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A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  36 reviews
What did a Victorian lady wear for a walk in the park? How did she style her hair for an evening at the theatre? And what products might she have used to soothe a sunburn or treat an unsightly blemish? Mimi Matthews answers these questions and more as she takes readers on a decade-by-decade journey through Victorian fashion and beauty history.

Using research from nineteent
Paperback, 152 pages
Published July 2nd 2018 by Pen & Sword History
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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The blurb is total nonsense, "Mimi Matthews gives readers a glimpse of the social issues that influenced women's clothing and the societal outrage that was an all too frequent response to those bold females who used fashion and beauty as a means of asserting their individuality and independence."

Men objecting to women in crinolines taking more than their "fair share" of the public sidewalk. Telling women over 30 how awful it looks to wear a necklace on their aged-looking necks. (Godey Lady's Bo
Katie Lumsden
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one – it's interesting, concise and a good reference guide. The only thing I would say is that sometimes it talks about Britain and the USA as one. I also would have preferred a little more exploration of dress beyond the upper classes, but I don't think that was the aim of this book.
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
'What did a Victorian lady wear for a walk in the park? How did she style her hair for an evening at the theatre? And what products might she have used to soothe a sunburn or treat an unsightly blemish? Mimi Matthews answers these questions and more as she takes readers on a decade-by-decade journey through Victorian fashion and beauty history. 

Women's clothing changed dramatically during the course of the Victorian era. Necklines rose, waistlines dropped, and Gothic severity gave way to flounce
Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)
Well this is wonderful, I am a huge fan of Mimi Matthews work, whether that be her beautifully poignant romances, or her well researched actual pieces, like this. I will admit that as soon as I heard about A Victorian Ladies Guide to Fashion and Beauty, I was fascinated by it and I was jumping for pure when I got the opportunity to review it.

This is the perfect reference book for those interested in Victorian fashion and beauty, set out in different sections throughout the book it covers every a
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Women's fashions, hairstyles, and cosmetics changed a great deal during the Victorian era (between 1840-1900). If you're interested in learning about the various fashion dos and don'ts of a stylish Victorian lady, this is sure to be a book you'll enjoy.

Beautifully illustrated and well researched, Mimi Matthews book, A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty, will tell you everything you wanted to know about fashions of this time period. Sorted by decade, the complete ensemble—dresses, under
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A fascinating look into the fashion and beauty regimes of the Victorian period.

This book covers everything from silhouettes to shoes to hairstyles and make up with full explanations and as much information as you could possibly want on each subject.

The amount of time and effort that went into a woman’s wardrobe each day is astounding, I honestly don’t know how they did it!

If you’re interested in either the Victorian period or historical fashion then you’ll find this a very informative read.

Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very good book, well written and well researched. It's full of interesting facts and clear explenation of how the Victiorian fashion worked.
The illustration are very good. The book is really entertaining.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Pen & Sword and Netgalley for this ARC
Elizabeth Lloyd
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having read many of Mimi's online blog articles I know she has a prodigious knowledge of 19th century customs, art and fashion so I looked forward to learning a great deal from this book.  Well annotated and sourced, the first part takes the reader through each decade from the 1840s to the 1890s. Looking at clothing, underwear, millinery and jewellery, Miss Matthews describes the changing female silhouette, illustrated with beautiful plates of the particular decade. But in no way is this a pedes ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Absolutely fascinating!

I recognised Mimi Matthews’ name as I recently read and enjoyed one of her books, The Pug Who Bit Napoleon, so I got quite excited to see she had another book out.

A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty is a thorough study of the world of fashion and beauty in the higher classes of Victorian society. There is so much detail, enriched by wonderful illustrations, that it all comes to life and you can just imagine what it was like. Anyone interested in the time period
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A decent but extremely simple account of Victorian fashion and beauty. I was expecting a much more detailed contextual narrative (in part because the author claimed I would get this in the introduction), so the fact that the majority of the book is organized in something that I can only describe as One Step Beyond List Format was disappointing.

