A Brief Trip to 1914: More Easy {Late} Edwardian Costuming on a Budget

July 18, 2015


It seems that everywhere I go thifting these days, I find Edwardian-esque bits and pieces. I guess my eyes have just gotten so attuned to looking for costume stuff that I nearly forget to look for modern clothes for day-job-me to wear!

I’ve been using vintage blouses to make Edwardian outfits forever, but back in January or so, I found this late 1970s Sears dress on eBay, and it just screamed mid-teens:


I found the same style of dress listed on Etsy  just today! That one’s listed as 1950s, but this dress looks more like late 1970s to me. Little polyester “secretary” dresses with elastic waists and puffy sleeves were very popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, so they are readily available in lots of style, colors, and sizes.

Another 1980s cutie from Etsy with great color.

This one would look great with a red underskirt and a rose-covered hat!

The collar on this dress is so ADORABLE!
I…I may have an obsession…

Most are too short to wear as Edwardian costumes on their own, but with a long, fitted underskirt added, they’re smashing for 1912-1914 outfits! In those years, having a tunic or peplum look over a fitted skirt was extremely popular:

“Costume Parisiens,” circa 1912

“Costume Parisiens,” circa 1913

Fashion Illustration, circa 1913

“Fashion Plate No. 561,” circa 1914

I was in the midst of another Edwardian project when I realized the navy skirt would perfectly match this striped dress I’d bought months before. Add in a serendipitous pair of 1980s Goodwill shoes…


…a Thrift Town hat…


…and I had an outfit!


1914 Outfit Breakdown:

Vintage dress – $12.43, eBay
Brown felt hat – $5.99, Thrift Town
Navy “lace-up” heels – $7.99, Goodwill
Navy cotton sheet (“underskirt”) – $1.99, Thrift Town

Total: $28.40

You’ll notice that the navy blue “underskirt” has a flappy panel that looks a bit odd with the outfit I have on. It’s because I’m actually wearing this over 3/4 of another dress, but I’m not done with it yet! It still needs sleeves and finishing touches, like the kick-pleat which, right now, is nothing but a scandalous open seam:


If Angelina Jolie was a suffragette

When I’m done with the other dress, I will buy/make a columnar navy maxi skirt to underneath my striped secretary dress. Either way, though, it’s an easy-to-make and easier-to-wear costume that looks pretty authentic for being a polyester remnant of the disco era!


Minka was jealous that mama was getting all the camera time. What a ham!

7 Responses to “A Brief Trip to 1914: More Easy {Late} Edwardian Costuming on a Budget”

  1. Mom Says:

    Dad and I both enjoyed your post. He says you do look like a librarian. I love the hat and shoes.

  2. hangtown Says:

    That outfit looks great and your cat looks like ours & has a similar love of rolling on the floor!

  3. Catherine Modschiedler Says:

    Looks great!

  4. valarielynn Says:

    Very nicely created and put together! I think I would shortened the dress on myself about 3″ (a more flattering length on me) and make that into a belt.
    Now I want to go out and see if I can find something similar. I don’t have the creativity to do that but it helps to have someone point out what to look for.

  5. Cindy Says:

    Fantastic! I need to check my local thrift store for dresses, so I can do this. Sometimes I run out of time to make something before an event, and this is the perfect answer.

  6. Wow what a great idea to wear a short dress over a longer skirt. I’ll have to give that a try!

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: