Period Accuracy

Over the weekend, Matt and I were lucky enough to have breakfast with my dress designer and seamstress, my great pal Ingrid.  An expert in period costume, she reminded me that dresses of the time period we have chosen to use as our theme – the late-Victorian/Edwardian period – have a very different silhouette to the one I’ve posted in my inspiration post.   So, to make it a bit more accurate, I’ve started looking at old photos and drawings online of dresses of the period to pluck out details that I like to help inspire the creativity:

Miss Norah Kerin, blushing bride

Miss Norah Kerin, blushing bride

In this photo, I like the stripe-pleated fabric and square neckline, but the beaded leaves are a little too much for me.  I was thinking of having my hair done in a similar way, so the veil/headpiece is pretty helpful for thinking about that.  If you can’t tell, she’s got braids wrapped around her head like a crown.  I’ll post a few photos of the hair I like in a future post.

A young girl

A young girl

In this one of an unidentified girl, I like the way the skirt and bodice are layered.  If I were to have a very tailored dress, I’d like something similar that plays with line and shape like this.

Isolde Litvinne, opera singer

Isolde Litvinne, opera singer

I also like the fan-shaped pleated gathers at the front of this bodice.  It would have to be the right dress, but I prefer that kind of detailing over blingy beads and embroidery.

Madame Melba

Madame Melba

I love this dress.  I love the shape, I love the sleeve length, I especially love the seashell design in the front.  It’s a little more blingy than I would normally go for, but if done in the right fabrics, with the right detailing, it would be very me.  Dunno how I feel about the corset, however….

Miss Myriam Clements

Miss Myriam Clements

I also love this dress.   I like that the sheer sleeves are a darker color than the dress, the fabric of which gets repeated in the sash like a train.  This might be a nice alternative to a cathedral train.

Lily Langtry, royal mistress

Lily Langtry, royal mistress

This is a dress that’s a bit over the top, but I like the basic shape of it.  The shoulders are fantastic and I like the buttons.

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

This one is from the 1993 film The Age of Innocence, which won that year’s Oscar for best costume design.  I could see myself wearing a version of this.  Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for this book, which takes place in 1870’s New York.

Fashion Plates

Fashion Plate: Two Women, 1909

I adore the dress on the left.  The hat is a bit much, but I could totally wear that dress, tailored to my preferences.

Though all of these are fantastic inspiration, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the new set of options.  It’ll all come together, I’m sure, but for now it’s fun to look at the fabulous dresses.

P.S.  Check out the screenshots I got of the Pride and Prejudice dress.  I got tired of searching for it, so here it is!

Lizzie Bennet a Lizzie Bennet b

Lizzie Bennet c

Lizzie Bennet d

These are from the first of 2 DVDs.  I think she wears the dress in the next disc, but it takes a while to find it and I just need to get this post published.  Unfortunately, you can’t see the whole thing in these photos, but look hard in the third one for the scalloped hem of the overdress.  Brilliant!


About Ginger

Hello! My name is Ginger. I'm 27 and I live in Seattle with my fiancée Matt and his cat, Arthur. Find me in my kitchen, trying to incorporate pine nuts into more recipes, at Pacific Fabrics - drooling over prints in the home dec department, walking home through Woodland Park Zoo, or sipping aquavit in Ballard. Check out my food blog at
This entry was posted in Inspiration and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Period Accuracy

  1. Ingrid says:

    You know, I was thinking about putting larger even more contrasting leaves on your bodice. You’ve now ruined my whole day.

  2. Ingrid says:

    I like it, I also like Lilly Langtry’s dress – I think there would be ways to incorporate aspects from both dresses. I love that you’re posting these images 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s