If you’re infatuated with the Victorian Age, it is most likely because of the era’s beautiful clothing. From approximately 1837-1901, the Victorian Age rose richly from the Renaissance, changing fashion in huge part to Queen Victoria. People were dressing to accommodate the way they lived, with a strong emphasis on communicating passion and dedication through clothing. The sewing machine was invented during this era, which revolutionized fashion as people devoted themselves to designing, customizing and creating their own garments. With this fashion coming back to runways this autumn/winter season, it will be a cool breath of fresh air. Society could use more clothing that is easy on the eyes, not to mention comfortable fabrics and rich jewel-toned colors.
The Victorian fashions for women consisted of layers, embellishments and various color shades, and it also had a strong theme of naturalism, such as gardens, flowers and trees. The corset was a major part of this era because the hourglass shape was considered most attractive on women, so they wore these laced tightly to achieve this. Cameo jewelry consisting of shell, coral, stone and gemstones were very popular, especially worn on velvet ribbons. This is the time where undergarments for females became very important. Petticoats, corsets, tights and bras were lacy, frilly and fancy. Gothic styles were incorporated into Victorian fashion. Regular fabrics included tweed, satin, velvet, any fabric that was textured, leather, houndstooth, wool and lace. The colors most used included jewel tones; berry, purple, indigo, sage green, gold, black, white and bronze.
Men’s fashions were more comfortable then the women’s. Their jackets were loose-fitting with small collars and lapels, top buttons and rounded hems. Men wore this for casual everyday activities, and when they need more formal wear they would add a top hat, cravat, trousers and a waistcoat.
Over the past couple of years, Victorian fashions have crept onto our runways and into designer’s minds, but for Autumn/Winter 2009, there are several Victorian components that work into almost every type of clothing. In 2007, Alexander McQueen used historic fabrics and corsets to create a strong hourglass shape, from long gowns to blouses. Anna Sui has a line-up that includes silk jackets, black caps and clothing adorned with black satin bows, using dark colors for a more Gothic Victorian effect. The significance of undergarments from the Victorian era has spilled into modern fashion, from frilly camisoles worn with everyday jeans, to corsets that are used for lingerie to club wear. The lacy ruffles and embellished jewelry are big for this season, whether on jackets or knee-length skirts that have ruffles adorned along the edges, or down the back of the skirt for some flair.
You can easily incorporate the romance and mystery of the Victorian era into your daily fashions by adding some historic touches mixed with modern twists.
Tips on Victorian Fashion for Winter 2009/10:
· Incorporate rich colors into your wardrobe, like purple, iris, indigo, berry tones, chocolate brown, olive, bronze, caramels, blush pink, jade green, black, pale yellow, light blue, navy, pearl and grey.
· Fill your closet with a wide range of materials. Animal, floral or tree prints create a bold but sexy statement. Rich velvets, glimpses of fur like fur collars or hems, and sheer lace tights or opaque and dark hosiery. Fabrics like wool, tweed and houndstooth with checks.
· Blouses and Shirts: Look for blouses with delicate embroidery, pearl or diamond buttons, and are made out of silk, lace, velvet, leather or lace.
· Layered Knits: Cardigans and sweaters in solid colors with embellished buttons and brooches. Waterfall-drape cardigans, chunky cables, fine knits, lacy mohair, and textured soft fabrics. 53
· Jackets and Blazers: These will be equally significant for men and women this season, femininely cut for females and loosely proper for males. Medium to dark colors are slimming. Leather, suede, velvet and faux fur materials are great for military and biker jackets, and chubby coats.
· Pants: Sophisticated colors with delicate details and embellishments, like rhinestones, lace or velvet trim and embroidered flowers. Man-cut trouser pants on women can be alluring as long as they fit properly.
· Skirts: Tiered skirts no higher than knee-length, with embellishments such as ruffles, built-in belts, beads and lace, worn with eye-catching hosiery
· Bags: Complete with pleats, frills, lace or embellishments. Clutches or chain link handles in solid colors.
· Jewelry: Oversized and chunky necklaces made form metal or jewels are hot in 2009/10. Necklaces with dozens of chains, 3-D form flowers, lockets, cameos, butterflies, ivy, and garden elements like ladybugs or fairies. Chandelier earrings with neutral gemstone colors. Gothic themes are appropriate, like black and white roses or crosses.
· Hosiery and Tights: Fishnets are ideal to wear under the knee-length skirts, in wool, lace or other patterns and designs
· Shoes: In dark colors like black, chocolate brown, ivy, navy and burgundy. Materials like tweed, wool, suede, lace overlay, silk and velvet are ideal. Victorian-style lace-up boots, simple low high-heels and Mary Janes are styles that were are part of this era.
Victorian fashion in modern age has created other fashion genres names, as well as designers, that strive to bring the Victorian influence to the masses. Two of these people are Kumiko Uehara, Chief Fashion Designer of Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, and designer Samantha Rei. They are both influenced by Lolita fashion, which is a subculture that originated in Japan that is influenced by goth-culture and Victorian children’s clothing, with three subdivisions. “Classic Lolita” is modeled after Alice in Wonderland; “Sweet Lolita” is embellished with lots of bows, pearls, lockets, velvet and ribbons; and “Gothic Lolita”, which is many dark colors and more modern alternative designs such as skulls and crossbones.
Steampunk is also a term used to describe a countercultural Victorian fashion trend that is mostly directed towards men. It uses romantic clothing with a tattered appearance, but is structured, masculine and loose-fitting. Besides having layers and layers of clothing, there are modern additions, such as strategically placed zippers. Steampunk reminds one of a style if the Victorian age had access to technology.
Regardless of how large the Victorian fashion influence grows, it is catching on amongst designer ideas, and is perfect for a person who wants to dress comfortably, creatively, and in rich beautiful colors