REPOST: The Costumes of “Victoria: Season 1”

As I take a month’s hiatus from writing new content for my blog, I invite you to revisit with me a few of my old posts. This first one was written in April of 2018 and remains, in my opinion, one of the prettiest posts I’ve ever put together. Enjoy the frills and folderols–and yes, still feel free to leave comments! I’m not ghosting this place completely!

Ever since I saw Cranford (and its Christmas-centered sequel, Return to Cranford) the 1840’s have been my second-favorite decade after the 1940’s as far as ladies’ fashions are concerned. The utterly outrageous hoop skirts of the 1860’s were still twenty years away, while the huge leg-‘o-mutton sleeves of the 1830’s were also falling out of favor. Of course, corsets were in full use and I have no doubt those women smothered during the summertime, but I do think the dresses were simply beautiful and wouldn’t even mind wearing one of them for a day–corset and all–just for the aesthetic and the experience.

This is why the dresses in Victoria hold a special appeal for me. The series starts in the very late 1830’s, of course, so the first two dresses that caught my eye do feature the fashionably enormous sleeves and dropped shoulders of that decade, as featured in the collages below.

Visiting Buckingham Palace for the first time. (All images for this post, by the way, are from http://jenna-coleman.com/gallery/index.php?cat=67.)

Victoria wears either this navy blue frock or a very similar one with polka dots several times in the first three episodes. The neat thing about both dresses is that she can change the look of it simply by adding a lace collar like this one. She continues to make good use of this ingenious option with nearly all her dresses throughout both seasons. More on that later.

Coronation dress, with close-up detail on the pattern.

We only get a quick glimpse of her coronation gown, but it’s absolutely lavish. Take a look at the pattern on the fabric–absolutely beautiful. And, to quote the real Lord Melbourne’s actual comment regarding one of Victoria’s dresses, “Amazing sleeves!” The fact that she gave Dash a bath while still wearing this piece of art is both adorable and a little horrifying!

Maybe the resemblance to my mom’s old prom dress is why I love this one so much…

For a long time, this pink dress won my grand prize for “Favorite Dress (At Least In The First Season).” It got bumped down a bit by the Purple Dress (more on that one later), but I still love the collar and the lace hanging from the sleeves–and oh, the color! I know it’s not cool anymore, but I actually do like pink.

Nearly identical dresses, different lighting.

I believe it was the show’s costumer (or maybe Daisy Goodwin?) who stated that Victoria’s clothes reflect her growth as a woman. The earlier the episode, the more girlish and “princess-like” her clothes are. The pink dress and the coronation gown are perfect examples of this, but we see a definite shift after Victoria proposes to Melbourne at Brocket Hall. From that point on, her wardrobe starts to mature with her. Gone are the puffed sleeves and girlish patterns. Even her hairstyles change, as seen early on in her courtship with Prince Albert.

I call the dress featured above “the Cinderella gown,” on account of the color and shimmering material reminding me of Lily James’ ballgown in the live-action Cinderella. It’s still on the “princess-y” side, but in the right-hand picture from “The Clockwork Prince” you definitely see the much more grown-up hairstyle coming into play. Note, too, the pointed waist as the 1840’s aesthetic begins to emerge.

That ruffled collar, though.

The “Proposal Dress” also features a more grown-up hairstyle–and oh goodness, those sleeves–and the ruffles! We get to see this one again the day after Victoria and Albert’s wedding, in much more natural lighting. The candlelight of the proposal scene left me unsure about the color–for the longest time I thought it was pale yellow–but after fiddling with the color/brightness tools on my graphics program, I now think it’s more “peachy.”  Notice the embroidery on the bodice, too!

Note the bodice pleats!

This powder-blue dress is my sister Anna’s favorite, and my second-favorite. Victoria wears it several times with or without the lace collar and with different hairstyles. But again, the addition of the collar makes it seem like she’s wearing a completely different dress! Only the color and the pleats in the bodice give it away.

My favorite Season 1 dress; note the lace collar detail in the bottom right and the bodice pleats–identical to the powder-blue bodice!

Queen Victoria really did love purple, so the dress she wears when she confronts Albert just before their wedding is a historically-accurate costuming choice. And after giving it a lot of thought, I’ve finally decided: this one is my favorite. That deep, rich purple has been my favorite color since I was very small, the dress itself is more on the conservative side (hello, My Personal Aesthetic)–and we’re really seeing the elegant silhouette of the 1840’s that I raved about earlier.

This dress actually shows up for the first time during the “Ladies in Waiting” episode, and I’m pretty sure it’s also the first dress we see with long, close-fitting sleeves! BUT! I strongly suspect it’s also the same dress as the powder-blue one. Either the costuming department re-dyed it or simply used the same pattern, then added a different collar and took the lace off the sleeves. I never noticed it until I started putting this post together!

Sophisticated and queenly! The sleeves are similar but not identical to the ones on the Proposal Dress.

And last but not least for Season 1, the one I call the “White Tea Dress.” This is the one Victoria wears when she makes a deal with Uncle Sussex about his wife’s title and Albert’s position of precedence. As far as I can tell we only see it once, but it’s positively queenly, isn’t it? It’s the perfect outfit for a scene where Victoria makes incredible use of both her intelligence and authority, but in a restrained, dignified way.

Which one of these dresses is your favorite? Or do you have another one from Victoria: Season 1 that I didn’t mention? Or even an outfit from Season 2? Let me know in the comments!


