Victorian Prostitute Challenge – White Stuff

3 September 2010

It’s that time of year when the high street shops start to fill up with novel and not so novel variants on the ‘Gothic Victoriana’ theme and those of us who like to vamp about the place in black lace, silk and velvet stock up on boots, fishnets and skull patterns for the rest of the year.

Now, I could have written a post about putting together my favourite and best beloved ‘Victorian Prostitute’ look (I know it’s not politically correct but I’m interested in Victorian Prostitutes and also can’t think of any better way to describe the way I like to dress) from All Saints, Topshop, Warehouse or similar but where’s the fun in that? Where’s the challenge?

So without further ado and fanfare, I present A Victorian Prostitute Goes Wild in White Stuff. White Stuff, of course, being the fashion shop de jour for grown ups who don’t think they are quite grown up enough yet for the ubiquitous Boden.

Now, the thing about putting together a Victorian Prostitute look is to bear in mind that although black is GOOD, other colours are also very becoming and, most importantly, eye catching and the richer and more clashing they are, the better as far as I’m concerned.

Let’s start with a dress. It’s White Stuff so you can forget corsetry right away. Victorian Prostitute dresses can come in every colour, not just black and will be flouncy, patterned and have a bit of interesting detailing to them.

The O Clock dress (currently £45 in their sale) caught my eye because it is cotton and also has a nice colourful, busy rather Indian looking print, which is the sort of thing that was immensely popular in Victorian times.

The Up Ended dress also caught my eye (it’s £49.95) as it has a very Victorian feel to me. I like the pattern at the hem of the almost fairytale like flowers spreading up the skirt. It’s a bit creepy, which is the look that we are going for here.

Now for a cardigan. What we are looking for here is a crochet type knit and a loose fit.

Chapelfield Knit (£47.50) has the right sort of look going on.

Knit and Natter Cardi (it’s £45 and I’m not making up the names to these garments, I swear) is also good and I think is in keeping with the overall look as it’s a nice colour and has a homespun, crocheted look to it.

Now for a scarf to go with it, very important this. You could wear a threadbare marabou boa, but I think a nice knitted scarf is probably even better at this time of year.

This knitted scarf (£19.95) is perfect – a rich bloody berry colour and in a delicate knit – this is sure to evoke thoughts of Victorian Whitechapel, gin and alleyways.

Now for some gloves – lace or crochet mittens are excellent of course.

Rosie Cheeks gloves (£15) are just right – don’t be put off by the un-gothic flower embellishment, it’s just the sort of detail that Victorian ladies really loved.

Now for a bag to carry your bits and pieces. Now small, velvet and appliqued is usually best for this look but in the absence of anything like that, I’ve picked out:

The Applique Trinket bag (£47), which I will admit that I chose just because of its name. Now this is not as bad as you are probably currently thinking – names are very evocative, even if they seem to bear no relation to the actual item itself. It would be impossible to feel un-Victorian in a T shirt called ‘Gin Alley’ wouldn’t it?

Now for some jewellery. The best stuff for the Victorian Whitechapel look is to really pile it on and in as many rich colours as possible. Skulls, butterflies, semi precious stones, Lapis Lazuli, beetles, you name it. If it is patterned and richly colourful then it’s just right.

Teardrop beads (£19.95) are just right.

Dove Heart necklace (£15) is perhaps rather less so but I think Victorian ladies would have approved of it.

Patterned tights such as fishnets are great to wear on your legs along with knee high socks. I like the rakish, scruffy way that they look. It’s snug too.

Jessica net tights in grey (£8) would be perfect!

I think I love these long Flowers In Stripes socks (£8) best and they are probably the one item that I would most immediately pick out as ‘Victoriana’. They are just perfect for your Victorian look.

There is, of course, an abundance of Victorian styled boots around at the moment (I’m in the market for a new pair myself in fact – let me know of any good finds you come across!) but I was a bit challenged here and decided on:

Canvas Bike Boots (£85). You want something dark, calf height and a bit rough and ready so these should work pretty well.

Finish off with a pair of swinging earrings and a crimson velvet flower tucked into your dishevilled hair and you’re almost there. This was more of a challenge than I thought it would be but hopefully you get the idea of what I was going for!

Next up: how to dress like a Victorian Prostitute using only stuff from Boden. Which should be interesting.

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