August 8th, 2011

Getting Dressed in the 1910s

Setting: Alternate world society floating somewhere around the tech levels of the early 20th century -- almost steampunk.

Search Attempts: Googled "Getting dressed in 1910", "what did women wear as underwear in 1910","Edwardian gowns", etc. Also went through little-details 1910 tag. Also found this kind of awesome WSJ article on getting (un)dressed for historical romance writers
 
I'm just looking to verify/add to my research a few other things about womens undergarments and getting dressed in in an Edwardian style gown.

My character is a young woman in her twenties from one of the richest families in the country and very much shows that in her style of dress. She and her maid are getting her dressed for the day and I'm trying to figure out a) what does she wear under the gown besides a petticoat, corset, and stockings? And b) What should the dress itself look like? Steampunk takes a lot artistic license with clothing, but though I'm allowing some anachronisms to show that the society has developed a bit differently, I want to remain as historically accurate as possible. I'm leaning towards something similar to this traveling suit, but that says it's Victorian era and, again, it's steampunk.
 
What I really want to avoid is anything overly fluffy. As much as I like the big gowns, she needs to be fairly mobile. If what I've read is right, Edwardian dresses are much narrower and less space consuming, but I want to be sure that it's what a high class lady would wear. 
 
Also, one last clarification -- The story is NOT steampunk, for all that it's got elements of it. I'm really trying to avoid the trappings of steampunk.

Mandarin Chinese women's names and changing names (+ Chinese lipreading question)

Setting: I am writing a story set in the Firefly verse, which is a far-future space western setting positing a kind of US/China fusion becoming the dominant culture. The show itself doesn't do the best job of selling the fusion, and yes, the Mandarin on the show is mangled and they wouldn't speak modern Mandarin (or modern English...yet they pretty much do) 500 years from now, but that's beside the point for my question.

Search Attempts: I searched on "Chinese names" (some info on naming customs, not anything that answered my questions) "Chinese women's names" and so on. I also asked a friend of mine who is a fairly fluent Mandarin speaker, but she said "I don't know, you should ask a native speaker." Pretty much all of these questions are the kind that require a person to answer.

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