thanks for sharing!
Okay, so you’re doing something historically based/inspired, and you need to figure out what your characters will be wearing. Starting out here or on a similar historical fashion blog is a good place to start! However, at least for this blog, most of the stuff posted comes from museums, and the stuff in museums tends to be only really fine clothing that only the upper-class would really wear, especially when it comes to 20th century stuff. Most of the time, as the upper-class pretty much dictates fashion, lower-class wear is simply a copy of what rich people wear but with cheaper meterials, and before ready-to-wear clothing became popular, it was usually hand-made. Sometimes, though, this isn’t true.
I’m going to be a total gratuitous whore and kick this off by sharing my experience with researching my novel, Masters of the World. It’s set in Berlin in the immediate aftermath of World War II and the collapse of the Third Reich. In World War II, fabric and other materials were rationed for the war effort, but you could get around that if you were wealthy. Rationing is for peasants. This, coupled with the invasion and occupation of Paris (fashion capital of the world), meant that haut couture had some serious restraints put on it. There are relatively few examples of period clothing in museums, and what is in there doesn’t really reflect what was being worn by the average woman at the time. The same goes for World War I era clothing.
However, there are plenty of other places you can look. Online vintage shops are a great place to start, and its where I got most of my dress ideas. I highly reccommend starting in the vintage section of Etsy, simply because it’s the largest and if you make an account, you can save anything that inspires you to your favorites list (or just save the pictures to your computer). One thing that you should look at is not only the dresses, but the dress paterns that could be pinned to pieces of fabrics and then sewn together. That’s how I got the majority of my fashion images.
Another thing to look at is fashion illustrations. These really got their start in the Victorian era with women’s magazines like Godey’s and the fashion plates that acted as a sort of centerfold to them. They were richly colored and detailed illustrations of the latest in cut, embellishment, fabric and pattern. Women of all income levels would try to re-create the dresses they liked. The same goes on as Godey’s transformed into the fashion mags of today, and illustrations were replaced by photographs of models in the latest designs. If your project is set any time after the invnetion of the camera, photographs will be your best friend (and again the vintage section on etsy has a ton of wonderful old photographs you can look at and buy if you feel like it ).
Finally, there’s just googling it. Costumers and historical reenactors are some of the most meticulous people you’ll ever meet when it comes to historical accuracy in fashion, and most are more than willing to share their knowledge with the world. Costumes.org is a great place to start for any era!
The thing that really got me into vintage/historical fashion was writing something based in the 1940s, and then my bff writing something set in the 1950s. For mine, I found myself looking at 40s fashion as a simple way of better imagining the story, but with my friend’s, there was a bit more room to dress up minor characters and I had lots and lots of fun finding what each one would wear in a big party scene. And then I started writing about vampires.
Since I know NaNoWriMo is coming up, what are you all planning, and more importantly, when is it set? I’d love to feature some projects and provide them with some fashion-spiration! You can share an ongoing project (Lord knows I have enough of those), a comic book/manga/graphic novel, or some fantasy with a historically-based aesthetic, just share!
One of the reasons I started it was for inspiration for histocalliy-based characters!