A very popular accessory, you can hardly do a search for Regency attire without several images of woman adorned with a fichu popping up. Not to be confused with chemisettes, a type of false blouse, today’s version of a dickey, a fichu’s primary use was to fill in the neckline of a gown to create a more modest appearance.
Worn underneath or over the bodice, a fichu was little more than a kerchief, often pinned with a brooch, tied creatively, or tucked inside the bodice—hence the reason they were also called “tuckers.” Much more popular for day use, fichus were worn by the more conservative ladies forevening events as well.
The accessory ranged from the simplest square cloth, folded in half, to exquisite triangular or curved lace creations. Often made of lawn, muslin, or netting, many were embroidered, ruffled, ruched, or edged with lace or scalloped.
Women were quite creative in their use of the accoutrement too, knowing just how to fold the fichu to expose the desired amount of flesh.
Blythe Culpepper in SCHEMES GONE AMISS, Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper, Book 2, wishes she had one to cover the expanse of flesh exposed above her ball gown.
I’m wondering though, if one didn’t pin them, did the darn things keep coming untucked? I can’t imagine a proper young woman stuffing the frilly garment back inside her cleavage in full view of all.
Intrepid and outspoken, Blythe Culpepper is dragged against her will to London for a Season. To her dismay, her guardian enlists the devilishly attractive Lord Leventhorpe, the one man she detests, to assist with her Come Out. Since their first encounter, hostile looks and cutting retorts have abounded whenever they meet, yet she cannot deny the way her body reacts when he’s near. So perhaps it’s no surprise that upon overhearing another woman scheming to entrap Tristan into marriage, Blythe risks all to warn him.
Haunted by childhood trauma, Tristan, the austere and controlled Marquis of Leventhorpe, usually avoids social gatherings. So why, against his better judgement, does he agree to aid his closet friend in presenting the Culpeppers to the ton? Might it be because one Culpepper stirs more than his interest? Blythe taxes him to his limits with her sharp wit and even sharper tongue. Yet, he cannot deny the beauty fascinates him. However, when an old enemy comes calling, using Blythe to settle old scores, Tristan must decide if protecting his honor is more important than winning the heart of the woman he has come to love.
A simple teardrop-shaped beryl pendant nestled at the juncture of her breasts, and Blythe pressed a hand to the expanse of flesh exposed above her wide, square neckline. Did she dare tug the bodice higher? After dressing, she’d attempted to, but the fabric had remained stubbornly form-fitting, the slopes of her bosoms pushed skyward for the world to ogle at their leisure.
Repressing a scornful grunt, she tipped her mouth a fraction. In twenty years, the smallish, twin pillows had never garnered much ogling. Probably little need to fret in that regard.
Tripping over her gown remained an entirely different matter.
Her secondhand garments had always been too short for her tall frame. Since exiting the carriage, this ball gown—its sheer silk overdress atop the yellow jonquil swirling about her feet—had become snared thrice upon her slippers’ decorated tops.
She would have to endure these outings for the remainder of the Season, and she didn’t relish sprawling, bum upward, before the ton’s denizens. Tapping her fan against her thigh, she estimated how many public jaunts the Season might entail and hid an unladylike groan behind an indelicate cough.
God spare her.
The instant the final dance note faded, she planned on trotting back to the country’s quiet civility—to the humble, familiar way of life she preferred. Or perhaps she’d contrive
Releases February 1, 2016
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