Victorian Fashion Accessories
What Is A Victorian Fashion Accessory?
These historic real accessories are items of the Victorian era that are not essential to the overall costume worn in that day but have a extra optional purpose to add whether that be practical or for style. A purse to hold money, a parasol umbrella for hot or cold weather or for men a pocket watch for prompt time keeping are some.
Victorian fashion is classed as the 1800s a period of time of fast developing and new technologies if basic to modern day standards. There was less different materials to hand and men and women’s clothing was largely handmade and had very gender specific styles that came with specific accessories to communicate the owners class in society.
We explore below all these different industrial revolution era accessories that actually did exist this is not fantasy so you can add some to your Victorian outfit and have a all round ‘jolly’ time.
To start you of here is the Victorian colour palette for reference;
Gentlemen’s Fashion Accessories
Gentlemen have things to do and that means they have to keep track of time, the pocket watch though bulky compared to modern gadgets was a vital item for a Victorian gent. His class could be shown by the pocket watch always ready to hand in his waistcoat pocket. The pockets on waistcoats were actually made to accommodate the pocket watch as well as that small pocket above your jeans pocket. Waistcoats have kept this design even to the current day. Watches have never been as beautiful than in that time period with their wind able ticking watch movements and wonderfully engraved patterns.
Men have smoked pipes for a long time and are often the great accompaniment to a afternoon tea and chat with other gents. Due to this bringing together of gents to socialise and converse those smoking pipes have picked up a reputation of being approachable, friendly and wise in alot of eyes. That is a gent.
Lighting a cigar was for after lunch with the gents for a bit of chin wag and signalled relaxation time. Strictly for when with the gents not the ladies.
If you wanted your afternoon cigar you needed a light. Learn how to light it from rubbing it against your thigh and you are set to impress. There is space on the lighters front and behind for a motif of your choosing make it a special one you like and says something about you. No more matches needed, they are basic.
Made of white cloth, grey or brown felt material, spats buttoned around the ankle. Originally for keeping the smart shiny shoes clean from rain and day to day wear they became the distinctive addition of any smart looking gents outfit.
The tilt of the hat was a warm hello in the Victorian times, part of language. All upright gents would have a top hat even though it was not particularly functionally useful but represented the effort to look good and conform to a fashion, that was classy.
Playing cards were a very popular past time and were often one of the items you would find in a gents pocket. Learn how to shuffle and hold them and do tricks to impress others, it looks great and is fun.
T bar Albert Chain
A chain used to give easier access to a pocket watch in the watchpocket of a waistcoat. Albert chains are named after a style of watch chain Prince Albert wore during the Victorian period. Traditionally this style of watch chain has a bar on one end used to affix the chain to a vest button hole
Victorian men liked a colourful waistcoat checked or striped also called a vest. They wore them in addition to a cravat and white shirt with a stiff collar. Their wives in their spare time would embroider the waistcoats with lovely patterns the fabrics were the same as the women’s clothing as they all came from the same source.
These were practical and for show, alot made of either gold or silver not only do they hold together those stiff starched sleeves better than buttons they were another opportunity to show your status whether being higher or lower class in their design and value.
In the case you have a bad day or that wanting for the next drink comes a bit early hip flasks are great to have to hand. They where initially used to smuggle alcohol hidden strapped to the hip though have changed in design over time from being a sheep’s bladder in earlier versions. Hip flasks in the Victorian times were most popular with the elite social class of the time and came in different metals even glass. The more well of gent would have have the silver material though there were cheaper hip flasks for lower class men made from pewter.
The Cravat was the origin of the modern necktie and bow. It was worn in Victorian times to keep the white shirt underneath pristine as was the gents way and is more of a historic item now only worn in current times by the more eccentric dressers.
The monocle is a corrective lens for a single eye worn by people who are long-sighted and need help to see things close up. They were popular in the Victorian era and were often prescribed to help a person function but looked great if you want to come across eccentric.
