Dressing Up – Vile Victorians and Vicious Vikings!

October 18

Dressing Up – Vile Victorians and Vicious Vikings!

Historical dressing up days are not always as popular with parents as they are with their offspring.  We often hear groans in the playground from busy parents annoyed with another dressing up occasion at school.  However, you can easily rustle up something at home with help from charity shops and your own wardrobes, no need to go to Amazon yet again.

How to Train your Dragon has inspired many young Vikings.  It’s common myth that Viking helmets had horns and wore natural colours such as brown and green – in fact they wore bright colours and hornless helmets and headbands.  A typical Viking boy would wear a tunic to the knees (use an adult’s T-shirt) and plain trousers (leggings/pyjamas) and criss-cross braiding around the calf (use house hold string or ribbon).  Cord or string can be used for a belt and you can even plait it.  Viking era girls wore long dresses (nightie/T-shirt and long skirt) in plain bright cloth with an apron pinned at the armpits (tea towel/length of fabric) and a cord or string belt.  You could always raid granny’s jewellery box or charity shops for metal brooches to pin the apron up with and braid your hair   A cloak could also be added – get a blanket or even towel to make the extra layer if it’s a chilly day.

Fast forward to 19th century and you might have a Victorian day, as we experience at Audley End.  A typical Victorian school girl wore a dark knee-length dress with long black stockings (tights) with flat boot-like shoes (school shoes).  Girls did not wear mob caps as these were worn by servant girls.  Young ladies wore their hair long and uncovered with long white ribbons.  If it’s a cold day a wool shawl would be suitable too.  The most prominent feature was the white cotton apron or pinafore (adapt an old white pillow case for apron and hair ribbons) trimmed with lace and fastened up at the back.  It was worn over normal clothes as a means of protection.  The Victorian school boy wore jackets and stout trousers (cut up some old trousers to ¾ length). On their feet, ankle boots with long socks.  Their shirts have large rounded collars but you can cut a school shirt collar easily and add a waistcoat or blazer.  Some boys wore a cap or even a bowler style hat and not doubt carried a catapult!

Researching authentic costume with your child can be rewarding and you will both learn so much about what people really wore in the past.  Failing that, we are always at the end of the phone in our Arkesden shop if you need advice, accessories or indeed a costume for you or your child.  

Tel 01799 551182 Email: info@thecostumeco.co.uk   www.thecostumeco.co.uk






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