How to Dress Like a Victorian Literary Hero…in honour of Queen Victoria

Happy Victoria Day lovely readers!

Now, if you don’t reside in Canada like I do, I realize that you may not have any idea what Victoria Day is. It’s a federal holiday here, where most people get the Monday off work (except apparently for my boyfriend, who has to work…which I think is RIDICULOUS)…all in honour of QUEEN VICTORIA’S BIRTHDAY!!! So basically I should be saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY QUEEN V!!! 😀

A lot of people from my suburban town spend this weekend going up to their cottages, having BBQs and parties and what not. That all seems super fun to me…but what upsets me about it is that people seem to forget why we have the holiday to begin with…and most people don’t seem to know who Queen Victoria is at all (HORROR!). As a passionate Victorianist, I feel that it is my job to right this wrong, and so I am writing my second blog post in as many days for that reason. Now, I don’t know that I can say that Victorian literature wouldn’t exist without Queen Victoria, because I’m sure Charlotte Brontë and Charles Dickens would’ve still written if Victoria wasn’t their queen. But I do quite like calling myself a Victorianist, and I like what I’ve heard of Queen V’s history, so I really do quite admire her as a lady! In any case, today’s post is going to be fashion-inspired and Victorian-esque and I hope you will all love it.

In case you missed it, I wrote a post entitled How to Dress Like a Governess a little while ago, in which I dressed like my favourite literary character Miss Jane Eyre. I had such fun writing this post that I immediately came up with an idea to do a similar (but I guess, opposite) post about how to dress like a 19th century literary hero. Strangely enough perhaps, it was easy for me to find items in my wardrobe that a gentleman of the likes of Mr. Rochester would wear, so I took a couple pictures and they’ve been sitting in a folder on my computer for months now. I just couldn’t determine the best time to write the actual entry and make it live and then I thought, “Well, Victoria Day of course! It’s the most logical choice!”. So here we are!

This whole idea basically stemmed from a pair of shoes…or boots rather. I actually went to Target with the sole purpose of finding a pair of boots exactly like this because my mom bought a pair and when I saw them I instantly recognized them as almost exactly like a pair Mr. Rochester wears in the 2011 movie adaptation of Jane Eyre. I mean, on last Thursday’s season finale of the TV show Reign I saw Bash wearing the EXACT same ones, and although that’s set quite a bit earlier than the Victorian era, I know I’ve seen Michael Fassbender as Rochester wear these beauties! You know what, I’m going to find a picture right now and post it on my Instagram to prove it…so click the link and check over there in a little while and see if I’m right! (Sidenote: My Instagram is somehow always full of pictures of swoon-worthy actors in period pieces so you may enjoy it!)

Anyway, these boots are distinctly Victorian to me. Maybe it’s the two different coloured pieces of leather, maybe it’s the height of them, maybe it’s the more masculine square heel. I have no idea…but when I put them on for the first time, I totally felt like hopping on a horse and going for a ride in the countryside!

How To Dress Like Mr.Rochester

So once I had the boots, I wondered if I could make a full outfit of Victorian male items. And I think I accomplished this…

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I wore this outfit to work and I’m surprised I didn’t talk with a British accent the whole day. I’ve chosen a different pair of boots here, a lighter tan, suede pair with a bit of a heel that come up to only the ankle. Again, they felt like something heavier and sturdier, that a gentleman who’s used to travelling through the moors might wear. Then I chose a black pair of dress pants…classic and sophisticated if you ask me. And I paired it all with a long black cardigan that actually has arm patches and a white dress shirt, which seems to me to be the go-to outfit for the 19th century man. Now, the tricky part was finding something that could serve as a cravat, that all too important signature of the Victorian man’s wardrobe. I mean, you do not see Rochester or John Thornton (of Gaskell’s North and South) walking around town without a cravat tightly wrapped around his neck…it just doesn’t happen. Obviously I don’t own an actual cravat, but I do have this dark grey scarf that is long enough to tuck into the dress shirt/black cardigan combination. That’s what I did in this photo and I was so pleased with the result. I know the photo is a little grainy, but I think when you look at all the pieces together, I really do look quite a bit like I fit into a period drama.

So there you have it – a little tutorial on how to dress like your favourite Victorian leading man! I hope you all enjoyed this post…and I hope it will remind a few people to pay homage to the namesake of this lovely era on this important day honouring her.

The Forever Victorianist,

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

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