Fashion Faux-Pas?

Lady Loyal,

My father and I disagree, and I’m writing to you to ask your help in resolving matters.

It is important, in our position, for me to be seen as a lady of fashion and discernment. As such, I try to wear the latest styles to set a noble example for the lesser ladies of the court and the city. Sometimes, in service to fashion, the cloth of silver could be a bit overgenerous, a hood might be lined with ermine, or poulaines extend a bit too long. On the occasions such indiscretions attract notice and attract unfortunate carry-tales – the city magistrates have presented Lord Father with fines in violation of the sumptuary laws.

We can easily afford to pay such fines every day. Pfft… they’re baubling, really. But my blockish Father still objects, in principle. He considers such to be ill-advised peacockery, and would have me dress as the fustilarian matrons of the town.

In frustration,
Fashion Forward


Dear Fashion Forward,

It is indeed important to be seen for who you are.  As you state that you are “a lady of fashion and discernment,” certain items of clothing are vital to your personage.  And if, as you say, your father has funds sufficient to pay the fines for violation of sumptuary laws, why should you not show off your best side?  That being said, I must admit that I concur with your noble father in one thing: poulaines are, indeed, silly.

You do not say that you crave either cloth of Gold or an entire caplet of ermine, therefore I must surmise that you are a sensible child who does not seek to needlessly beggar her father’s coffers.  I wonder, though, why your father is being charged with these violations?   If you are truly of the highest levels of society, these laws should not apply to you. Indeed, it is your holy duty to dress as befits your station.  The city (and church!) fathers merely seek to impose order such that the lower classes may easily be discerned at a glance, thus allowing a noble lady such as yourself to avoid such persons in favor of gentler company.

I suspect, dear lady, that your father is having a go at you.  Some of the older generation, lamenting their own lost youth, seek to deny their children those things lost.  The sooner you are married and are mistress of your own house, the better, in my opinion.  I would strongly recommend that you get yourself to court immediately, there to make a fortuitous match.  Once so installed, with servants of your own, you may dress your household according to their station while you oversee the creation of an entirely new wardrobe for yourself–one becoming of a married lady of status.

I am sure that your father will heartily approve of this plan!