A guide to Victorian Costume


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What a Victorian Schoolgirl Wore

Victorian Fashion and Victorian Costume

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The popularity of the Victorian Schoolday experience has led to some inaccuracies that are not consistent with the facts of history. The most prominent feature of the schoolgirl was the white cotton apron, often trimmed with lace. These actually did up at the back, not the side, and they were put on over the normal clothes as a means of protection. They were made of cotton and were often hand made by a parent. The normal schoolgirl dress would be knee length and be of a dark cotton or woollen material, often black and would be worn with long black stockings. The shoes would be flat and boot like. Girls did not wear the mob cap (sometimes wrongly called a mop cap) as this was worn by servant girls. The word mob, was derived from mab, which was another word for a slut (but at the time a slut simply meant a serving girl or drudge). They may have won a bonnet, especially on special days, but often they just had their head uncovered, often wearing white ribbons in the hair. Long hair was the norm.

What a Victorian Schoolboy Wore

The Victorian schoolboy (not those in public schools) would have worn jackets and stout trousers. On their feet they wore ankle boots, and those in short trousers wore long socks. The colours would have been drab. Their shirt had large rounded, stiff collars and was often worn without a tie. Boys would wear a waistcoat or jumper under their jacket. Some boys wore a cap or even a bowler type hat, but these would not be worn indoors.

What a Victorian Schoolteacher Wore

A lady teacher usually wore a simple black dress which was full length. A high collar white cotton blouse would be worn underneath. They would wear stout flat boots. The school mistress would wear her long hair up in a bun. The male teacher would wear a suit with a white shirt which had a deep rounded collar, and this was worn with a tie. Again he would wear the strong boots. Most teachers did not wear the graduate gown and mortar board because the majority were not graduates, although in public schools the standards were much higher and teachers would be graduates and most male teachers were in holy orders.

school class

The Victorian School Experience

Of course most of us are prepared to sacrifice a little historical accuracy for the sake of creating a memorable experience for children, so we have tried to select clothes that are as suitable as possible. As time goes on we will try to cource clothes which are more historically accurate, but they will almost certainly be made out of modern materials such as cotton/polyester or polyester, because these are easier to launder. If it is important to you to have costumes which are accurate, then we can provide details to help you make your own clothes, or we can provide a custom made service.