If you are taking a trip to Europe, London is probably one of the destinations you hope to hit. While you are there, in between visiting Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, make sure to stop by the Victoria and Albert Museum and look at their extensive collection. Not only is admission free (yay!), the museum contains some of the best examples of Victorian Fashion on display. From corsets to wedding gowns, the fashions that are on display are true to their time and preserved in the best possible way. Unlike many current fashion museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum also contains men’s clothes and fashions. At the Victorian and Albert Museum, you will be able to not only see the clothes in person, but also learn the history of each piece and about the time period in which it was made.
Don’t want to travel all the way to London? No worries! The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has an equally compelling collection of gowns and other Victorian Era fashions on display. Along with the dresses on display at the Met, other decorative art pieces, like chairs, tables, mirrors, and other decorative art pieces of furniture are on display for the public to enjoy. Although admission isn’t free, the collection is definitely worth the small deposit at the entrance. A benefit of the Met’s collection is that most of the pieces are able to be viewed on their website. Although this is completely different than going to see the pieces up-close-and-personal at the actual museum, it’s a great alternative for those of us who live outside New York.
Some of the fashions that can be found at both of these museums are corsets from each transition in the Victorian era, detailing the evolution of the corset from tight and restrictive to more liberating and free. Of course, gowns are on display, like the ball gowns that mark the start of the Victorian era and then transition to less full bustled gowns of the late 1800’s. Day dresses, evening gowns, shoes, and hats fill the hallways of these museums, making them the perfect place to visit if you’re a Victorian enthusiast.
What’s even better is that these two museums aren’t the only places to get your fix for Victorian Fashion. While they might be the two largest and well-known, there are smaller museums all across the country that keep Victorian Fashions on display. And, you can get your very own Victorian clothes for your reenactments, costume parties, dramatic productions, or just for fun, here at Recollections! We make customizable Victorian gowns that will be sure to fit your needs and your personal style. Check out our Victorian pages on Pinterest and our website (links below) to get started on building your Victorian closet!