historical costume


Black History Month!

2016 edit: a lot of teachers and librarians asked if there was a poster for this that they could buy.  Nope!  This post was made as an educational aid and teachers oughtn’t have to pay anything to get it in their classroom.  So here’s a link to download the poster’s print file to print it yourself:
did include the series in my recent art book 555 Character Drawings, so if you want it in a book with a lot of other stuff, that’s available, too.

My favorite parts of history (as might be obvious from my choice of subject matter when making books) are the ones that fall into easily-categorized genres, genres with associated visual iconographies. This is the sort of stuff I loved as a kid: pirates, knights, cowboys, explorers, romans and Egyptians and flying aces. Stuff you could find featured in a bag of toys or a generic costume.

For Black History Month, I thought I might visit some of these adventure-leaning periods and pick a few historic black people from those eras to draw, just for fun. If you’re doing a project or report in school this month, you could do worse than to tackle one of these toughies.  Feel free to share some of these with youngsters that you know.  And call them youngsters, they LOVE that.

(longer write-ups under the break)

Keep reading


My 3.5 year old daughter wanted to be a princess for Halloween.  OK! I said, then all common sense flew out the door and I proceeded with making her an entire, (mostly) historically accurate 18th century Robe a la Francaise, using nothing but thrifted bed sheets for the fabric.

If you’re interested in the nitty gritty details - I’ve made a blog post detailing the construction process

ETA: I’ve had a number of the same questions asked about this costume - so I whipped up a quick Q&A post that you can read on my blog.

need refs/inspo for period clothing?

here you go:

lots of periods in one spot/fashion through centuries:

it indeed is western/european centric, I’m sorry for that, but for other cultures I simply don’t have so many references

ALSO note that most of the pictures show historical clothing from the upper classes or more festive clothing of the lower/working class because normal working clothes wouldn’t survive for such a long time, and the clothes were often re-used over and over again!


Tea Gown, House of Worth

France, 1910

Met Museum

Every one knows that a tea-gown is a hybrid between a wrapper and a ball dress. It has always a train and usually long flowing sleeves; is made of rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one’s family. It can, however, very properly be put on for tea, and if one is dining at home, kept on for dinner. Otherwise a lady is apt to take tea in whatever dress she had on for luncheon, and dress after tea for dinner. One does not go out to dine in a tea-gown except in the house of a member of one’s family or a most intimate friend. One would wear a tea-gown in one’s own house in receiving a guest to whose house one would wear a dinner dress. 

Emily Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, 1922.


One of the things I absolutely LOVE about OTGW is the array of historical costumes that the characters wear! To my eye, the garments span the years between about 1650 and 1910. You have:

• Lorna and Auntie Whispers in staid Puritan garments and hoods (mid-to-late 17th century)

• The Tavern Folk in mid-to-late 18th-century clothing and wigs

• Marguerite Grey and Quincy Endicott in French Rococo and Georgian styles, respectively (I love that they make an interior design joke in this chapter!)

• Beatrice (in her human form) in a distinctly Regency style dress (circa 1790s-1810s)

• Miss Langtree, Jimmy Brown and the animal students in late-19th/early-20th century styles (note Miss Langtree’s Gibson Girl hairdo)

• The riverboat frogs in the dandy duds of the early 20th century

How utterly delightful!

anonymous asked:

do you have any blogs/posts about period fashions?

We have a few links that might be of service!

Blogs, you ask?

  • costumehistory: History of Fashion and Costume throughout the centuries. (thanks, anon!)
  • fashionsfromhistory: Historical Fashions From The Past
  • ornamentedbeing. (thanks, anon!)
  • ravensquiffles: Goth, dressmaker, birdwatcher, lover of graveyards, churches, cathedrals and all things Victorian. (thanks, anon!)
  • fashioninhistory: A blog that showcases the works of designers from the 1700’s to the 21st century. (thanks, anon!)
  • historicalfashion: A blog posting historical fashion garments, portraits, or drawings from the Middle Ages to the 1950s, and some special exceptions for later dates. This includes photographs, explanation of the garment, and historical details. Long live the past!
  • mimic-of-modes: What it says on the tin.
  • howpeoplelived: This is a blog all about social history and the weird stuff that used to fly, from customs to costumes. I’ll try to cover historical themes from all over the world.
  • fripperiesandfobs: Pictures of costumes, both historic and modern.
  • 18thcenturyfashion: The fragments that are left to us in paintings and antiques, how we view it in film and popular culture and anything else that catches my eye.
  • damesalamode: Historic Ladies in Fashion- fashion plates from the 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • the-vintage-dress: This blog is where I express my love of vintage dresses.
  • awesomefashions: Cool fashions; all time periods.
  • defunctfashion: Historic Fashion and Exceptional Recreations
  • yeoldefashion: Pictures from fashion history.
  • oldrags: Fashion history blog (Favorite decades: 1910’s, 1800’s, 1870’s)
  • omgthatdress: A blog for fashion and history.
  • hatsfromhistory: I love hats. Especially historical hats. If I think they are beautiful, unusual, or interesting I’ll put them up here.
Not Tumblr (Still Awesome):

Thank you for your question!



Amazing historical costumer Kelsie Beaudoin (http:/eatsleepwritesew.blogspot.com) sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago asking if she could replicate my Cinderella gown from one of my fairytale portraits. Of course I said absolutely! I was thrilled she felt so inspired by my artwork… and even more so when she said she wanted to make it FOR me! What an incredible early birthday present! It just arrived, so I had to run out immediately and get some pictures in it!

“Sherlock throughout the Ages”

My second contribution to this month’s “Let’s Draw Sherlock” Challenge: Alternative Fashion Styles. Because I couldn’t decide which one to depict, I decided to draw a slideshow of 2000 years of fashion, all modelled by Sherlock. The periods I chose are:

  • Roman
  • Early Mediaeval (Age of Migration)
  • Anglo Saxon
  • Norman
  • Mediaeval
  • War of the Roses
  • Tudor
  • Elisabethan
  • Puritan
  • Restoration
  • Georgian
  • Regency
  • Victorian
  • Edwardian
  • WWI (officer)
  • 1920s
  • 1930s/40s
  • 1950s (Teddy Boy)
  • 1960s (Bondlock)
  • 1970s
  • 1980s/90s (Public School/Harrowlock)
  • Contemporary: Coat, Suit, Beepants, Sheetlock