Risky Regencies

Eccentric Glamour, Etc

This week, I am still suffering from Post Conference Brain Freeze, plus Near Deadline Dementia, so I have not much left over for blogging. No research tidbits. No writing tips. No new lipsticks or perfumes to recommend. Naught. Zilch.
So, I will turn for help to a very amusing book I recently read, Simon Doonan’s Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You. Not only will it give you a laugh, it just might also help in constructing the perfect Eccentrically Fabulous (hereafter referred to as EG) heroine!

Mr. Doonan, like many of us, deplores the new trend for “fake hair extensions, fake nails, fake spray tans, fake lips, and fake boobs.” He implores women everywhere to “seek out eccentrically glamorous alternatives to the ubiquitous cheapness and tackiness that currently pass for personal style. Banish the badonkadonkdonk! Say no to porno chic! Say no to ho! And yes to Eccentric Glamour.” He gives us profiles of various modern EG women like Dita Von Teese, Tilda Swinton, and Lucy Liu, and tells us the best way to find our own EG style. It’s easier than you might think, as there are really only 3 routes to EG (with a few sub-genres. Sort of like “historical romantic suspense,” or “urban fantasy Harlequin Presents” if you will). They are:

1) The Gypsy
This is for those who are “a hazy, lazy, rustic, poetic, ethereal free spirit,” or have always wanted to be. “There is much to recommend the Gypsy lifestyle. First, it’s incredibly romantic. You can be wild. You can be tempestuous. You can be Carmen.”

There is the Euro-glam Gypsy. The Isadora Gypsy (I like this one! Doonan says “She wears panne velvet and vintage lace and medieval-ish robes and turbans a la Edith Sitwell. She adores massive rings, beading, and devoree velvet.” She also spends a lot of time “contemplating the translucency of an Art Nouveau vase on the Portobello Road.”) And there is the Green Gypsy (think Natalie Portman), and the Hollywood Gypsy (who claim Ali McGraw as their patron saint).

2) The Socialite

“Of all the three styles, the Socialite has the least amount of eccentricity. Her style has a classic panache. She herself is not particularly creative. She leaves that to the Valentinos, Lagerfelds, and Puccis of the world,” but “she has a wicked wit.” Jackie Kennedy, Babe Paley, and CZ Guest “are the primordial ooze from which all subsequent Socialites emerged.”

3) The Existentialist

“This is the edgy, belligerent, provocative, creative face of eccentric glamour,” Doonan tells us. “There are no A-list celeb Existentialists: Jennifer Connelly and Charlotte Gainsbourg are about as close as it gets. The Existentialist is an angry rebel who eschews the superficiality of contemporary culture.”

Their variables include: The Existentialist Gamine (think Audrey Hepburn at the beginning of Funny Face. “There’s nothing quite like a black turtleneck to suggest an inner life, even where there may be none”). There is also the Rive Gauche Existentialist (“The elder sister of the Gamine”); the Existentialist Garconne (think Garbo and Dietrich!); and the Existentialist Ghoul. But be careful when trying the Ghoul–“Adopting this kind of scary look limits your social interaction to those who are dressed exactly as you and is therefore recommended only for the very young.”

Once we have found our EG niche, Doonan urges us to “Go forth and shop!” That, I can do. I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I fit on the EG continuum. I think I am a bit of an Isadora Gypsy/Existentialist Gamine, but that changes every day. The heroine of my WIP, Thalia Chase (the third of the “Muses of Mayfair”) is definitely a Gypsy. Her sisters Calliope and Clio, the heroines of Books One and Two, were respectively a Socialite and an Existentialist. They have definitely banished the badonkadonkdonk! (Or whatever the Regency equivalent would be…)

Now, it’s your turn. What kind of EG are you? What about favorite heroines (either from your own writing or for favorite books)? For instance, it’s pretty clear Jane Eyre is an Existentialist, but what is Elizabeth Bennet??? Discuss! (and be sure and join us next week as we celebrate our 3rd birthday! Lots of prizes and fun)
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Hi Amanda,

I’m clearly the socialite, although at times, I’ve tried out the romantic gypsy look (shades of Art Nouveau). I love the classic look of the thirties, forties and fifties, which is why I spend way too much time drooling over Nanette Lepore and Diane von Furstenberg.