Hiatus Announcement! (And also a tag)

Hey there, peeps! Hope things are all well and good on your side of the Internet, and that you’re having a lovely Memorial Day!

As you can see from this post’s title, I’ve got an unusual announcement to make: I’ve decided to take a month’s hiatus from blogging. I still plan on sending out my monthly newsletter on June 3, and I’ll be reposting some of my older articles for the next five Mondays just to keep the blog alive. But I need time to focus on some other things right now, and if I don’t have to generate brand-new content every week, it’ll be helpful.

That said, I was tagged by WinterFlower of the Waiting For Spring blog last week, and I’d still like to do it as my final post for May. Feel free to take this tag and run with it on your own blogs–or share your own thoughts on my answers in the comments! Social distancing and quarantining are very relatable subjects these days, and I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

The Social Distancing Tag

Photo by Nick Bolton on Unsplash

What’s your current attitude toward COVID-19 and social distancing (honestly)?

I really want to “do my little bit” in protecting the compromised folks in my community. I am starting to suspect that–ahem–Certain Authorities are getting too comfy with the level of control they have over the citizenry, but that doesn’t mean that I think COVID-19 itself is something to dismiss lightly.

Has your schedule become busier or more open as a result of social distancing?

Well, I didn’t have many activities outside my home to begin with. I was pretty involved in my church, though, and since choir practice and Sunday worship have been eliminated from my schedule, Wednesdays and weekends are much quieter than they used to be. Yoga class and our weekly Walmart trip have gone by the wayside, too, so Fridays have become an extra writing day.

If you were public schooled before COVID hit, how has your experience with homeschooling been (whatever that looks like for you)? If you were already homeschooled, how has COVID affected you or not?

Since I haven’t been in school in ten years, I can’t speak too much on this subject, haha. But my homeschooling siblings have caught up on a lot of schoolwork these past two months!

How are you staying connected with people?

lot of texting. Some phone calls. My sister and her baby still come over once a week to visit us. I’ve been able to participate in a drive-by birthday party and two different birthday card campaigns, as well.

How do you wish people would connect with you?

I don’t really have any complaints on this front. I think we’re all just doing our best.

What has been the most difficult part of social distancing?

Not being able to worship with my church family. Not only do I miss congregational singing and Communion, but I often find myself very lonesome for my friends–especially my choir buddies.

Have any blessings come out of it?

Life runs at a slower pace, which is always good. I’ve gotten a lot of good writing done. We’ve been able to rest more.

What’s been most encouraging to you through social distancing?

Seeing all the ways in which families have been able to grow closer and spend more time with each other has been pretty awesome. My family is very close-knit, so it warms my heart to watch others experience that same closeness and camaraderie.

Have you learned anything new or made any accomplishments during this time? (Even small ones)

Yeah! I won Camp NaNoWriMo, wrote two articles for Cultivating, got my first rejection letter from a publisher (and it was a personal letter, no less–very informative and encouraging!), and got back to walking a mile every morning.

Is there anything you want to achieve or learn or do before social distancing ends?

I WANNA GO TO WALMART. I know, it sounds so trivial, haha! BUT I WANNA GO TO WALMART. I just want to SHOP. And SEE PEOPLE (in writer-speak, that means “people-watch”). And BROWSE THE MOVIE SECTION. And STROLL THROUGH THE BAKERY. (I do love the bakery.)

So that’s my tag…and my cue to close the curtains and dim the lights for a few weeks. Remember, the newsletter still goes out next Wednesday (be sure to sign up if you haven’t already), I’ll be recycling some of my older posts…and you’ll still be able to find me on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll be back with brand-new reviews and articles in July!

P.S. I realized this weekend that many of the links in my Movie, Book, Music, and Television pages were broken due to the change in my domain name earlier this year–but they’re all fixed now. Peruse to your heart’s content!


Redeeming The Rise of Skywalker: Vlogging With Emily!

Two weeks ago, Emily of The Altogether Unexpected and I collaborated on “Defending The Rise of Skywalker,” a mega-post where we discussed exactly why we love the rather controversial, admittedly flawed, but nevertheless wonderful final film of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.

This week, we are so excited to bring you Part 2: our VIDEO discussion on The Rise of Skywalker‘s redemptive themes!

Enjoy our musings on how you can find the Christian concept of Ordo Salutis (“Order of Salvation”) in the Bendemption–how the themes of redemption and restoration affect nearly every other story arc (the Serpent, the message on the Sith knife, the Dyad, etc.)–how the Jedi Order can be seen as a metaphor for the Church–and much, much more!

We had way too much fun putting this video together, and we hope you enjoy actually seeing our faces and hearing our voices as we philosophize (and fangirl) over one of our favorite movies. Last but not least, let’s give Emily a big hand for her beautiful editing! She spend a lot of time weaving a few movie clips and a hilarious opening crawl into the video, and the end result is pretty awesome. She’ll be posting the video with her own thoughts on her blog as well, so be sure to check out her link and read her introductory thoughts, too 🙂

As always, feel free to engage us with questions, comments, debates, and fangirling/fanboying!

UPDATE (MAY 21, 2017): Since we posted this vlog, Emily’s ORIGINAL edit of the discussion, full of Star Wars clips and music, was cleared by Disney’s censors on YouTube! As a result, I’ve updated this post with this richer and very beautiful version of the vlog. Enjoy!