The Victorian era describes the time period of Queen Victoria's reign over the United Kingdom, 1837-1901. It was a time of an emerging middle class in the United Kingdom, and commoners started dressing in fancier garb as a sign of their prosperity. Women dressed in elaborate dresses with layers, lace and detail, while girls often donned miniature versions of these fashions. The time period for girls' fashion was marked by full skirts buffeted by petticoats, sashes, bustles, white or black tights, low black shoes and small hats.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Petticoats or crinoline
- White or black tights
- Black dress shoes
- Hair ribbon
- Cape or duster coat
- Saucer hat
Buy or make a dress that has a full skirt that reaches to the girl's mid-calf level. Construct the skirt with enough room to accommodate added layers of petticoats or crinoline. The top should be fitted with a high collar and straight sleeves, or slightly puffed sleeves. Sleeves may end in ruffles or lace detail.
Add a second layer to the skirt and bustle it in the back to create an effect that many Victorian little girls wore. Add detail to the dress front, such as ruffled smocking. Wear a white pinafore for plainer dresses, without decorative detailing.
Put on petticoats or a crinoline skirt, under the dress. This will cause the dress to fluff out about 6 inches, creating a bell shape. Tie on a sash, long enough to fashion a large bow that rests at the girl's lower back.
Don white or black tights and low, black dress shoes.
Part hair in the middle and allow it to hang loose, straight or in soft curls, down the back. Another alternative is to gather the hair into a low ponytail and tie a simple hair ribbon to hold it in place.
Wear a cape or capelet coats, or a duster coat that reaches to the mid-calf level. Add a saucer hat with a short brim.
Tips and warnings
- Remember that the fashions evolved and changed for Victorian girls over the 60-plus years of the Victorian era. There are many options available throughout the decades that will evoke a Victorian girl's style of dress.
- Wealthier Victorians dressed more elaborately, but you can keep the costume simpler by dressing as a middle class Victorian girl.
- Costume shops often sell or rent Victorian costume pieces.
- Historical pictures from the time period will give you a good idea about how little girls dressed, following a picture as a guide can help costuming easier.
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