Category: Fashions

Early Victorian Clothing for Men at Historical Emporium

When I look at men’s fashions in the Victorian era, I don’t think they changed as drastically as the female dresses did over the years.  Of course, looking at these outfits, as shown on fashion website linked below, we’re talking about the well-dressed male of the 1850s to 1870s.

The males initially in book one, Toil Under the Sun, are dressed in far less fashionable trends for being common laborers in the construction business. Dirty clothes, tattered sleeves, worn shoes are the norm. They represented the stark contrast between the class line of laborer and master in a world of the haves and have-nots.

To read more about the male fashions, enjoy the site below.   You can even purchase a few items to dress up your husband or boyfriend just for fun!  Throw away those blue jeans and put some class back into his life.

(1850 – 1870) Full Line of Men’s Early Victorian Style Clothing. Everything a gentleman needs, from head to toe. Hats, coats, shirts, shoes, ties, trousers and beautiful vests. Period correct for theatrical and reenactor use.

Source: Early Victorian Clothing for Men at Historical Emporium

1860s Dress Fashions

Source: 1860s evening dress fashions, descriptions and fashion plates, Vintage Victorian

It’s very easy to like the fashions of past decades.  Once again, I’m not that enthralled with the 1860s  when it comes to gowns. Some of them were so voluminous, you wonder how they sat, walked through a door, climbed into a carriage, or managed in the powder room.

If you visit the link below, you’ll find all sorts of beautiful 1850-1860s pictures of dinner and evening dresses. However, those beautiful dresses were for the upper 10% of society who had the incomes to afford the fabrics and dressmakers.  Source: 1860s evening dress fashions, descriptions and fashion plates, Vintage Victorian

To find out what the poor wore in 1860, we need to time travel through old photographs.  From the ones I see, most women didn’t wear the voluminous gowns but dressed in plain skirts and blouses, wrapped in shawls. I’m sure they couldn’t afford the huge crinoline cage or multiple petticoats that adorned the bodies of the more affluent ladies.

Perhaps it was a good thing because apparently, over 3,000 women died from their crinoline cages catching on fire! Yes, you read that right.  Dress at your own peril, ladies.  Read the article, “c. 1857-1867 Crinolinemania Victorian Fashion goes to extremes by National Museum of Scotland”

To add to the perils of going up in flames, you could die from the color.  Green-colored fabric in dresses and other clothing contained arsenic. The term “drop dead gorgeous,” came about when women wearing clothes filled with arsenic got sick. Their skin absorbed the poison. While swirling around a ballroom, the dress gave off fumes that were dangerous to those nearby.

If all of the above wasn’t bad enough, the dress fashion was the target of many jokes in caricature cartoons.




How long does it take to dress 1860’s style?  If you want to watch one woman dress in the fashion, follow the LINK HERE.  Unfortunately, I cannot embed the YouTube video into the blog post.

Here are a few fashions from the day below.  Enjoy!




1860’s- Hats & Bonnets

1860’s and hats!  It’s the bonnet, which frankly isn’t my favorite.  On a personal note, I can’t stand anything tied underneath my chin. Wearing one of these hats with a huge ribbon underneath my jaw would have led me down the road of perdition by not covering my head while out in public.

I am definitely going to refer to this website as we go through the decades on fashions. Meet Mrs. Parker’s Millinery and Mercantile.  Hats are for sale if you wish to purchase a replica and play Victorian dress-up for fun.

Your heroine in book one is Mary Booker (see note below). She’s a young lady who lives with her uncle, the vicar of St. George’s. He believes women definitely should be married, birthing children right and left, and keeping the home. After all, that’s what the good book says.  Mary, however, would love to work in a hat shop until the right man comes along.  Truth be told, I think she already found him.

Any hats that you like from the 1860’s.  A beautiful example of Margaret Hale from North & South in her mourning bonnet.

Source: 1850’s-1860’s- Hats & Bonnets


NOTE:  As usual, I’m grabbing names from my family tree.  Mary Booker is my fifth great-grandmother from Yorkshire, England, born 1768. 

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