The Victorian fashion era began with Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837 and ended in 1901 upon her death. It marked a pivotal time in Britain’s history and around the world. In fashion, the Victorian era is an elaborate display of class, wealth, beauty and purpose for women and men. The layers of dress and suiting required of poor and rich alike were impractical, sometimes uncomfortable but always beautifully fashionable. Victorian fashion began with large dresses, poke bonnets and modest coverings for the ladies while men displayed color, pattern and rigidity in their attire. By the end of the era, a simpler silhouette was making waves, leading the next Edwardian generation to new freedoms in life and fashion.
To summarize Victorian fashion, nearly 70 years of clothing styles, in one article would be a daunting task (not to mention very long read.) Instead, the following links will guide you to many articles about specific years, general styles or accessories that make up Victorian fashion. The purpose is not only to educate about (mostly upperclass) Victorian fashions but give you practical tips, links and purchasing options for creating your own Victorian costume.
My first foray into the world of historical costuming began with the Victorian era at a ball where ladies danced in the most elegant hooped dresses I have ever seen. From that moment on I was hooked. My quest to make my own Victorian gown for the next ball began with a pattern, some fabric and not nearly enough research since I ended up creating an 18th century (1780s) dress! My research and writing here at VintageDancer is my attempt to curb those beginner pitfalls while being mindful of budget, time and ability constraints.
New articles are always in progress and questions are welcomed. Onto the Victorian fashion!
Victorian Fashion Dresses
- Pre-Victorian 1830s dresses – How to DIY this rare decade of fashion
- Victorian 1840s-1850s – The era of Charles Dicken’s is explored in this article on ladies Victorian costuming. How to create your early Victorian look.
- Victorian Civil War Era costume- Tips on creating the Civil War era look of the 1860s. Patterns, fabrics, accessories.
- Victorian Bustle era–1870s and 1880s early, natural and late Bustle era styles for ladies
- Victorian Tea Dresses – Late Victorian era white tea gowns were a unique dress with a controversial history
- Edwardian era / Gibson girl style– Post Victorian era fashions
***Shop Victorian era dresses and costumes– Ready made and some made to order costumes online.
- Simple Victorian Daytime Costume DIY– How to create a quick Victorian costume using a skirt, blouse and belt
- Victorian Ballgown Costume DIY– How to quickly make a Victorian ballgown or evening outfit with thrifted clothing
- Victorian Sewing Patterns – Shop our favorite Victorian-era sewing patterns online.
Victorian Outerwear & Underwear
- Victorian blouses & sweaters – Shop mid to late Victorian era separates
- Victorian ladies coats and jackets (article after shopping links)
- Victorian shawls, wraps, capelets and other light coverings (article after shopping links)
- Victorian underwear and lingerie – What did women wear under all their clothes? Bloomers, petticoats, hoops, bustle pads and corsets
- Victorian Boots – History of and where to buy authentic style Victorian women’s boots and shoes.
- Victorian Boots and Shoes for kids – What footwear Victorian children should wear
***Shop Ladies Victorian boots and shoes – Boots and shoes for any budget
Victorian Women’s Hats
- Victorian Hats for Ladies– Popular Victorian hat styles through all the decades. Bonnets, small hats, riding hats and lace caps
- Victorian Hat Decoration – Ideas to decorate late Victorian tea hats /large picture hats
- History of Tea hats from the Victorian era to the 1950s
***Shop Women’s Victorian hats – Ready made hat forms, decorated hats, bonnets, patterns
- Victorian Parasols and Umbrellas – Article below shopping links
- Victorian Carriage Parasol – DIY guide to making a Victorian small parasol.
- Victorian Purses- Handbags and shopping baskets carried in the Victorian era
- Victorian Gloves- The most important ladies accessory
- Victorian Hand Fan– The fascinating history of the handfan made of silk, lace, feathers or wood
- Victorian Jewelry – Essential Victorian jewelry for your costume
Victorian Beauty – Hairstyles, Makeup
- Victorian Makeup Guide and Beauty History – How Victorian ladies wore makeup and you can too
Victorian Mens Fashion Guides
- Victorian Men’s Fashion– An overview of men’s Victorian era fashion
- Victorian Men’s Fashion guide- A guide to creating the Victorian look with new or repro men’s clothing
- Victorian Mens Shoes- Learn about Victorian style boots and shoes for men and the best reproduction men’s shoes
- Victorian Formal Wear– A guide to the history of Victorian men’s formal wear with recommendations on how to pull off the Victorian look with modern clothing.
- Victorian Costumes– Shop Victorian men’s Halloween costumes with classic characters such as Rhett Butler, Sweeny Todd, Sherlock Holmes, Scrooge
Victorian Children’s Fashion
Victorian children’s clothing – Pictures from the 1840s to 1890s
Victorian Children’s Shoes and Boots– Pictures, history and shopping tips.
Victorian Kids Clothing & Costumes– Shop for children’s Victorian era style clothes