Beyond the Pale

Modern Nostalgic: Wearable Victorian Style

I am always drawn to Victoriana in fashion & design but am fully aware that, in our modern times, many styles can look hideously over-the-top or as though you have just finished giving your Mrs Lovett in a low-budget am-dram performance to which nobody came.

[IF you were dressed as per Helena Bonham Carter, I would absolutely forgive you, as I think she looks utterly divine].

Anyway. My point is that it can be a bit overwhelmingly scary or Dressing Up Box to the untrained eye, so the best thing for nervous types is to follow this (very general) rule:

If the main part of your outfit is historically influenced [a dress, skirt, top, coat etc] then balance it with modern or dressed-down accessories. If the accessories [boots, hat, jewellery, scarf etc] are vintage-inspired, go for a modern or dressed down item for the main. 🙂

I think these teal boots are utterly fabulous and, if I had wonderful legs (which I do not) I’d opt for a short skirt & opaque tights (perhaps in a clashing colour on a braver day, or dark chocolatey brown for a toned-down look).

Madeira Teal Suede Boots, by Duo: £245

Not the cheapest boots around, of course, but oh-so worth it. I hear many, many good things about DUO and have lusted after several styles for some years, now. One day, one glorious day, I shall have a pair of my own!

Another aspect of DUO I love is the really useful styling advice they offer. They dress these boots, for example,  in a modern but relaxed way – exactly what I had in my head when I saw them, and exactly the point I wanted to make in this post:

Madeira DUO Boots Styling Advice

The other alternative is to dress head-to-toe in every single one of my picks and swan around a-la Bonham Carter. Which is equally acceptable in my book!

Utterly adorable – this peacock cocktail hat is just dreamy, and so drop-dead chic. I love the idea of styling it with the bright pillar-box red dress (and hair), but would also be divine for making an outfit out of an otherwise boring Little Black Dress. HOW fabulous would it be if also teamed with the DUO boots (above), though? Very. That’s how.

Peacock Creme De La Creme Cocktal Hat, by Jade Rose Designs: $175

Another “considered purchase”, but this dress is a modern twist on a classic, that will just go on for years to come. Having a bit of a teal moment with the tights, too. 🙂

Black Evelyn Dress, by Madeline Wood: $245

Emma Sommerfield does it again – an incredible modern piece that actually looks as though it could have been handed down throguh the generations. Wear with a tunic dress, leggings & biker boots!

Lace Knitted Scarf, by Emma Sommerfield: $90

How whimsical is this darling Victorian-esque yet thoroughly modern brooch? Great gift for a friend who’s off to far-flung adventures. Or, y’know, yourself.

The Traveler Brooch, by Munieca: $14

I would be sorely tempted to waveringly raise this magnifying glass necklace to my eye and in booming voice intone: “A haaaaaaaaaahnndbaaaaaag?!” at everyone I met…

Magnifying Glass Necklace, by Crumpet Cake: $23

Hurrah for spats! Eminently versatile for dressing up tired or sad looking footwear. Peacock feathers are always a plus.

Couture Peacock Spats, by Jared Gold: $55

There’s something incredibly nostalgic in the influence behind this headband by a talented Lithuanian designer – it reminds me of Victorian mourning styles. Wear it with a simple dress or even jeans and a t-shirt for an instandt hit of vintage glamour.

Beaded, Hand-Embroidered Victorian Style Headband, by Babinka1981: $28

These bloomers are just adorable – I particularly like the choice of fabric & colours. Great for slouching around the house in (with over-the-knee cashmere socks) or worn over the top of opaque stockings/tights or leggings & stompy boots. You pretty much have to be younger, braver and less cake & gin-enhanced than me to successfully pull off this look for Outside Wear, though, I fear!

Floral Bloomers, by La Belle Fairy: $45

I don’t usually ‘do’ small or dainty bags – mostly because I can’t fit the huge amount of Really Desperately Important Crap I trug around with me on a daily basis, and also because they can very often be a bit twee.

THIS wristlet is glorious, though. Most definitely not twee, and really quite refined. I adore the colour, and the way it it reminds me of a Victorian ladies’ purse but with a modern touch. Want!

Pewter Cow Hide Wristlet, by Pretty Girl Handbags: $28

How incredibly jaunty this Victorian circus poster necklace is! Wear it to work with a staid blouse (unbuttoned as low as you dare) to brighten up an otherwise dull day.

Pierrot Acrobat Necklace, by Mama's Little Babies: $25

Lovely and quite unusual purse with a delightful Victorian walnut tree print in gold. Pretty and practical (and very reasonably priced for such a unique item!)

Upcycled Leather Change Purse, by Midnight to Six: $11

The modern, sleek line of this magnificent cuff, combined with the vintage-feel lace & leather, is really beautifully done.

Leather & Lace Silver Lined Cuff, by UNEARTHED: $50

Hurrah – have made this post into an Etsy Treasury, so do feel free to browse by viewing it here, too – including the items I didn’t have room for here, but which are equally gorgeous and I will have to blog about tomorrow if I have time! (It will expire some time on Monday). 🙂

Oh yes, and GOOD NEWS:

I found my engagement ring!

Well, a nice handyman called Rupert (who was very posh and whom we fully expected to turn up in a tweed boilersuit) found my ring. And it was under the floorboards of the bathroom, as feared/expected. Phew. *waves of relief still washing over us*

Until next time, darlings,

Miss Nightingale


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m so into peacocks right now. The spats are super cool! Excellent collection!

Comment by Allie


Comment by Babinka1981

[…] Modern Nostalgic: Wearable Victorian Style […]

Pingback by Modern Nostalgic: Part the Second « Beyond the Pale

Woww I absolutely adore this selection!!
thanks so much for including my brooch :))

Comment by munieca

A) Those boots are amazing
B) I was in marching band for four years, and after wearing spats with my uniform many times, I never thought that spats were a viable option for actual fashion. But, oh look, turns out they are. Great post!

Comment by Coco

So many fantastic treasures to long for! Thanks so much for including one of my necklaces. xoxo

Comment by Mama's Little Babies

I love these wearable Victorian posts. The ruffles, the lace, and those boots! Those boots!! The tall, teal buttoned ones, they are to die for!

Comment by Denise @ Swelle

I have just discovered your site and , as an aging hippie Baby Boomer whose sense of style has always lingered in lace, embroidery and leather, I have this to say :WOW!!!!!!!.Your taste in what you feature is impeccable. Thank you so much for such fantastic and glorious posts.

Comment by Leslie Wood

Thank you *so* much for your lovely comment, Leslie! I’m so glad you like my style – we obviously share many of the same tastes. 🙂

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

[…] Peacock spats, found here. […]

Pingback by Trend #12: Spats | Choose again, and change.

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