REALLY Vintage Dressing: the 1800s and Beyond

Though I’m thoroughly devoted to mid-twentieth century aesthetics, I’m also quite fond of historical costuming – I’m sure a lot of vintage-wearers can relate. I have a great love of fashions from about the Georgian Era onwards, particularly of the Regency and Victorian eras. It’s probably my weakness for period drama and my indomitable love for Jane Austen that has made this the case. It’s probably also to do with an all-encompassing nostalgia for the past, wherein anything old and musty is instantly appealing.

What has made me ponder this is the string of updates I’ve been hearing about the 2012 Jane Austen Festival, which has put me in something of a 19th century mood. I went to the festival for the first time this year and was utterly overwhelmed by how intensely devoted some people are to historical costuming. It was the first time in awhile I’d felt underdressed, though my friend Julia and I did glam up for the Regency Ball in period-appropriate attire (we even made it into the Canberra Times – see here). I spend so much time immersed in the vintage subculture which is mostly concerned with the twentieth century that it was almost surprising to discover that there are devotees of eras far older and grander than this. It would be a different sort of obsession, as I daresay the curious looks you’d get on the street would increase exponentially if you began to wear bonnets and floor-length gowns out in the day-time, and therefore I suppose there wouldn’t be so much opportunity for total immersion.

I had a fun experience with this sort of thing when my visit to Guernsey in the Channel Isles earlier this year happened to coincide with a local folk festival called the “Le Viaer Marche”. It’s an annual festival during which locals dress up in Victorian garb quite earnestly and folk dance for hours. It was a curious thing to behold. I’ve been dying to share some photos of the event, so voila. Perhaps you can appreciate the absurdity as I did.

Seeing as I regrettably did not bring a Victorian gown with me on my travels, I did my best in a Victorian-necked blouse and brooch.

Have any of you ever strayed into historical costuming?




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