The Blue Group 
(from l. to r.)
 Zimarra (coat) and  Gammura (dress):
Italian, Circa 1550
Middle Class Bodice and Skirt with chemise: 
English or French, 
Circa 1570
 Silver-gray Gown with set of ruffs, 
Based on the Darnley Portrait of 
Queen Elizabeth I, 
English: Circa 1570
Bodice and Skirt, 
English: Circa 1630
Blue gown with beaded sleeves and Bodice: 
Italian, Circa 1495

Historical Clothing

Teal Group
(l. to r.) 

Man's Tunic, Belt and Robe:
Polish, Circa 1740

Woman's Gown,
English: from the Court of King Charles I,
Circa 1749

Author of Historical Fiction and Historical Romance

The Green Group
Gamurra (dress), 
Italian, circa 1600
Man's Doublet and Breeches: 
Italian, Circa 1530

The Black and White Group 
(from l. to r.)
Man's Suit: English, Circa 1570
Woman's Gown, based on Portrait of
a Eleonora de Toledo by Bronzino,  Florentine: 
Circa 1550
Man's Doublet and breeches:
Italian, Circa 1530
Woman's Gown
Venetian, Circa 1495

Man's Doublet: Italian, Circa 1495

Monica E. Spence

The Red Group 
(l. to r.) 

Gown: Florentine, Based on a Portrait of Laura Battiferri, Circa 1557-1558
Man's suit, Florentine, Based on Garcia De Medici's Grave Clothes, Circa 1540
Gown: Florentine, Based on a Portrait of Lucrezia Panciatrichi, Circa 1540

I have been creating historical clothing since the eighth grade-- in other words, a  *loooong*  time ago. 

Since I construct these garments as well as wear them, I am helped  immeasurably  to get the clothing facts correct in my Historical Fiction and Historical Romance. And though I write fiction, I really prefer it be "fact-ion"-- that is, the incidents and items described in the story should be based on fact. 

I confess to taking shortcuts: doing the long seams (for example: the skirt seams) by machine, because I am not a full-time dressmaker and/or employ a staff of servants to care for our ancestral castle. I also believe in making the wearer as comfortable as possible within the "look" and proper fit of a period garment. (I promised my husband to never again sew 3mm. pearls on the *seat* of his pants). However, the below garments are done with a great deal of hand finishing and embellishment. No hot glue guns for me! No sirree Bob! So, when I state that every bead is sewn on individually, and every aglet is crimped by yours truly, you can be assured I have the sore fingers to prove it. 

Because readers want authentic detail in books, wearing historic clothing gives me an ability to tell my readers  exactly what they need to know about the clothing of the period?  How can you really explain how it feels to maneuver under all that fabric, or how  each layer feels against your skin, or the weight of the garment as you put it on, or how a corset constricts the body if you never wear the stuff? 

Please scroll down to see some of my favorite pieces, which were displayed in the gallery areas of the Art Institute of New York City.​