Inside Lily’s Carpetbag

Sam Elliot :::Sigh:::   This picture of Sam isn’t theme related, but he does make me smile and helps me to unwind while taking a breather from writing lockdown.  Somehow I went from having plenty of writing time on my next book, to chasing deadlines that snuck right past me. Realizing it was midnight, and I didn’t have a post for today (which officially started two minutes ago in CA– ack!) I tacked up this picture of Sam, sipped my tea and waited for him to tell me what I should blog about.  Sexy, rugged, reliable cowboy that he is…he told me.  He said, in that dreamy honeyed-hickory, baritone voice, “Let’s see what Lily has in her carpetbag.”    Lily’s Western Wear

For some reason, while developing the heroine for THE GUNSLINGER’S UNTAMED BRIDE, her wardrobe played a big role.  Lily’s an upscale San Francisco business woman (not my usual heroine) and I needed a crisp clear image of her daily office attire.  During my quest, I fell in love with antique and replica clothing sites.  I was able to find outfits that defined my heroine, or at least the persona she lived behind.  When Lily first hit’s the page, she’s rather rigid and stern–a woman on a mission who dresses for success and takes pride in her appearance.  This striped Lily’s Western Wear2dress suited her business side to a T, feminine yet prefessional. 

For her long four-day journy into the mountains, she packs durable, sensable clothing .  The russet number on the left is the perfect traveling coat for the long carriage ride.  Lily likes to maintain a professional outlook, but she’s not all drab colors and straight lines. She enjoys frills and fashion. I loved the swirls and fancy fabrics of this next dress.  Lily wears a similar dress on her arrive at the Pine Ridge Lumber Lily’s Western WearCamp.  Sophisticated and stylish, and completely mystifying to the rough-and-tumble lumberjacks—as well as Juniper when he first sees her. He can’t imagine what a woman of her stature would be doing in a lumber camp (beware of the Smith & Wesson in her skirt pocket!). 

While outfitting this heroine, I began to realize she was a woman quite hung up on labels.  She labels her workers by their job titles, and everyone she meets by the clothes they wear.  This poses a real challenge when she meets Juniper–his wardrobe is a clear contradiction to everything she’s come to believe about the gunslinger who killed her father.  As she’s dragged deeper into Juniper’s world, she begins to look beyond simple attire, and learns a lot Western Wear_Blueabout herself during the process.  As the story progresses and Lily’s rigid exterior begins to soften, so does her wardrobe.  The fabrics and fit become softer, giving her more room to breathe…and to love  😉  

This was the first time I’d ever “dressed” one of my characters.  When I started searching for period clothing sites, I had no idea how finding Lily’s wardrobe would help to craft this character.  

For anyone who’d like to check out more antique and replica clothing, here’s a few sites:

http://www.fashion-era.com

http://www.antiquedress.com

http://www.victorianelegance.com

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25 thoughts on “Inside Lily’s Carpetbag”

  1. Delightful post, Stacey (and Sam gave a good jump start to my morning pulse–love that voice). What year does Lily’s story take place?
    I was especially interested in the San Francisco angle. In my upcoming WIP, my heroine, Annie is a seamstress, visiting SF in 1906 (you guessed it, right before the earthquake). Annie’s a country girl, but she’s very interested in the latest fashions and looking for ideas to take home to Colorado. I’m guessing, from the look of these gorgeous dresses, your time period’s a little earlier, yes? Anyway, your story sounds wonderful, fashions and all.

  2. First of all, wonderful links, and thank you so much!

    Secondly, Sam….oh my goodness. He does hold a special place in our hearts. I could listen to him talk forever, and that lope-sided grin of his makes the silence pretty golden, too.

    Your book sounds wonderful!!

  3. I love the clothes. And seriously, Stacey, a blog containing a picture of Sam Elliot is a winner regardless of the content. 🙂
    The links, though, those are so great. I think this is a weakness in my own work, clothes. Setting the scene needs to include what they’re wearing and I have to review that I’ve ‘dressed’ my characters so I’ll use these links a lot. Petticoats and Pistols should have a separate research links page I think because there are so many good ones that go through these posts.

    Also, I love Sam Elliot as a cowboy but wasn’t he great in We Were Soldiers, with Mel Gibson? I loved his performance in that movie.

