Tag Archives: victorian era

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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Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s High Tea

I was cordially invited to a High Tea “hosted by Lady Catherine de Bourgh”, courtesy of the USYD Darcy Society, so yesterday afternoon I skipped off to the Queen Victoria Building in a pretty frock for two hours of lavish dining. I was joined by Darcy Soc members, as well as some lovely friends who were drawn to the promise of tartines and clotted cream.

I thought I was well-dressed, but my dear friend Kate outdressed us all. I had opted for a 50s ensemble in accordance with my usual fare, donning my most recent purchase: the blue velvet dress. Kate, however, had come entirely in Victorian costume. Her outfit was constructed from items already in her wardrobe, and was wildly impressive. You can enjoy her ladylike figure in the myriad of photos below.

The tea itself was splendid, as expected. The Tea Room was a wonderful host, and provided three-tiered stands of delectable canapes. It made me anxious to purchase “The Vintage Tea Party Book” by Angel Adoree, which I’ve been stalking online and lusting after as I live vicariously through other vintage bloggers.

Voila, some photos:

Dress: vintage 50s, from “Shag” on Oxford St, Sydney
Lace gloves: from a vintage store in Bellingen, but I theorise that they’re not vintage
Belt: Alannah Hill
Clip-on earrings: thrifted
Hair flowers: Sportsgirl
Stockings: Leona Edminston
Shoes: Bloch

And here are some pictures from our little photoshoot around the QVB, post-tea:


Filed under Vintage Events