy at an earlier stage could have prevented a lot of anxiety and frustration, and since she would be smart enough to know that men only spank the women they love, it would probably lead them the way to love and marriage. How about Darcy, then - did not his behaviour deserve a spanking? Yes, but men are spanked in other ways, and Jane Austen shows him suffering from his behaviour for a long time. I hope that you appreciate this comment from a male pov, and should like to finish by pointing out that THE heroine who should have spanked - and spanked often by someone who knew how to do it - is Scarlett O'Hara. And that might have saved her marriage, if only Rhett had done right by her. :-)

    ReplyDelete

I love getting feedback. Thank you for taking the time to comment!