Costumes (which are mandatory for all exhibitors and
staff) play a very important part in the creation of the Dickens
theme. An exhibitor once said, "They are the icing on the cake" and
indeed they are. As would have been the case in Victorian times, at
the show there is a myriad of different types of costumes from very
simple to very elaborate. We feel that the diversity in them only
adds to the event's authenticity.
Below you will find some simple suggestions of
various ways in which to acquire costumes. Please Note: The
suggestions are for a very basic level of costume. You are not
restricted to these at all, feel free to get as elaborate as you
want. Please make sure, however, that your attire is Victorian or
older in style and length. (Many people passed down clothing from
generation to generation. It would not be unusual for some of the
lower income people to wear clothing that was 50 years old.)
NINETEENTH CENTURY COSTUMING
Men's clothing during the 1800's were a bridge
between the previous centuries and our modern era; therefore,
presented a variety of styles. In the early years knicker-type
pants, fitted coats, long hose and cravats (scarf-like cloths wound
around the neck and tied in intricate knots) were the fashion.
Colors abounded for men as well as women. Towards the middle and on
through the end of the century, colors became increasingly somber.
The mid-19th century man satisfied his need for individuality with
bright patterned waistcoats (vests). The knickers gave way to long,
slim trousers, as the shirt collars became less high and stiff. The
fancy cravats gradually settled into large bow ties and ascots. The
ordinary man, especially shopkeepers, generally kept to somber
colors and used collarless shirts with and without cravats or
neckcloths. They wore vests throughout the century for warmth. Full
or half aprons were most universally worn.
EASY MALE COSTUMES
- KNICKERS: Pair of pants, cut-off about 2-3 inches below
the knee using the cut-off material to make a cuff that fits
snugly below the knee.
- STOVEPIPE TROUSERS: Slim-fitting trousers, solid
colors, tapered to ankle
- SHIRTS: White or colored non-patterned, long-sleeve
shirt with pointed collar. Heavily starched collar, ironing the
points over towards the outside. For Workman: Take collar off and
apply plain bias binding.
- APRON: Full or one-half apron of butcher-cloth, usually
The ladies' silhouette went from the slim-skirted,
high-waisted Regency look, to the Ante-bellum full-skirted
crinoline, and then back to a slimmer line swept back into a bustle
by the close of the century. Blouses for day were usually
high-necked with the big changes coming in the sleeves. The 1825
puffed short-sleeve became long, either slim or full, about 1850.
During the very last of the century the Gibson-girl style featured
leg-o-mutton sleeves and high stiff collars. Aprons worn for working
were almost as long as the ankle-length skirts. Materials from the
mid to late 1800's were in somber colors and of strong serviceable
cloth. Hair fashions were plain for daytime, especially around the
working class - smooth center part with the back of head bun or
snood. The softer pompadour look characterized the Gibson girl. The
mobcap of the 1700's lasted well into the 19th century, especially
among the working class for indoor wear. Simple straw boaters, or
modified bonnets, were worn outdoors.
EASY LADIES' COSTUMES
- BLOUSE: Use plain covered up round collared
long-sleeved blouse (cotton, silk, or satin material). Plain, oval
or round broach at the neck.
- SKIRTS: Very full long skirt. Use a number of
under-skirts or crinoline for the bell shape of mid-century.
Latter period skirts, less full, add bustle of same material.
- SHAWLS: Used extensively for warmth throughout the
- MOBCAP: Round piece of material edged with lace or
self-hemmed elastic sewn in about 1 ½ - 2 inches from outer edge
will draw piece into cap shape.
- APRONS: Usually white consisting of bib and straps and
front panel with self ruffles. Goes well with mobcaps.
3237 Waccamaw Blvd.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Theatrics Unlimited Inc.
Charleston, SC 29403
McCall Patterns #3722 for blouse
for show specifics.
Click here for
exhibitor information form.