What to Wear to a Titanic Event

For you lucky folks attending a Titanic event this year and want to dress the era look no further. The guide will cover a brief history of the fashion, options to buy ready made clothing, new clothing, and advice for sewing your own clothing.

Dressing for the Titanic:

You may decide just to invest in one luxurious outfit for a formal party or perhaps several options for day and evening wear. In either case be prepared to spend a small fortune on clothing and accessories. Vintage clothes from this time are rare and very expensive not to mention probably not in your size range. Ready made clothes may be a little less costly depending on the supplier. Sewing your own outfit can be the most affordable option if you choose reasonably priced fabric and trim. Throughout the guide I will give you tips and advice on how to make items for free to very little cost. An example of this is my How to Make a Titanic Swim Dress for $20 of Less.

Titanic 1912 Mens Fashion

Click here for Men’s Day Wear or Evening formal wear or Shoes.

1912 Fashion History- Women

1911 Walking Suits with Picture Hats and Paraols


1912 Edouard Touraine Print

1912 Dresses

1911 tea gowns

1911 Edwardian Clothing

1912 fashions were part of the larger Edwardian Era and it’s subset the La Belle Epoque. It was a time of transitions from the large bustles and corseted dresses of the Victorian era to the boyish, flat chested roaring 20’s. 1910-1914 was especially unique. The corset became long and rectangular giving the dress a tube shape. Although free from the excessive layers of petticoats in the Victorian era women were not free from the strict social classes and dictated etiquette. Clothing showed these restrictions. For example the hobble skirt was a popular long, narrow dress skirt which allowed for only small tiny steps. This kept a women looking dainty and doll like. The amount of ornamentation on gowns- the extensive hand beading on dinner dresses- or the ornate jewelry that accompany a first class woman’s wardrobe was a sign of very wealthy times. The Titanic herself was a showcase of extravagant spending and with her sinking ended such opulence. The coming war eventually sent the world into a much more conservative state, at least for a few years.

Edwardian titanic costume clothingBesides being long, narrow, and expensively decorated women’s clothing was heavily influenced by the orient. Japan was a newly discovered world by westerners. Men collected all things “Japanese” such as swords while the ladies swooned over oriental silk materials and clothing designs. The Kimono influenced dress styles (most of Rose’s day dresses in the Titanic movie were Kimono style) and men’s smoking jackets took on the one button fastening just like Japanese robes. Even the hobble skirt was influenced by the Japanese Geisha who walked in very small steps.

These extreme fashions were mostly worn by young women. The mature ladies didn’t fully embrace the new fashion. Instead they wore fashions that resembled early Edwardian times: Large puffed out blouses with puffy shoulders and narrow long sleeves, attached to a full length a-line skirt with ruffles at the bottom.

One thing that didn’t change much throughout the Edwardian era were the hats. These huge monstrosities of lace, feathers, ribbon and stuffed birds required slow movement and a steady walk to keep balanced.

More Resources

www.bustledress.com See Antique Titanic era dresses for sale. The sold items are still listed so you can see what original dresses looked like.

Image search for 1911 dresses and 1912 dresses

Besides watching the various Titanic movies and documentaries for costume examples be sure to watch season one of Downton Abbey and My Fair Lady. It is sent during 1912, the same year Titanic sank, and features many gorgeous costumes with large hats, hobble skirts, and Asian inspired finery. The color of the gowns (mostly white) is historically inaccurate but the shape, style, and accessories are very much in line with the 1912-1913 designs.

Shopping Advice

Edwardain Tea Dress Costume shop VintageDancer.com/1900s

Edwardian tea dress costume plan

Since the La Belle Epoque years of fashion were so few, compared to the many decades of Victorian dress, the sources and options for buying premade clothing is small. What is available in the Edwardian era tends to focus on the early Edwardian times and the Gibson Girl look. That look has long a-line dark skirts with a light colored blouse and wide belt or  long white Lacey ruffled garden dresses. These are OK to wear for the Titanic event. These styles still would have been worn by 2nd and 3rd class women. First class women would not have worn these so I would decide what class you want to represent and buy accordingly.

Titanic Style dresses at VintageDancer.com

Shop Titanic Inspired Dresses at Wardrobe Shop

I love to browse online for historical clothing. I especially like to find new clothing with elements of historical style. My finds are usually for accessories such as shawls, shoes, and jewelry.  Start with the Edwardian Titanic shopping page where you can view everything at once and then click on the image to be taken directly to the retailer to buy the item. The quality of these items vary from inexpensive “costume / fancy dress” items to more authentic reproduction items. You should be able to find what you need within your budget. If you have trouble finding something please leave a comment or contact me so I can help you.

Edwardian Titanic Reproduction Clothes


Wardrobe Shop – My favorites online site that carry Nataya dresses. Romantic tea dresses and wedding gowns. See these and more options of Edwardian day day and evening gowns here. 

Recollections. biz – I don’t normally like their clothes because they are mostly made of a a stuff quilters cotton but they also have some new chiffon dresses which are perfect.

