Springingtiger's Blog


After Victoria

After Victoria what? The Twentieth Century, I suppose. The first series of Victoria on ITV has finished and I’m going to miss it. On Monday the latest series of Ripper Street ended on a cliff hanger. Now where will I get my weekly shot of Victoriana? I could watch The Victorian Slum, but I watch for inspiration and uplift and I suspect the slums will not provide that, Ripper Street was gritty enough for me.

I have loved the costumes on Victoria as the Hanoverian age gave way to the modern age of Victoria. Having seen Jenna Coleman in contemporary dress as Clara Osborn I am firmly of the opinion that the dresses of the Victorian era were much more flattering to women. Of course, never having had to be laced into a corset myself, that’s an opinion I can hold without discomfort. The flattering elegance of Victorian clothes is, for me, one of the main attractions of Steampunk. Many women in the Steampunk community prefer to wear outfits drawn more from the shady side of Victorian society, it’s all about self expression, but I personally prefer decorous elegance.
I also enjoy the male attire of the period, I think I need a stovepipe hat…I know I need a stovepipe hat! It is in menswear that it is most obvious that the Hanoverians are the recent past. Much of the neckwear is the same as one would see in a Recency romance. When we get to Ripper Street set in Victoria’s later years the men’s clothes prefigure men’s clothes of today. Again this shows in the neck ties, but also in shorter jackets than the earlier frock and tailed coats and in suits whose jackets and trousers match. However the dress of any era carries over into those that follow and so even today we see men occasionally in frock coats or tails, and frequently in the case of Steampunks.
As for me I shall have to fill the vacuum left by the absence of Victoria and Ripper Street by watching Oscar Wilde DVDs. I may even go back further and indulge in a bit of Jane Austen (I don’t care what anyone says, Matthew McFadden is the best Darcy on film!). Perhaps a few westerns, I’m thinking of The Iron Mistress with Alan Ladd. I am looking forward with eagerness to Victoria’s return.

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