Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

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sally
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Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by sally »

Is there such a thing as a book or website that details what one whould wear for different social occasions for any given year during the Victorian period?

I'm having no problem tracking down fashion plates and suchlike for any date, and there is loads of info for the very upper end of society, but its info on expected changes for more ordinary people - for example did going to an academic lecture in the early evening call for daywear or restrained evening wear, or if one was say a governess in a wealthy household, were you expected to wear the same costume on all occasions when accompanying your pupil or were you expected to alter the dresscode. Or if you were a middle class woman, what variety of costumes might you expect to have access to and for what occasions would you change to something other than a day dress.

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Re: Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by Miss Costello »

I've found some fantastci resources on Elizabeth Stewart Clarks website, the forum is excellent too. Has a somewhat stringent membership process, (you have to tell them a bit about yourself and what your interests are re costuming) but don't be put off they are a lovely crowd. Mainly American but really friendly.)

http://www.thesewingacademy.com/ (website)
http://thesewingacademy.org/ (forum)


Also got a reading list of my own for impressions from 1850-1860 if that's any use?

Kate

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Shadowcat
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Re: Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by Shadowcat »

As far as the Governess goes, I believe - no proof - that she would adjust her dress according to what she was accompanying her charges to. So, visiting a museum, smart day clothes, visiting rich aunt Mabel, smart morning clothes, chaperoning the young ladies at a party, evening clothes etc. All those would be fashionable, but not so much that she stood out. A difficult situation for her, as it would be disaster to be mistaken for one of the family, but equally, she should not be seen as a poor relation (even if she was!)

Suzi

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Re: Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by Miss Costello »

Very true, there are some lovely examples of 'plain' daywear at the Bronte Museum in Haworth..I've restricted my wardrobe to just two dresses to start with. (both mourning) one polished cotton day dress and a smarter, but still very simple taffetta dress. Both a trimmed in matte embellishments and I covered a plain bonnet from Serena at Dressing history.

However, I did buckle and buy some lovely printed cotton from Bernie at the ILHF too.... :$

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sally
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Re: Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by sally »

any ideas on 'businesslike early evening' situations? I'm thinking a scenario such as attending a lecture or a book club, the sort of thing that earnest young women of academic inclination and independant but far from wealthy means might go to? Later end of the spectrum datewise. (in this case I'm just starting to cook up some ideas of costuming to go with a new series of lectures I'm writing, and I want to be able to talk about changes in my topic across the Victorian period, so it makes sense to dress from the 1890s probably)

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Re: Victorian 'what to wear when' resources?

Post by Shadowcat »

I have some nice original patterns, transcribed by Kristina Harris in a paperback book - can't remember the name - late Victorian. You can have it as a gift if we can get it to you - I resent postal costs!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0486283577?tag ... 31H2JKQ46A&

Suzi

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Post by frances »

Hi Sally,

1890's going to a talk - a smart suit in good tweed or dull colours like strong greys or browns. Definitely a hat and gloves, a small piece of jewellery at the neck and a shirt which could be white or an electric colour - blue, fuchsia or even green. The sleeves change a lot over the 1890's - later on they have a small high puff, earlier tend to be larger puffs in different styles. Big lapels on jackets are characteristic, often trimmed in vivid colours that clash with the main material.

Some books have cartoon outlines of the changes in silhouette that outfits go through throughout the century.

I do talks and exhibitions on Victorian ladies-wear, as well as making and wearing the clothes. Anything else that you would like to know?

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