Cara King
14 years ago

I think I’m off the list. Call me type pi or something.

pi) The Weirdo
“You love thrift store fashions, the weirder the better — but somehow when you get them home, they never fit (or you decide they’re too revealing.) In desperation, you make a shopping trip to Sears and buy all black clothes, only to get them home and find they’re all different shades of black. The true secret of your type: you have a gremlin under the bed bewitching your clothes, because he wants you to stay home all day in your robe and read to him.”


Megan Frampton
14 years ago

I think I’m the Existentialist, at least, I would like to THINK I am.

As for heroines and their types–hm. I think my favorite heroine types would likely fit into that category, too. I admire the Gypsy, but can never, ever pull it off.

Good luck with deadlines, Amanda!

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“Good luck with deadlines, Amanda!”

Thanks, Megan! I’m getting there–somehow winding up a story always ends up being the hardest part for me. And it doesn’t help that the massive September “Vogue” arrived today, and is a perfect excuse for wasting of time.

Maybe, since tonight is a full moon, it’s time for the Gypsy to come out and perform some kind of spell involving drumming, dancing, and burning of things to evoke efficiency in writing…

Cara, LOL!!

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

I’m definitely a gypsy socialite and not a existentialist.

It seems as if my passion for shopping for clothes increases as the RWA conference approaches. Afterward it falls off dramatically.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I tried the classic gypsy look. I doubt I could like the classic socialite. Existential, hm. Might work. For the most, I’m me: style-less.

Speaking of clothes, Ammanda, hope you have yourself photographed in all your day and evening clothes from SF. I’d love to see pictures. The little that I saw you, you were always so impeccably and smartly dressed. I loved that.

Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

That is a tough one. I think I am a sort of gypsy/socialite. Many of my opera singing days outfits were very gypsy, but with that touch of classic socialite. For conference I think I went more socialite than gypsy. Unfortunately my day job necessitates I dress as All American DRAB! YUCK!

I think Elizabeth Bennett would be more Gypsy than anything else.

Now next year for conference is that no matter what style I choose I will be choosing it two sizes smaller than this year!! Wish me luck. And choosing it as a published and / or agented author wouldn’t be bad either!

Maire Jolie
14 years ago

Dita Von Teese? Sign me up. What a hot little thing I wold be. . . . But corsets everyday? Oh dear. I’m not sure my insides would withstand it!

Elinor of Sense And S definite socialite
Marianne definite Gypsy

Elizabeth, oh boy I do think she’s up in the air….

The outfit I wear to work? Definite tart….

Cara! You must not be so sweet to me. You shall only encourage my ramblings…. Oh and isn’t it rude how many shades of black there are?

14 years ago

I go with a style I like to call “Professorial Chic.”

Wow. I’ve just realized that if you try to hold the words “Professor” and “Chic” in your mind at the same time, you risk having your head explode. What a mess!


Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Keira, I can’t tell you how much better you have made me feel! Considering I’ve been sitting here at my desk all weekend in my old faded cotton Hello Kitty pants with my hair sticking up all over the place. 🙂

Louisa, now that I have met you “in person,” I think if you lost 2 dress sizes we would no longer be able to see you. 🙂

Maire, totally agree on Elinor and Marianne–Socialite and Gypsy. I think Catherine Morland would be a Gypsy, too, and Anne Elliot maybe an Existentialist. Emma a Socialite. I just can’t make up my mind about Elizabeth…

14 years ago

I’d have to say I was the socialite. Shoes and purse must match. And if we still wore gloves and hats, those too would have to match. Though I don’t get stymed with natural fibers, the material and workmanship of my clothes are important.

Blame it on my mother who is a seamstress and a perfectionist.

That being said, I wear black jeans, a white Polo shirt with our logo on it and a hat from our meat purveyor when I go to work.

See, not always the socialite.

Hey, wait a minute…..

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Looks like I’m the first one here.


Love, love, adore, love the new site design. Kudos to Haven Rich for all the hard work.

14 years ago

Nice digs! I love what you’ve all done with the place. I can’t believe it’s been three years! Time sure flies and we have been having fun – right?

14 years ago

Love the changes to the blog.Looks nice. I fall in the socialite category.

Tracy Grant
14 years ago

Love the new look of the site!

And love the blog–clothes are one of my favorite topics :-). I think I’m a gypsy-with-a-bit-of-socialite. I think my heroine Mélanie is too. And I think Elizabeth would probably be a gypsy-with-a-bit-of-eistentialist, while Jane would be a socialite.

Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x