Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was the longest-ruling female monarch in history. We often think of her as the elderly widow of her later years, but the movie “The Young Victoria” reminded us that she was frisky once. It also reminded us (if we needed reminding) that being Queen of England involves some absolutely gorgeous clothes and jewelry.
The pieces we suggest, from left to right:
1. Royal blue satin ballgown with ivory lace trim. The seller’s main picture of this gown is red, but the inset image shows what the royal blue satin looks like. You’ll need to specify the color of the satin and the lace when you order.
2. Five-bone hoop skirt. You absolutely must have a hoop skirt petticoat to make the dress pouf out. This one has a maximum bottom circumference of 149 inches, which means it will fit nicely under the dress in #1. (It can also be adjusted down.) You can also get a hoop skirt from the seller of the dress in #1 if she has it in stock. We also suggest a corset; it’s not required, but it will give you the correct period silhouette.
3. Stars and garters. On formal occasions Victoria wore her Order of the Garter regalia: blue sash, diamond Garter Star, and diamond Lesser George sash badge. Get a plain blue sash from a party store; make sure you wear it over your left shoulder. We chose a rhinestone brooch in the shape of a Maltese cross to stand in for the diamond Garter Star (pin this over your left breast), and a large bow-shaped rhinestone brooch to serve as the diamond sash badge (pin this where the sash crosses at your hip).
4. Rhinestone tiara. Gotta have a tiara. The bigger the better, but this one is a nice compromise between price and size.
5. Rhinestone necklace and earring set and rhinestone bracelet. Queen Victoria loved diamonds. Her famous collet diamond necklace (Emily Blunt is wearing a replica in the screenshot from “The Young Victoria”) contained huge stones, so we recommend a rhinestone set that’s as bold as possible. The bracelet looks great over evening gloves.
6. White evening gloves and blue lace fan. Both from the Ladies’ Emporium, which has all kinds of fun Victorian things.
Hairstyle: In the portrait of Queen Victoria included in our main illustration, she’s wearing the classic early Victorian period tripartite up-do. This blog has excellent pictures and instructions: Locks of Elegance Braided Victorian Hairstyle. The hair is combed flat and parted in the middle; then the hair in front (from the ears forward) is pulled into two sections. The remaining back section is braided or coiled into a chignon. The two front sections are combed flat against the face, and then looped back to meet up with the chignon. These two front sections can also be braided, which makes the looping back easier. Note that the look of this hairstyle is very different from later up-dos in the nineteenth century. The way the front sections are drawn forward and down is distinctive.
You do need to have longish hair to pull this off. If your own hair won’t do, you might consider an inexpensive brown wig that you can comb and braid.
Shoes: Nobody is going to see your feet under that dress! But if you want to keep in period style, wear Isotoner ivory satin ballet slippers. The small picture to the right shows Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding shoes, which were the same kind of evening shoes all ladies wore in that period. They’re ballet slippers, basically; they even have ribbons. Modern Isotoners are an excellent substitute. Heels started coming back after 1850, but they were very low.