Thanks to Liz for the idea for this blog, for sending me some photos of horrific hoop skirts and crinolines women used to have to wear. I was casting around for a blog idea and it made me think about Jean and DJ. Now, in BELLE CHASSE, that mythical book that really does exist somewhere out in publisher land, DJ spends more than half the book at Jean Lafitte’s house in Barataria or his secret bachelor pad in Old Orleans (those of you who read JACKSON SQUARE know of that one!).
The Elders are watching her house and they’re watching Alex, so she has no choice but to allow Jean and Rene to pick out her wardrobe for much of the book. Poor woman. I won’t reveal what Rene picked out for her because it’s one of my favorite parts of the book and I start laughing at the thought of it, but I thought I should share a bit of research into what Jean would provide for her–and what the pirate himself might be wearing.
First, let’s look at what DJ will NOT wear, because Jean tried to get them on her back in ELYSIAN FIELDS. There’s the infamous crotchless pantaloons, which he insisted were most practical and worn by the finest women but DJ would have nothing to do with them:
She also refuses to wear this after the humiliation of having put it on backward in ELYSIAN FIELDS, plus it’s uncomfortable, she says, and I have no reason to doubt her.
She isn’t going out for fancy dinners, things being in their usual chaotic state, so Jean picked out a “day dress” for her that she groused was stiff and uncomfortable and, because she refused to wear the above garment, made her look more pregnant than Eugenie. Any woman larger than a twig who has worn an empire dress can sympathize. This one has more of a waist than hers, but it’s similar. She loathes it. Jean finds it quite pleasing, especially once he realizes the pantalets are missing.
And what would our pirate be wearing? I always have him in a white tunic and black pants and boots, much like this early 18th-century gentleman’s outfit minus the coat (except for special occasions):
This is said to be more common for a well-dressed pirate of the early 19th century:
There are no existing photographs of Monsieur Lafitte, but in a couple of illustrations claimed to be from his era, he is wearing a very similar outfit. I seriously doubt he had skull and crossbones on the top of his boots, as he never ever ever ever admitted to being a pirate.
Ah, but what would our fair gentleman be wearing beneath those trousers? Apparently, something sexy like this:
And if Jean and DJ were to go on a dinner date (although the last one didn’t turn out too well, having been interrupted by an elf), they might dress like this:
So, what do you think? DJ and I think women got the short end of the proverbial stick in the fashion department and she’s probably going to have to rely on Rene for most of her wardrobe choices in BELLE CHASSE, God help her.
What do you think the merman would pick out for her?