Blogging from A to Z: Y is for Yellow

Samuel stepped out onto the balcony. Clytie was pressed against the balustrade, trembling in terror.

Clyties_Caller“The last time I saw you, you were wearing a lovely dress. What do you girls call that jolly shade of yellow again?”

“Primrose,” Samuel said as he stepped forward. “And she can no longer stand the color.”

Matthews stared at him. — From my Regency novella, Clytie’s Caller.

yAs with all things, colors go in and out of fashion.  In the early 20th C., here in the United States, one such color was called Alice blue, after Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who favored the shade.  There was even a song written about it, “Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown.”

Wild Flower Pink Evening Primrose Yellow
Wild Evening Primrose, public domain photo via Creative Commons

During the Regency, fashionable colors included puce, a maroon almost the color of dried blood … and named for fleas, of all things, and bottle green — the ingredients for which included arsenic.  Since dyes were not colorfast, you can imagine the eventual result.

Primrose yellow was another fashionable color during the era, and its name came from the wild evening primrose plant’s blossoms.  Nowadays, most primroses are hybrids, and you only find the color at the center.  In any event, ladies of fashion often wore this golden yellow tone in day dresses, evening gowns, etc.

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