Quirk Look: How to Dress Like a Victorian

Posted by Sandra Woolf

Happy birthday, Mary Shelley! In honor of the Queen of gothic literature, here are a few ways you can dress like your favorite Victorian. We hope you like tons of lace and the color black.


Let's start with accessories. Cameos were popular in Victorian times. They were hand carved and worn as a brooch or a ring. The subject was usually of a young woman, as seen above. You can find cameos in most vintage shops or over on Etsy where this lovely antique cameo was found. As they say, jewelry is a Victorian girl’s best friend!


One must never overexert one’s self. To stay cool, Victorian ladies used elaborately decorated paper and feather fans. The fans were worn on the side and used to block the glare of the sun when outdoors. Hidden messages could be sent to gentleman admirers with small gestures. This was to combat the strict moral etiquette. You can find gorgeous replica fans on sites like Sapphire & Sage that specialize in historical accessories.


Etiquette dictated that evening gloves were mandatory in Victorian times. A lady did not appear in public without them. Think of the scandal! Made of silk and lace, these gloves reached well past ones elbow. Nowadays you can still order custom gloves, mostly just to go to the opera. However, over on Etsy you can find elegant gloves that won’t break the bank.


No Victorian assembly would be complete without some serious head bling. Either worn to the side or with a veil, hats were all the rage in Victorian times. You would wear a bonnet or top hat to protect your stylish up-do from the elements. Fascinators were also popular and were lavishly decorated with feathers and jewels. Don't keep your head bare any longer—RoseleinRarities has all your Victorian head wear needs covered! (No pun intended.)


Last, but not least is the parasol. Victorian ladies hated freckles more than anything! To protect their lily white skin they used parasols wherever they went. These small umbrellas were made of silk and lace. You can still find parasols in shops such as Ladies Emporium. You too can take a leisurely stroll with your beau without the fear of sun blemishes!

Sandra Woolf

Sandra Woolf

Sandra Woolf lives in the PNW where she haunts bookshops and library sales. Freelancer by day, horror movie lover by night. Writing inquires can go to what lovely books at gmail or just to ask her how her hairy is so bouncy.