Premierclothing.com – Pretty Tea length gowns from around 1912/titanic times. Also beautiful blouses and skirts for early Edwardian or a middle class look.

revampvintage – Has a small assortment of Edwardian era clothing that changes annually.

fashionsintime – has three lovely Late Edwardian dress designs.


Add the final accessories to your costume. Consider a hat or hair comb,  fan, small purse or bag, walking cane, and of course jewelry. A few more essentials are:


Read the History of Titanic Era Hats

Recollections.biz Has several nice Edwardian hats, gloves, lace shawls and parasols. Even the ones labeled Victorian will do well for this event.

www.eastangelharbor.com Edwardian Hats- Big and Beautiful

http://www.etsy.com/shop/madamehatsy Madame Hatsy- makes and sells a wide variety of historical hats

Edwardian style new hats- Some are decorated but most are plain- perfect for adding you own flowers, feathers and bows.


It was a sign of wealth and status for a lady to have fair skin. in meant she wasn’t like a laborer who toiled for work in the sun. Therefore it was important that a lady carry a parasol with her while traveling outdoors. Solid fabric or lace parasols were an everyday accessory for women.

My Victorian parasols page – Links to shop some great Victorian style parasols and umbrellas online.

www.lace-parasols.com – Gorgeous lace parasols. Also a few lace gloves and satchels.

Amazon.com- A variety of very nice lace parasols in assorted colors and qualities.


Edwardain style lace gloves at vintagedancer.com

Mesh gloves are perfect for summer

For day or evening a woman always wore gloves. Day wear required dark or light kid leather gloves to match the outfit. In the summer lace gloves could be worn as well (and they are much more breathable than leather.) For evening wear long white or cream kid leather gloves were preferred. Some fancy gloves were made of suede or silk and embroidered with lavish designs. Shop gloves here.

TIP: The only time gloves could be taken off were when a lady was putting food in or eliminating food from her body :)


Nataya Edwardian tea dress with sequined shawl from Bohomonde

Edwardian tea dress with sequined shawl from Bohomonde

A silk embroidered shawl was  common accessory for both day and evening. Cool weather aboard the Titanic required a layer of warmth with style.  Silk shawls or wraps were solid or patterned prints with tassels or beaded fringe along the bottom. They could be standard size shawls, like today’s wraps, or larger cocoon shaped velvet capes. Kimono jackets were also common. There has been a resurgence of fancy silk shawls over the last few years. They are still  easy to find in a variety of colors to match your outfit. These new shawls and wraps work well for Titanic costumes.

Titanic Shoes


1900-1920 Shoes

Titanic era shoes include lace up or button up tall boots with a french heel (think granny boots or witches’ boots.) These came in black, brown, ivory white or dyed to match a dress. Silk pumps with a low heel were called “slippers” and were a formal dinner shoe. Low heel Mary Jane shoes with one to four straps were also common for evening shoes.  The working class often wore lace up oxfords or canvas Mary Jane shoes. Learn more about Edwardian era shoes or shop  Edwardian style shoes here. 


Make Your Own Titanic Dress

www.gbacg.org Excellent article on sewing a dress for the 1900 “teens.” A good history read even if you are buying a dress.

The above article talks about fabrics to use with your patterns. I want to add that since oriental fabrics were in vogue you should consider using a Chinese, Japanese or even Indian silk fabric. Sari fabric is a favorite with Titanic costumers.

Edwardian Titanic Clothes Patterns

Past patterns- Look for dress patterns from the 1910-1912  years

www.longago.com Large collection of Edwardian era patterns.

Hintofhistory – Basic pattern for 3 Kimono style Dresses that you can download today.

vintagefashionlibrary – Has a small but unique selection of Reproduction patterns out

of print.

Butterick Misses’/Misses’ Petite Early 20Th Century Costume Great choice for for early mid 1910’s walking suits.

Need more Help?

Leave a comment below or contact me via email if you have any questions about Titanic era clothing.

This entry was posted in Edwardian / Titanic Fashion on by .

About VintageDancer

Debbie & Oscar have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need help? Contact us anytime.

7 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Titanic Event

  1. Larry Sommese

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  2. Dianne

    I have some beautiful Titanic inspired fashions that would be perfect for the cruise. Stroll on over and see what Blanche’s Place has to offer. This sound like such a great event.

  3. Deb Hughes

    we are in a parade commemorating the titanic, and the Irish in particular! looking for ideas for everyday, or working clothes, both men and women–most of the Irish were in the bottom of the boat, so no formal clothes needed! if you have any pics or ideas, they would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Debbie Post author

      Hmmm yes let me get to work on researching third class clothing. Its more challenging than the first class passengers but I am sure I can at least find some good pictures. Thank you for the request!

  4. Cathy Morris

    Hi, my granddaughter has to dress for a Titanic event at her school, she is 9. I have found a pattern for a dress for children from the Titanic, also from what I can see the kids wore almost a Mary Jane shoe in brown. Did the children carry a shawl? Did they wore gloves? Did they wear a hat? Would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

  5. jane Thurlow-Routley

    Can you help? I am looking for a blonde ladies wig style 1873 New England for an amateur operatic show Carousel.


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