Victorian Era Costumes for Women

Victorian Era CostumesVictorian Costumes are Fun for Halloween or Masquerade Parties

I love historical costumes, therefore Victorian costumes are among my favorites!  Not only do I love the beauty of the gowns and clothes, but I truly enjoy the history behind the pieces.

Victorian fashion for women seemed to change, often drastically, from one decade to the next.  The constant changes truly made it difficult for a lady of modest means from that era to keep up with the current trends of her generation during that time period.

However, because of that constantly evolving fashion, there are many styles for us to choose from, but still be dressed with a Queen Victoria era flare when we are ready to embrace that period and genteel attire.

I do love Victorian costumes.  Plus, they are a fabulous way to combine awesome vintage style with fun for any Halloween or Masquerade party.  There are lots of ready made dresses on the market today, but there are also many sewing patterns available for those you who know how to sew and enjoy a one of a kind dress.

Personally, I really enjoy adding unique details to a Halloween costume whether it is “off the rack” or custom made.   Even adding the right jewelry or hair style can make a world of difference to your overall appearance.


The Victorian Era was literally the period of time during Queen Victoria’s reign in England.  The actual years ranged from 1837 until 1901.


Early Victorian Fashion

In the 1840’s & 50’s, gowns had narrow and sloping shoulders, low, often pointed waists, and bell-shaped skirts.  The gowns were enhanced by corsets, layers of flounced petticoats and a knee-length chemise.  In the 1850s the number of petticoats was reduced and crinoline was worn under skirts.

Day dresses had a solid bodice, quite in contrast to the evening gowns which had very low necklines and were worn off the shoulder.  Often the evening gowns were accessorized with sheer shawls and long opera-length gloves.

Ball Gown Costume

Anyone would feel like a princess in this glorious Victorian gown!

This Victorian Ball Gown is often promoted as a “Princess” Gown.  It is, of course, a beautiful princess gown, but it is also an authentic Victorian gown with it’s dropped shoulders, low neckline, hoop petticoat and opera length gloves.

 InCharacter Costumes, LLC Women’s Enchanting Princess Costume, Blue, Select a SizeCheck Price

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The Victorian Ghost

Add a Bit More Fun to Halloween with this Costume!

I do believe this Lady could easily haunt your dreams!

This costume includes a long beautiful Victorian style dress that features elegant lace sleeves and a tattered hem.  A petticoat is also included to complete this look.  This would truly be a wonderful costume for a Halloween or Masquerade party.

 InCharacter Costumes Corpse Countess Costume, White, Select a SizeCheck Price

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The Baroness Costume

This beautiful costume is definitely more sedate and traditional than the previous gowns.

This costume includes the velvet top featuring gold organza detailing, an attached floor length bronze skirt, and a headpiece featuring oversized feathers.

 FunWorld Baroness Diamond Collection, Brown and Gold, Select a SizeCheck Price

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Mid Era Victorian Fashion

In the 1860’s, skirts were flat in the front and projected out behind the woman.  Day dresses had wide pagoda sleeves and high necklines with tatted or lace collars.  Evening dresses had lower necklines, short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves, fingerless lace or crocheted gloves.

By the 70’s, women sought more comfortable attire, therefore uncorseted tea gowns were worn for informal entertaining at home.  Bustles became a popular way to replace crinoline and hold the skirts up behind the woman.

 

The Bustle Dress

The Bustle Dress has always been considered a classic Victorian dress with style!  Here is a ready-made dress that is an excellent replica because it is accurate in detail.  Plus, it would be a lot of fun to wear.

 Women’s Large 19th Century Purple Victorian DressCheck Price

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Costume Patterns

Patterns allow you to choose your own fabric and detail your costumes with your own personal flare.

Because I enjoy sewing, I have actually made several of these costumes.  Not only are they fun to make, they are a whole lot of fun to wear!  Dare I tell you about the time I fell while dancing and needing help from the other women just to get up off the floor?  It does take a bit of practice to gracefully wear the big hoops.  None the less, I really do like to be able to wear one of a kind costumes and these patterns grant us that opportunity.

 Simplicity 1818 Misses Costume Sewing Pattern, Size KK (8-10-12-14)Check Price Butterick Sewing Pattern 6195 Victorian Gown, Sizes 12-14-16Check Price Simplicity 8375 – Misses’ Victorian Costume Pattern – Size P (12, 14, 16)Check Price

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The Next Decade of Victorian Fashion

In the 1880s, women found new freedom with their riding habits which had a matching jacket and skirt without a bustle.  They still sported a high-collared shirt.  A top hat with a veil completed the riding ensemble.  While the riding habits were a wonderful reprieve from constraints,  when their feet were back on solid ground, the ladies once again donned the bustled skirts for their daily wear.  Long jackets or dusters became all the rage and covered their day dresses.  Dusters were not only fashionable, but they served to protect the dresses from cinders during train travel.

Victorian Riding outfits really are beautiful and they reflect the prime attitude of daily wear during the Victorian era.  Honestly, I can’t imagine trying to actually ride a horse in this outfit, especially side saddle,  but it sure is a pretty fashion statement!

Note:  Two Patterns will be Required to Make this Riding Habit.  One for the skirt and one for the bodice.

 1883 Riding Habit Bodice PatternCheck Price 1883 Riding Habit Skirt PatternCheck Price

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The Bustle Coat ~ Truly an elegant design!

I almost wish we wore bustles today when I look at the gorgeous bustle travel coat pattern shown below.  I love this coat!  It is perfect for the colder months, like October.

 1880s Late Bustle Coat PatternCheck Price

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End of the Victorian Era

Moving into the 1890’s, women’s apparel changed drastically as fashion moved toward the Edwardian Era.  For instance, the “enhancers,” such as bustles and crinoline, became a thing of the past.  Corsets were still used, but fashion, in general, became easier to wear and a more “natural” shape was embraced.  Also, skirts fit closely over the hip and flared just above the knee.  During this period in fashion history, the “puff” in clothing moved to the sleeves.  Puffed sleeves were added to day dresses and it seems, the puffier, the better.

 1892 Costume with Shirtwaist and Eton Jacket PatternCheck Price InCharacter Costumes Women’s Victorian Lady CostumeCheck Price

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Victorian Fashion Costume Accessories

Parasols, Fans, Boots, Gloves, and Fine Jewelry were all a part of the
Victorian Fashion Era

No doubt, you will want to complete your costume selection with the accessories below.


 Olymstore(TM) Elegant Lace Embroidered Umbrella Parasol WhiteCheck Price uxcell Organza Plastic Ribs Dance Foldable Hand Fan BlackCheck Price DreamHigh Women’s Party Wedding 21″ long satin GlovesCheck Price Funtasma by Pleaser Women’s Dame-05/IV Ankle Boot, Select Size & ColorCheck Price

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Recommended Selection Articles featuring Victorian Jewelry

 Victorian Brooch Pins Victorian Necklaces Victorian Lace Collar Necklaces

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Share These Victorian Costumes and Patterns with Friends & Family!

Victorian Costumes for Halloween

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About the Author

Your Halloween Haven Hostess, Sylvestermouse, has years of experience in planning Halloween parties, festivals & special Halloween treats. Over the years, Sylvestermouse has worn many costumes and custom made several original costumes. Join me for this Halloween feast, as we celebrate Halloween with all of our favorite ghosts, goblins, heroes, villains, pirates and princesses.

3 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Susan says:

    I do love the look of Victorian costumes, but I have to say that I’m glad I don’t have to dress that way every day – what a chore! I’m trying to choose a favorite from your article and having a very difficult time. Guess I’d choose the purple bustle dress since it’s a good color for me. Some might say I could do without the extra bustle, though!

  2. One would certainly feel like a Princess in that ‘Enchanted Princess’ dress. Truly beautiful.

  3. Those are truly beautiful costumes. I’ve always liked those long Victorian dresses. They are almost enough to make me want to go to a costume party. It’s good you added patterns for those who sew, since making costumes is more economical and you can get exactly what you want.

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