Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers, Part 2

I love historical fiction.  The drama, the intrigue and, oh– the fashion.  I just assume all the period details regarding clothing are accurate.  Or I did until my friend Liz shared it was her secret delight to troll the adult fiction section and find anachronistic apparel.  Curious to know how Liz knows all that she does about fashion?  Check out her bio in the first post Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers.

Turns out a lot of books from specific dates and locations feature outfits as cover art that either haven’t been invented yet or were way out of fashion.  I was eager to know if these same mistakes were being made in Young Adult historical fiction. After all, how was I to know? Here are some examples of books that got it right and those that got it wrong.

In Mozart's Shadow by Carolyn Meyer
In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer

Hit, sort of – In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story (alternate title In Mozart’s Shadow: Nannerl’s Story) by Carolyn Meyer

The novel In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story is set in eighteenth-century Europe. Older sister Nannerl remains home in Salzburg, Austria while her brother Mozart travels and performs.  How does the cover art compare?

The idea of the appropriate style of dress is there, but the quality of the fashion is poor and ill-fitting.   This particular dress looks like one you would wear for an “old-timey” photo.  The style of the time was a low-necked gown made from woven silks in elaborate patterns worn over panniers, a cage-like garment which extended the hips at the sides.  The bodice would be tightly fitted over a stiff pair of stays, known by modern terminology as a corset.  The front of the bodice exposed a stomacher, which was a triangle-shaped piece which was elaborately decorated.  Sleeves were normally close-fitting and worn to the elbow with ruffle and lace embellishments.  The skirt was often open in the front to expose the petticoat which was decorated to match.  There were several different types of dress worn at the time, but most did follow the same silhouette as described here.  Continue reading Fashion Hits and Misses from YA Historical Fiction Book Covers, Part 2