It’s so humid here, I feel as though I live in a pond, under water, fully dressed. Kinda makes me unhappy. On the flip side, I have a riding habit here. I have to confess I’ve only ridden a horse two times in my life and am sort of scared of them.
They are very large. Also, they always seem to be planning something.
However, riding was a typical and socially acceptable activity in the Victorian era and a good excuse to wear boots with tassels on them. Interestingly enough, riding habits were one of the only things Victorian women bought from tailors, not seamstresses. Partly because of this, they always have obviously masculine influences attached to them- hence the jacket and necktie.
Florence, who can wear this riding habit, can be found over here.
There’s an excellent article about croquet costumes from the Machester Art Gallery and it includes some wonderful Victorian croquet costumes including the dress in blue white and red I based Florence’s croquet dress off of though it dates from a bit later then the rest of her attire being from 1875-1878 which is after my usual 1875 cut off date. In the Manchester Art Galleries wonderful costume collection, there is an archery jacket from 1787 which is beautiful. I never realized archery was considered an acceptable female sport in England as early as that or that the Royal British Bowmen allowed women full membership with voting rights and a snazzy official uniform.
Maybe Florence needs an archery costume. I like to think she’s the sort of adventurous lady who would do well in archery. On the other hand, I already have a skating costume sketched and a riding habit for next week, so perhaps putting more on my plate is not an entirely wise idea.
The difference seems somewhat minor, but a matter of formality. Promenade costumes were to see and be seen in, walking costumes were for walking. I imagine the paper doll wearing this costume to go to do her shopping and today she has gone to the milliner to get her new hats.
Hats aren’t worn much anymore, unless you’re the Queen of England (whose hats I totally adore) or going to the races, hats mostly function as useful things for keeping heads warm and not much else. I’m not necessarily advocating the return to hats, but hats were crucial for any well dressed lady in the 1870’s. Fashion magazines, along with dresses, offered detailed advice on fashionable hats and hat styles- colors, feathers, ribbons and flowers to be worn by ladies of all ranks and ages. Hair styles and hats are tightly connected and often changed together.
Here is Florence, just in case you missed the first post in this series and need a doll to go with these paper clothes.
Inking paper dolls still terrifies me every time I start. Still, when I finally erase the pencil lines and the paper doll is sort of revealed, it is a magical kind of moment. I felt that way about this dress and these hats. I wasn’t sure if I liked it until I’d finally lost all the pencil.
I’m glad I didn’t give up on it. I think it turned out well. So, I seem to have come down on the “liking it” side of the spectrum. Never would have guessed that two hours ago.
Looking for the paper doll that goes with this outfit? Here she is.
So, I’m be bit belated today. Okay… very belated and, to be honest to entirely pleased with either paper doll dress. I wasn’t when I first drew them and I’m still not. I liked the masquerade costume more then the ballgown. I was terrified of drawing the train and I still don’t like how it came out. Oh well, it just means I’ll be doing another ballgown for Florence. It’s been quite a few months since I did the old one, I think I could do it better now.
Trains are totally impossible for me. I need to keep practicing on them.
Strangely, the seaside walking dress is drawn from a fashion plate which depicts a woman standing on a cliff face, as though she’s been hiking. This leads me to suspect the dress was actually intended for seaside walks and the shorter skirt also hints at this option. I would doubt if women actually wore such a thing hiking, but I have seen photographs of women in the 1900’s wearing high heels standing on a Glacier, so I don’t doubt they did it.
The swimming costume has a cap with it to cover Florence’s paper hair. Though it was drawn after a plate, her hair style made it a little more awkward then it otherwise would have been. Still, as reader pointed out when I first posted the paper doll’s swimming costume I had forgotten to give her the swimming cap any Victorian lady would have worn over her hair. I have not omitted it this time proving I am trainable.
Here is Florence, the paper doll whose supposed to wear this fantastic swimsuit and seaside walking dress.
Florence’s paper doll traveling costume is based on this fashion plate from the NYPL’s digital gallery (I say based on because it is fairly obvious where the paper doll clothes and the actual plate deviate). The dress is labeled in German and my German is practically non-existent.
I’ve been meaning to ask my German speaking co-worker to translate it for weeks and keep forgetting. I tried babelfish and it didn’t exactly work. It game me an answer, but the answer made no sense. Truth be told, I don’t know if its a traveling suit or not, but it looks fairly similar to others I have seen. Anyway, Florence is my paper doll and if I want to declare this her traveling costume, I darn well can. My life might be full of other sources of chaos, but my paper dolls do as they are told… sometimes.
Suits for women were in style in the 1870’s, so it seemed only reasonable to give Florence one, since she is the most fashionable of paper dolls. I also wanted to use the opportunity to make a few tops to go with the same skirt or several skirts. I expect I shall do this more often and a smart color-er of these paper doll clothes would be wise to consider this for future mix and matchable clothing options. It was common to have two bodices to go with one skirt during this era, so one bodice might be a formal dinner dress while the other bodice would be an afternoon or a visiting costume. The very smart lady (or paper doll, in our case) could, of course, turn an afternoon costume into a visiting costume by adding the right jewelry and a smart hat.