  4. Okay, I actually heard Sam Elliott say that in my head!!

    Great post, Stacey, I love the dresses. I am always Googling period outfits for my characters, and it is harder than you would think to find sites that have clothing for America-most of them are regency or Victorian England. Very frustrating.

    Your new book sounds wonderful, from the title to the storyline, very interesting.

  5. wonderful post and responses- I think we ALL agree on Sam, voice, appearance, presence!
    On-line links sure help with research. I was gifted a book “What People Wore: a Visual History of Dress from Ancient Times to Twentieth-Century America” from Cheryl’s recommended FreeCycle.com Besides Costumes of the Ancient World and Europe, the American B/W drawings include (dated)farmer, fur trapper, lumberjack, frontiersmen, mountain men, mississippi rivermen, sodhouse pioneers. the Hatfield clan, Klondike, COWBOYS 1875-1940 and their equipment, urban fashions 1900-1925. 1800 illustrations by writer Douglas Gorsline. Library # 52-12392

    Sounds like a GREAT story- will look for it!!

  6. Hi Elizabeth!

    Sam is always a bright way to start a day, huh? 😉

    1906–wow. Sounds very exciting! GUNSLINGER is set in 1883. I tried to do some quick research on actually dressmakers so that Lily could be specific, but I had a horrible time trying to find information on any distinct shops and dressmakers. Here’s a couple interesting links I’d found:
    http://www.zpub.com/sf/history/
    http://www.civilization.ca/hist/hats/hatbib_e.html

    I have ON THE WINGS OF LOVE in my TBR pile—looking forward to finishing this WIP so I can read it 😉

  7. Hi Mary! You are right…you just can’t go wrong with Sam Elliot 🙂 I’ve loved EVERY movie he’s been in–even the contemp films like his detective role with Whoopi Golburg…Sam in black leatehr…he melted me in that one 😉

    I often forget to dress my characters as well *lol*

    A list of research links is a great idea! I do believe a few fillies have have listed some in the Primrose News Office. I’ll have to remember to see about adding the clothing links 🙂

  8. LOL Terry! I heard him too 😉

    I really had fun combing through all the dress sites. I used Google images as well, to help me track them down. That sharp imagery is so helpful. You are right about the abundance of Regencey/Victorian sites. I had this one site that was repilica site, where they made the period clothing…but I’ve misplaced it 🙁 If I happen to find it, I’ll post it — they had men and women’s clothing–just a amazing. Made me want to attend a costume party *g*

    Thank you, Terry! GUNSLINGER will be out in July. I’m hoping to get the cover in the next couple weeks 😉

  9. Stacey, I didn’t know those links were there in the Primrose News Office. Thank you. As easy as it is to Google things, sometimes you have to wade through a lot of Wrong Sites before you find what you need.

  10. Hi Lucky Lou! Thank you for the great resources 🙂 I also love the Eye Witness books – they’re histoircal pictionaries with all the diagrams and detail on the photos. I have one on Cowboys, Indians, Civil War, Trains, Wild West, Presidents, Farm, Hors…and since they’re geared toward kids, the info is easily absorbed *g*

    Thank you for posting 🙂

  11. Sam Elliott – oh, yes!

    Interesting subject, how to properly dress one’s
    characters. You are obviously doing a great job
    because I haven’t come across any unintentionally
    (is that a word?) undressed characters!

    Pat Cochran

  12. I’m a frilly, lacy, colorful kind of girl. Great pics and I like the idea of her clothing helping to define her character, even as she softens up later in the story. When does this book come out?

  13. Sam….*sigh* 😉

    I love looking at those dresses Stacey. I love the traveling coat, and the blue dress. If those dresses could talk, I bet they would have some fasinating stories to share.

    I think “dressing” a character can really tell us a lot about them sometimes.

    I can’t wait to read Gunslinger!!!

  14. In my head Sam is saying, “Show me what Lily has in the carpet bag, little lady.”

    Stacey I loved this and plan to find some time to check out thise sites–thansk for the links!

  15. Hi Missy! And yeah, I’d love to know the history of those dresses 🙂

    Thank you for stopping in to share.

    I’m hoping I’ll have the GUNSLINGER cover in the next week or two–I’ll be posting as soon as I do *LOL*

  16. I know I’m late commenting, but I just had to. I could actully HEAR Sam Eliott (whom I love) saying “Lets see what Lily has in her carpetbag.” LOL

    What great clothing sites you listed – I love them! I know what I’ll be doing for the next couple of hours! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

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