How to nail a Victorian-era wardrobe

FROM high necklines to lace-up booties, fashion has fallen head over heels for all things Victoriana this season. Katie Wright explains how to nail this tricky trend
Andreja Pejic on the catwalk during the Giles Autumn/Winter 2015 London Fashion Week show. Picture: PAAndreja Pejic on the catwalk during the Giles Autumn/Winter 2015 London Fashion Week show. Picture: PA
Andreja Pejic on the catwalk during the Giles Autumn/Winter 2015 London Fashion Week show. Picture: PA

While many an autumn/winter collection mined a Seventies vein, elsewhere designers delved further back in history in search of inspiration.

None more so than Giles Deacon, whose barely-lit catwalk hosted an eerie parade of pale-faced, black-lipped beauties in swathes of black satin, pussy-bow blouses and wet-look black leather.

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Chloe and Louis Vuitton took up the Victorian mantle in Paris, albeit in a subtler manner, with puff-sleeved blouses and lace-trimmed frocks.

Now the high street has gone gaga for gothica, but the question is, how do you pull off such gloomy garments without looking like you’re dressed up for Halloween?

Fear not, we’ve got six super styling tips to help you unleash your inner Victoriana vixen - no bustle required.


If there’s one must-buy in order to tick the Victoriana trend box, it’s a blouse - high-necked, of course, in black or, at the very least, a berry-ish hue.

Embroidery on the yoke looks pretty and work-appropriate, while sheer detailing works well for evening.

Take your cue from the Louis Vuitton catwalk by pairing a leg o’mutton sleeve blouse with a leather mini skirt or wet-look jeans.

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• M&S Collection Top, £35; Faux Leather Button Through A-Line Skirt, £49.50; Diamante State Rings Set, £12.50; Earrings, £12.50, all Marks & Spencer (

• Wallis Berry Pleat Lace Blouse, currently £22.40, down from £32 (


Say hello to your new favourite LBD: the lace black dress.

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Whether it’s floral, sheer, all over or just a hint here and there, lace is fabric that will elevate a dress from ordinary to ornate.

Flouncy frocks not really your thing? Then try a bodycon LBD (the sleek silhouette keeps the look modern), but whatever the style, be careful not to overcrowd the look with too many accessories.

• River Island Dress, £50 (in store November;

• Dorothy Perkins Black Beaded Yoke Shift Dress, £50 (


If all that black turns you off, try the lighter side of the trend.

An off-white dress is ideal for day, worn with opaque tights and ankle boots, while an embroidered cream blouse is easy to work into your existing wardrobe paired with denim.

• Warehouse Victoriana Top, £55 (

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• Dorothy Perkins Ivory Lace Insert Dress, £28 (


Falling mid-way between the Seventies and Victoriana trends, the pussy-bow has made a much-deserved comeback this year in both blouse and dress form.

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A big bow high on the collar doesn’t always flatter fuller figures, however, in which case, you should lookout for keyhole detailing on the bust or pair a V-neck with a thin satin scarf looped choker-style, a la the Chloe catwalk.

• Giles Edition Black Bow Detail Dress, £70, Debenhams (

• Wallis Black High Neck Textured Dress, currently £33.60, down from £48; Black Suede Fringed Heeled Sandal, £55 (


Another way to tap into the trend if you’re looking to avoid high necklines is with a piece of well-placed jewellery.

An opulent jewel and pearl-encrusted necklace brings a Victorian vibe to even the simplest outfit - add matching cuff bracelets if you really want to look regal.

• Platinum Classic Statement Pearl Necklace in Grey, £128 (


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There’s only one shoe style that will suffice when it comes to this trend, and that’s the black lace-up bootie.

Block-heeled pairs are ideal for day, while sharp-toed, spike-heeled and patent are perfect for partying.

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And if you can’t be bothered with all those eyelets? Look out for clever hidden zips to help you slip in and out with ease.

• Office Intoxicate Lace Up Shoe Boots, £90 (

• Mademoiselle R Lace-Up Leather Boots, £69, La Redoute (