A few weeks ago, a subscriber asked for some ideas on what to include in her 1860’s ensemble as the “finishing touches.” I shared some accessories examples and realized that this would be a fabulous topic for a post highlighting the whole century!
Much like today, accessories are both useful and fashionable. And they also differ for each individual. So unless you are portraying a specific individual or social class, feel free to let you current view of accessories guide you in your journey for historical ones. For example, I am a very minimalist person. I have a few outfits, wear my hair in a few simple ways, and prefer simple studs or hoops for the extent of my jewelry. I find that I continue this same viewpoint in my living history wardrobe as well. One pair of earrings, one pair of shoes, and three dresses I alternate based on weather and event. However, I have a friend who believes options are the only way to live and has secured quite the historical accessory inventory. Whatever your style and tastes, there is a look and piece for you!
I have divided the century up into the following categories: Regency (1800-1820), Victorian Goth and Romanticism (1840-1856), Age of the Hoop (1856-1866), Age of the Bustle (1870-1890). I included a brief overview of the fashion seen during each time period to help “set the scene” so to speak. I also believe the best way to find out what was worn is by looking at original photographs, paintings, and fashion plates. Therefore I have included a lot of images! Click on any image to expand. Enjoy! 🙂
Light, airy, and often figure forming styles are complimented with equally dainty chemisettes, caps, and shawls. Jewelry ranged from pearls, fine jewels, and pendants.