A Victorian Lady’s Accessories

I took delivery of my Victorian gown last week and am impressed by the work of my talented seamstress friend, Patricia Ricci. The dress is gorgeous, and I’m thrilled with it.

I’m looking forward to wearing the dress for the first time at the Awards Ceremony at the ACFW conference being held in St. Louis September 22-25. But as any Victorian lady could have told us, the dress itself is only one part of the ensemble. While of primary importance, one must have one’s accessories if one is to be properly attired.

Not only did Patricia create a stunning gown, she also agreed to design a hat to match. And what a hat! I squealed with delight when I saw it the first time. I think she outdid herself.

Patricia found flowers the exact shade of the dress and used black feathers and ribbon to match the trim on the dress. (Note: the coquettish smile was aimed at my Gwynly. :-))

Since I have a modern haircut, I asked Patricia to add a bow to cover the back of my head. She used the same fabric as the dress and added wide black ribbon. It looks great.

Since the dress has a V-neckline similar to what a married woman (or widow, which the heroine of my debut novel is) would have worn to a formal evening event such as the concert that takes place at one point in the story, I wanted to find a necklace. My writer friend, Karen Hansen, found this one for me on Amazon, and thought I might like it. How right she was. I love that it’s both locket and watch, the kind of item my heroine would have had for sale in her shop–one in direct competition with the hero’s. 😉

A Victorian lady wore gloves in all seasons. I found a satin pair with beaded scallops that look quite feminine. The fan is an accessory with many uses. It had a language all its own. A lady could let a man know she was interested–or not–by holding it in certain ways. I was delighted with the fan I found, which is made of Battenburg lace.

A Victorian lady carried a small handbag called a reticule. It could be a drawstring or clasp variety. I opted for a fancy beaded reticule with sequins. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the beading creates a floral pattern. The bag has a rounded bottom.

I found an adorable pair of boots. The laces are for looks since there are zippers on the sides. While I want to dress as a Victorian lady, I opted to use modern materials for price and care considerations. In the case of the boots, those worn by my heroine would not have had the laces threaded through grommets since they’d not come into wide use yet.

I’m essentially playing a grown-up version of dress-up and am happy to look the part of a Victorian lady even though I’m really a modern imitation. 🙂


About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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19 Responses to A Victorian Lady’s Accessories

  1. bethkvogt says:

    Keli, you. are. killing. me. Absolutely killing me. I want to leave my dress behind (the one I chose for the ACFW banquet, which was my mother of the bride dress, by the way) and go find some wildly beautiful Victorian gown to wear!
    It is not going to happen.
    Please, pretty as a picture please, may I have a photo with you?

  2. Hahaa! Gwynly better watch out! lol
    Your accessories are absolutely Gorgeous!! If I see you at ACFW, I might want to touch them. 🙂

  3. Wendy says:

    Check you out! And there is that smile!

    You are going to shine all night!
    ~ Wendy

  4. So beautiful! I LOVE that hat! I agree with Wendy, that smile is the perfect accessory!

  5. Loree Huebner says:

    You are going to be a knock out! The hat is just beautiful, and a proper lady always wears her gloves. Take loads of pics.

  6. Absolutely beautiful clothing and accessories, Keli! I’m salivating over that locket watch. It’s so feminine. Yes, please take pictures at the conference.

  7. The hat is fantastic and with all the accessories, you might just get stuck in time… the 19th century that is! Happy for all the fun you are having.

  8. Oh your accessories go perfectly with your Victorian gown!! Be sure to take lots of pictures at your award ceremony and post them soon! Just curious if you and Gwynly worked out the appropriate fan signals?!

    *Looking forward to reading your book!

  9. Best hat ever! So beautiful- and the watch and fan- I’m jealous.

  10. Oh Keli – – now I’m even more eager to see you in person!! You’re going to look fabulous as a Victorian lady – – and with the gorgeous dress, hat, and accessories….well, I guess the rest of us at the ACFW Banquet will pale in comparison. 😉 But that’s okay, because it’s going to be so exciting to see you in this lovely outfit (and finally meeting you in person!). 🙂

  11. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments. I appreciate each one.

    The experience of getting the Victorian gown and accessories has given me a deeper appreciation of the women of yesteryear. The dress is heavy and warm. I can’t imagine dressing like that all the time and having to remember the myriad rules of etiquette. What strong, brave, intelligent women our foremothers were–not to mention fashionable. =)

  12. What an ensemble! Love the hat and boots. (You know, I think I have that crocheted doilie.)

    Wish I could be there to see the whole shebang in person, Keli. Maybe next year. Have fun!

  13. Donna Pyle says:

    How beautiful! That era would have been so amazing to live in. Thanks for letting me visit, Keli. 🙂

  14. pepperbasham says:

    YAY!!!! LOVE IT, Keli

  15. Absolutely stunning! I was on deadline last week when you showed off your new gown and I meant to come back and comment, and then you treated us to the rest of the outfit. The whole ensemble is simply gorgeous! So much time and care put into them and you will look absolutely fabulous as a Victorian lady. 🙂

  16. Love it. You are going to look stunning. Absolutely cannot wait to see all the pictures.
    By the way, I’m a total dork, because I saw the picture and was like, “Oh, Keli got a hat!”
    I may be slightly vicariously involved with your outfit 🙂

  17. A delicious hat! It’s the perfect topping for your wonderful outfit.

  18. I’m late to the party here, but I LOVE this blog post!! It’s so nice to see the close ups of all the accessories you found to go with your dress!! I wish I could have seen everything put together in person, pictures only capture part of the awesomeness! (The photos are so wonderfully detailed so you must have looked absolutely breathtaking in person.) So happy you had fun, I can sense your excitement in all your posts about St. Louis! 😀

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