April 1, 2008
Victorian Corsets

Though corsets have been worn since even earlier than the 19th Century, in the Victorian period their use was very widespread. The lace-up waist-cinchers were meant to exagerrate the hour glass shape of a woman's body, to exagerrate curvy chest and hips and small a waist.

Corsets have been controversial for an article of clothing, both hated and loved. There were reports in Victorian times of corsets actually causing health problems from being tied up too tightly. "Fainting spells" in women were sometimes blamed on too tight a corset, for example.

Despite complaints related to corsets, they have endured in fashion even to today. (Most modern corsets, hopefully, being more comfortable and less dangerous than those of Victorian times.) They are popular as lingerie, and are even sometimes as outerwear. You can buy replica-Victorian corsets, as well as more modern versions, but which are still inspired by the Victorian corset.

It is ironic that the Victorian era, which is often thought of as a time of propriety and even prudishness, has given us such a lasting symbol of sexuality.

Posted by Jennifer.
posted at 7:07 PM - 0 comments
The inside of my lululemon bag
A good friend of mine,works for Lululemon- a very trendy yoga year company.
When the company was designing the prints for their spring/summer collection they looked to their employees for inspiration. Once the inspiration had been found they decided to go ahead a launch a line inspired by the Victorian's obsession with boldly colored prints, using the colors- black and white, burgundy and white, burgundy and black, and dark blue and white. They released a statement to their employees explaining why they had chose this as their inspiration.

They were "giving a more classical feel to yoga wear. We are trying to inspire people to live more simply, perhaps as they did in the times these prints were first popular."

Perhaps thinking that the Victorians could have used yoga and a healthy lifestyle.. Who knows, but in either case it's a big success and a print that can be seen on lululemon wearers everywhere and o course hidden inside my gym bag.

Posted by Sarah
posted at 9:56 AM - 0 comments

March 31, 2008
Nineteenth Century Gossip Girls
Extra! Extra!

This call has been heard on street corners for decades from many a young lad laden with newspapers and popular articles. Nowadays, this is saved only for films as magazines, newspapers and current times articles litter the stands of any and all convenience and grocery stores.

The content that carry these articles has changed drastically as well, as time has gone by. Magazines nowadays are littered with stories of overbearing and non-"underwear"-ing starlets who binge away their lives.

With such terribly written and pointless articles, it's hard to imagine that magazines were essentially invented during the mid-nineteenth century, or what was more commonly known as the Victorian era. Of course, there was a much greater variety in the Victorian era; there were of course the essential newspapers such as the London Times and the Standard, there were articles as well as penny novelettes which held interesting stories of fiction written poetically and often in prose form.

However, these articles often held tid-bits about the famous and elite of the time, which could be seen as the beginning of the rampant Britney and Paris exposés. Although in Queen Victoria's time, neither the paparazzi nor the general public were nearly as interested in reporting on, and reading about every annoying nuance about these said starlets!

Here are some "magazines" as they appeared during the Victorian era:

posted at 9:16 PM - 0 comments
My Victorian Home

Above is a picture of my house in Maple Ridge. My parents had it designed based on an 1880's Victorian home in Richmond, called the London Heritage Farm House. Our house is an example of the resurgence in popularity of Victorian-style homes that is currently taking place. There are many companies specializing in designing and building replica-Victorian homes, with gothic-inspired architecture, "gingerbread" wood detailing, and wrap-around porches.

Victorian-inspired style is also very popular now in interior design and decorating. The use of bold, botanical wallpaper, deep red- and blue- and green-painted walls, antique (or replica) furniture and accessories like clocks and vases, and oriental details (from Victorian Empire-building) are all aspects of Victorian decorating which have remained popular. Below is a picture of my living room (the couch is not antique but a replica, and more comfortable than it looks):

In our house, as you can see, we are literally surrounded by influences of the Victorian era.

Posted by Jennifer.
posted at 5:29 PM - 1 comments

March 29, 2008
Victoria's brilliant bijoux
For thousands of years, fashion has been used to display one's age, rank and wealth to the rest of the population, and jewelery in particular has been used to distinguish the nobility from the peasantry. However, in more recent times, fashion has become more of an icon, with relevant fashion accessories coming and going in the blink of an eye, and trends lasting for what seems like only minutes. Certain trends tend to cycle over time, like the skinny jean that has now resurfaced from the eighties, or the wedge heel that has had its comeback from the seventies, however, they always seem to disappear just as quickly as they've come.

There are, however, several trends that rarely go out of style and stand to inspire young designers and fashionistas. One such trend is that of the Victorian era, from it's lavish gowns and alluring hats, to its gothic grunge, this era boasts some of fashion's greatest influences. In fact, many of the previous posts on this blog recognize the influence of Victorian fashion in our modern world from the streets of London to the cover of Vogue!

One accessory from the Victorian era has made a particularly appreciable imprint on fashion; from the common population to the billion-dollar fashion industry, Victorian-influenced jewelery is apparent in every nook and cranny of our intensely modernized world. From delicate pearls to large gothic colliers, Victorian influence exists throughout the jewelery industry. Much of Victorian jewelery was known for its intricate design of the precious metals that made up the piece of jewelery, and many different shapes and types of stone were used to beautifully complete the piece. As well as lavish necklaces with matching bracelets and earrings, broaches also became extremely popular in the Victorian era, and are still sported today on the frock of many a young lady. Here are some examples of Victorian-influenced modern pieces:

So next time you find yourself out of the loop as far as fashion goes, and you can't decide which set of jewelery is relevant to wear with your cocktail gown, take comfort in the age old adage that is Victorian jewelery.

Posted by Melissa
posted at 11:02 PM - 0 comments

The Blog:

Created by five SFU students for Dr. Stephen Ogden's English 206 class, this blog is, simply put, just for show. We are interested in the idea of "Victorian Cool," or more specifically how Victorian aesthetics are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The posts in this blog are materialism at its finest; fashion, architecture, jewelry, furniture, and whatever else catches our eye. Why has this brand of Victorianism re-entered mass culture? Read the blog and find out!

The Contributors:


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