Dress-down Friday: Fancy balls

If you were wondering how to stand out in the party season, might I suggest an incredibly labour-intensive Victorian approximation of something worn by the French Revolutionary-era reactionary scenesters known as Incroyables? Thanks, once more, to the Public Domain Review I’ve discovered Fancy Dresses Described, Or What to Wear to Fancy Balls, a book published in 1887 which is full of great costume ideas and highly detailed instructions for achieving them. Even better are the coloured illustrations which are indeed in-freakin’-croyable. I mean, that hornet? It’s…I…just…words fail me.

Fancy Dress 5
Fancy Dress 1
Fancy Dress 2
Fancy Dress 3
Fancy Dress 4
Fancy Dress 6
Fancy Dress 7
Fancy Dress 8
Fancy Dress 9
Fancy Dress 10
Fancy Dress 11
Fancy Dress 12



  1. Love. Love. Love. I’ve got my eye on the “bumble bee” number, along with the “playing cards” and “reptile” garb. Is that an owl or a cat sitting on top of her broom? Brilliant touch! Theadora

  2. Pingback: Curating a tidal wave | Strange Flowers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: