Over Thanksgiving weekend I finally was able to take my husband and baby to the Great Dickens’ Christmas Fair in San Francisco. For the last 6 years I have missed going to the fair due to time and weather constraints but this year it finally happened. For those of you who don’t know, the Dicken’s Christmas Fair is a 4 weekend long event of everything there is to love about the Victorian era. Carolers wander the streets of a recreated Victorian London in 1843, while merchants sell clothing, books and tasty meat pies. At Fezziwigs you can dance a waltz or play a parlor game and in the red light district you can participate in an X rated sing-a-long (as X rated as Victorian morals allowed.) My favorite stops are to have my hair braided, pick out some Victorian accessories and get an old time photo taken for our annual Christmas Cards.
After returning from Dickens Fair I stumbled across a new online merchant that carries hard to find 1800s Victorian costume dresses, accessories, and menswear items too.
Victorian Hoop Skirt: With a new Victorian ball gown you will need a hoop skirt and/or large petticoat to go under it. The Victorian silhouette changed drastically over 100 years so depending on what decade you are recreating will determine the style of petticoat you need. For the typical large Victorian ballgown you will need a big hoop skirt and petticoat to go over it (to hide the hoop lines.) I put together a selection of skirt and petticoats most appropriate for creating the Victorian shapes here.
Victorian Edwardian Blouses: White cotton and lace blouses can be hard to find. I have managed to get a few at thrift stores but none are as unique as the ones I have found online. Layers of lace, ruffles, high collars, and some with extra long sleeves these Lolita style blouses will work great paired with late Victorian and Edwardian walking skirts.
Victorian Capelets, Capes and Shawls: One of my favorite accessories to wear with a Victorian dress is a capelet or shawl. In winter a white fur capelet or wool shawl is very appropriate for caroling or attending an outdoor Victorian Fair. Add a fur muff and you will look even more like a Victorian Christmas postcard. For warmer weather a lace or knit shawl adds character without extra warmth. The selection of shawls, capelets and capes online is wonderful. See them all here.
Ermine Muff 1840 Art.com
Victorian Parasol and Umbrella: A more summer friendly accessory is the lace parasol or umbrella although these are so pretty I wouldn’t want to expose it to any rain water- even if they are treated with waterproofing. Most parasols I find in costume stores are really cheaply made which works fine for recovering and light use but not for regular wear. Plus the better made parasols are just so much prettier then cheaper models. Take a look at these beautiful parasols and umbrellas.
And for the gentlemen. The selection of Victorian men’s coats, formal suits, and trousers is hit or miss. I have ordered a few things for my husband who has been wanting them for a long time. Some of the coats work well for Regency too which he desperately needs. See the Victorian Men’s Clothing page for more items like these.