More so in history or Victorian times than in the modern day a cane, or walking stick, wasn’t just an aid to mobility for old or disabled men; it was more of a gentleman’s fashion accessory. A cane was not made in a quick order but was more a art piece to make people impressed giving the presence of the gent to be your privilege. The top of the cane was often adorned with a ornament of wood, ivory or quartz; or bejeweled.
Ladies’ Fashion Accessories
Perfume Bottle Sprayer
For the women a portable perfume bottle also known as scent bottles, vials, alabastrons or decanters is iconic in many movies used by the higher class women. The bottle does more than hold the perfume it turns the perfume into spray so it can cover the neck area of a lady with out mess in the case a striking gentlemen makes him self known.
The cigarette holder was used to keep ash of the smokers clothes especially for women who do not wear evening jackets, to keep the cigarette paper from sticking to the lips, cooling the smoke and also included a filter for health reasons. They have a party feel to them.
Hair Comb Fascinator
Every part of the body was a opportunity to dress up including the head, no space left boring and bland. Fascinators are exactly as they sound for making people stare and go wow. They are often over the top literally with feathers, flowers, lace, bows or you can be creative using your own ideas.
You have more than likely seen a picture somewhere of a lady with a fan, fanning herself with a flirty look on her face. That is because they were extremely popular in the Victorian era. Made of silk, lace, feathers, or wood, they were practically used for hot days and warm evening dances but quickly made their way into the every day look of a lady any where and every where.
These were a top trend in the Victorian era and with the industrial revolution came the mass manufacturing of metal used to rib the parasol so they were even more accessible. Rather than being made to protect from rain they were to shade from the sun especially in the summer months and are synonymous in the ladies fashion of the time.
A style of purse known as the Reticule was the most popular style during the Victorian era. It was carried in hand, shaped like the inside of a pocket. It held only a few critical items such as a handkerchief, fan, pencil, and cards. There was little difference between day and evening reticule bags — both were heavily decorated with beads, needlework, or were trimmed in lace and ribbon.
A suspender belt also known as a garter belt is made to keep a ladies stockings from slipping down and also add a less prude suggestive sexy look to your lingerie set Victorian style.
Unisex Accessories For The Lady Or Gentlemen
Theater was popular in Victorian times and in order to see the main stage those on back rows would use these to see clearly. They became part of the dress for the theater and so a icon of the era. Though they can be a accompaniment to your outfit anywhere which is completely acceptable.
Gloves were worn by gents and ladies in the Victorian era mostly coloured white for the men they symbolised purity and nobility on the other hand the women worn them to show they were rich and did not need to work instead they employed others to do the dirty stuff hence stainless white.
Cigarette cases were introduced in Victorian times helping the gent keep his cigarettes pristine from breaking, women were mostly excluded from smoking at this time it was a look of prostitutes though this changed later on.
Sunglasses were only in their most basic form in the Victorian period but had a very distinctive look. They were shaded with a dark black to purple color the frame was made of metal and worked reasonable well. They are a favourite of Sherlock Holmes him self.
These are a little bit on the strange side and not everyone’s taste but were popular in the Victorian era when things were more fascinating, out there and unknown. Often worn around the neck within a small glass vial or jar pendant the curiosities ranged from octopus tentacles, bones, human teeth, insects, ammonite fossils.
Wicker Picnic Box
The wicker picnic box was a common sight and a much welcome one it would mean sandwiches, sweets, cakes, treats and tea, who can complain with that. It is a great reason to Invite friends and come together.
The jewellery of this period reflected very romantic motifs such as hands, hearts, crosses, and knots. All of these themes were common in engagement rings that used a lot of gold metal as well as other romantic jewellery of the time. They symbolised the eternal bond between two people, weddings were a important tradition in the culture and a main reason for wearing jewellery to show the commitment.
A wig topped of your outfit literally, They were mostly human hair, but bulked out with horse-hair pads and wire frames.It was a secretive thing and usually the hairdresser or close ones were the only people who knew the person was wearing a wig, there fore it seemed the wearer had a very healthy hair and therefore good genes or heritage.