My Dream Wardrobe

(Last updated on 22 December 2014)

I fantasize about having a lavish historical wardrobe of clothing I like and that works with my figure. This is my dream historical wardrobe. I don’t own any of these…but I would if I could.

17th Century: The 1600’s were decades of style evolution and regional differences. Although personally those mongo neck ruffs aren’t my thing, sometimes they really make the dress work.


18th Century:




1830’s: not one of my favorites for fashion. I usually dislike the huge gigot sleeves that were so popular and I’ve never liked the short, severely angled sleeves with tons of pleats.

Having said that, there a few styles I do like from late in the era, and even though I know the pelerines go over those huge gigot sleeves I like them anyway. And once in a while even the gigot style works for me, especially when done in one of the wigged-out colors and prints. So now, after having told everyone that I absolutely hate the 1830’s fashions, I find there are quite a few that I really do like.


1840’s and 1850’s: The fabrics! The colors! The prints! The shapes! Love them all.


Civil War:


Hoop-to-Bustle Transitional Styles: When the hoop skirt lost popularity it was replaced the bustle. As the style evolved, an elliptical shape appeared that evidenced the change from having the fullness of the skirt evenly distributed to having the fullness of the skirt more toward the back and with a train.


Early Bustle Era (1869-1876): one of my favorites – although I couldn’t exactly tell you why. Just love it.


Natural Form Era (1877-1882):


Late Bustle Era (1883-1889):


1890’s: the bustle disappeared for good in “The Gay “’90s.” It was another time of huge sleeves (they were at their biggest in 1895) this time referred to as “mutton” because the shape resembled a leg of lamb, so I usually don’t go for this style either. But sometimes it just works.


Edwardian (1901 – 1914):  Fashion went through a lot of changes during these years and there’s probably a little something for everyone.


WWI (1914-1918): often not the most flattering shapes, in my humble opinion, but there was some really interesting style evolution happening.


1920’s: another one of my not-so-favorite fashion eras, only because I have a slightly bottom-heavy hourglass shape and pointing it out by putting a wide band around my hips makes me  look a bit like a hippopotamus.  But man-o-man they had style and eventually I’ll make one or two. (But not the sequined dresses…there are limits, after all.)


1930’s:  I love the clothing from this era – it’s all about sleekness and line. Again, not so good for the hourglass figure but the styles are so appealing that I can get past it. I especially love the evening wear.

And the day wear is pretty slick, too.



The 1950’s: This is the decade I arrived. I remember at lot of these styles and there is some subliminal comfort there.

And this is as far forward as I go…I remember everything else.

7 thoughts on “My Dream Wardrobe

  1. Ive just started lurking about your place here and I find the company delightful!!! as a 6 foot tall woman age 58 Im not exactly doll mannequin material myself but I have been nonetheless collecting for over 20 years now and visit every costume museum I can get to.{Last achievment :the Costume Museum of Bath, Great Britain……someday, perhaps the Kyoto Museum of Western Dress….someday……}

    Dont generally care for the 20s myself, unless its a party gown destined for a Gatsby event with 30 pounds of crystal beads on it. Most 20s outfits I find quite draggy assed and dowdy{and monkey fur trim makes me want to vomit} plus those awful cloche hats made everyone look like a Q Tip. But I thourougly get why the fashions were so embraced… much freer and simpler they must have been to the women of the day.

    Anyway keep up the great work…..were lurking!!!!

    • Welcome to the “shadows,” where lurking is celebrated. 😉

      Costuming can be tricky when you’re a bit non-standard. I was already 5’9″ tall when I started the 6th grade – taller than most of the teachers and 4 inches taller than the principal. I have a long torso, shortish arms and legs, and a large head: getting a balanced period look requires planning. But I figure if I have these odd proportions now someone must have had to content with the same issue in the past. Therefore it’s possible to do.

      I’m absolutely green over your visit to the Costume Museum of Bath – it’s on my list, too. As is Tirelli in Italy and, be still my heart, Kyoto. I don’t know whether Abiti Antichi is a displayed collection or a virtual museum only, but I love to spend some time with those garments as well. Sigh.

  2. I am so very much enjoying browsing you pages, especially this of your Dream Projects. I am curious that it does not include illustrations for the 1920s…is that to be part of your “More to Come” section?
    (–hoping your cold is soon gone away!)

    • My Dream Projects page has been sorely neglected for quite a while and is in need of updating.

      There are two fashion eras that just don’t float my boat; the 1830’s (sorry Val!) and the 1920’s. I also have a hard time with 1895 and those ginormous sleeves, a la 1830’s. However, I know that one day I will want something from the 1830’s, 1895, and the 1920’s so I’m keeping a look out for extant garments that will work for my height and shape. (Hard for an hourglass to pull off the ’20s without looking like the broad side of a barn.)

      I have found a couple of potential candidates for the 1830’s – I do love the fabrics from that era – and maybe one for 1895. But the 1920’s continue to elude me. So the search continues. And I’ll update the “More to Come” parts of the page, too. 🙂

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