Long before we were backcombing our hair there was a more romantic gothic style, in the form of the whimsical, elegant fashion of the Victorians. We can trace the roots of this darkly elegant style back to the memento mori period of the Victorians, from bustles to crinolines, and tightly cinched corsets, and my, they certainly did look the part!
The nineteenth century was full of curiosities, from a love of the supernatural, to the beautifully dark world of mourning jewellery, so much from the Victorian era has come to shape gothic style, beyond mere fanciful fashions.
We’ve fallen in love with the gloomy atmosphere, dark tales and romantic styles of the Victorians, and with such whimsical images and dark delights from the time, it’s no wonder that we’ve incorporated it into gothic fashion to create a look that’s as dark as it is beautiful.
Gothic itself dates back even further than we could imagine, the term was often used to describe grand swooping architecture long before the time of the Victorians, but it soon became associated with the dark, haunting literature of the 1800’s into the Victorian period. We already know and love the work of authors such as Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Edgar Allen Poe from this genre, whose mysterious, supernatural and dark tales stirred up images of gothic romance and horror.
There was plenty of interest in the supernatural and unknown throughout the Victorian era, not just from tales dreamt up in novels, but from unexplained phenomena, to the occult and spiritualism, all creating a darkly romantic image that we still associate with the gothic today. That, and a sudden movement in mourning jewellery, have helped to shape the Victorian gothic imagery that we so often conjure up with the period. People often wore pieces of mourning jewellery to remember their loved ones, often clad in black and worn during times of mourning, the styles of jewellery worn during this time were far more gothic than you could imagine, from coffin shapes, to human hair woven into lockets.
But it wasn’t all about mourning and gothic horrors, the Victorians were often fashionably and elegantly dressed, and it’s the look of this period, of bustled skirts, tightly laced corsets, top hats and parasols, that we come to associate with Victorian gothic style today. They were a well dressed bunch, taking the time to piece together the perfect outfit before they even stepped out of their abode, piecing together a very visual and perfectly thought out look.
Every detail was impeccable, not just for elegantly dressed ladies, but for dandies and gentlemen of the time too. The key to a Victorian gothic outfit is plenty of layers, and perfectly crafted pieces, from the garters, right down to the lace gloves, women’s outfits often consisted of many layers, from bloomers and corsets, most often worn underneath the clothing as opposed to outside like we do today, to bustled skirts, ruffled blouses and co-ordinating jackets, finished off with plenty of accessories. Men’s clothing may not have been as layered as the time tasking outfits of Victorian women, but they were still as perfectly pieced together, with waistcoats and frock coats often worn over suiting, before adding the finishing touches with items such as pocket watches and top hats.
Today the Victorian gothic outfit may not be as layered, but it’s still crafted to perfection, with a few minor changes completing the perfect outfit. Items such as corsets are now worn on the outside, and often embellished in the finest of gothic prints, from macabre images to lush darkly coloured brocade fabrics, often worn alongside shaped blouses, ruffled and bustled skirts, and stylish jackets, with plenty of gothic accessories finishing off the look.
It’s certainly a look that takes time to perfect, but you can piece together a Victorian Gothic outfit with ease, starting off with staple items such a good sturdy steel boned corset, either plain black like this Gothic steel overbust corset by Rebel Madness, or go for an embellished piece like this silk baroque underbust corset by Manuela Biocca.
Team it up with a trouser or skirt suit, pieces like this Long tulle bustle skirt by Rebel Madness are perfect to shape your look, or why not go for a fully Victorian look with this stylish Crinoline by Manuela Biocca to layer either under or over your skirt for a striking look.
For the perfect Victorian gothic gentleman’s outfit, team up items like this Victorian military jacket by PunkRave with your favourite suit, adding items such as pocket watches or top hats to complete your outfit.
The key to any Victorian Gothic look is plenty of accessories, from lavish jewelled necklaces to brooches and rings, pieces like this Jet black elegant choker by Mystic Thread are perfect for the Victorian look. Or try something a little darker with this Floral bird cameo necklace by Gothic Elegance for the perfect piece of memento mori jewellery.
Finish it off with items such as lace gloves and hats for the perfect Victorian Gothic outfit, this Mina hat by Sakura Millinery conjures up images of Victorian gothic romance, and it’s even inspired by Dracula’s Mina!
However you want to dress up your Victorian gothic outfit, you’ll find plenty of astounding pieces to perfect your look from our sellers here at the marketplace, from bustling skirts, to memento mori inspired jewellery and hats.