Still, it's accurate to the best of my knowledge, and the illustrations are excellent. I can't recommend it as historical narrative due to poor readabili
Kim Ess
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think this might be a perfect new textbook for a Fashion Designer's History Class. It's perfectly researched and interesting all the way through the Victorian era. I know next to nothing about fashion, fabric, etc. but I know a well researched book when I read one. This is a book I picked up out of curiosity. I think if I were a person looking to make my living from fashion design this would qualify as a MUST read.
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a complete, fully detailed guide to women's clothing and beauty habits in the Victorian Era. Accompanied by drawings, it is an interesting and informative guide, which is a must-have for everyone interested in that era.
Anne Morgan
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Carefully researched and full of beautiful color images, "A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty" is perfect for people who want to learn more about how- and why- women's fashions changed so dramatically over the course of Victoria's reign. From day dresses to evening gowns, shoes to gloves, hair styles, hair care, jewelry and makeup- all are covered here. Who influenced certain fashion trends? How did social and economic changes influence changes in fashion? Matthews touches on all of t ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mathews impressive knowledge of the Victorian Age here is honed on the evolution of women's fashion as a reflection of a changing society.

The jump from the 17th c. Rococco to classical inspired simplicity of the Regency, the Romantic period looking back to the Gothic, and the ever changing extreme widths of skirts and bustles, is mind boggling to consider.

The book has period illustrations throughout. An excellent resource.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley for the free ARC

Great little book concerning everything to do with lady's fashion during the Victorian era.

The first part is a very methodical overview of the key points of fashion per decade, it is rather list-like and therefore gets a bit tedious, but I guess this would work if you want to use this as a reference book. The changes in dress through the century are addressed in detail, however I think it could do with more pictures. For one because I love those old fashion
Lesley Kay
Dec 11, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: netgalley
This is so quaint and sweet, I love it. The illustrations of fashion and culture throughout the years is so neat. I have long held a fascination with Victorian times and everything related to them, so this book was a really fun read for me. It made me super grateful that I am able to slip on a pair of jeans!
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was an absolute delight! I've fallen in love with Miss Matthew's Victorian Romance novels and this one wasn't a disappointment for me either. Once again her meticulous research shines through and the details were refreshing. And of course the art was heavenly.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading all about Victorian Fashion, and my favorite part of this book was that it not only explained the fashion, but it explained why and how the fashion came about. And the thoroughness of the information was astounding! From shoes, hats and coats, to makeup and hair care, this book has it all!
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Informative, well-organized and clever!
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book provides an overview of women's fashion in England between 1840 to 1900. The author used information and quotes from 19th century beauty books, fashion magazines, and lady's journals. She also included some fashion plates. I'm not familiar with the fashion terms of the period. I would have enjoyed more illustrations or more detailed descriptions for commonly used words describing parts of the dress or accessories, but I still found the book very interesting and informative.

The first pa
May 05, 2020 added it
What an entertaining, beautiful, and helpful publication on Victorian-style dressing. As much fun as it is to look at photos of the styles from this period, I must say that I am grateful that I live in the 21st Century. As I dislike wearing hats and handwear covers (which we now call gloves). The skirts of the very early 1860's called for a lot more material than it takes for a living-room couch to be reupholstered. Although I should say, the Victorians never had to see people in their pajamas a ...more
Nicki Markus
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty was a delightful and informative read. Taking fashion and beauty in separate sections, the chapters moved from decade to decade, outlining the major fashions and changes during that period. The illustrations were helpful to demonstrate the different styles. If anything, I might have liked to have seen a few more included. Overall, though, this is a nicely presented, easy to read, quick guide to Victorian women's fashion, which will be of interest to ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So much detail packed into a slim book, and all of it fascinating. I love that it was organized by decade, so it's easy to see how the 1860s were different from the 1870s, for example, and it doesn't generalize the entire Victorian era as one similar style or trend. As for tone, it's smart, light, and engaging without resorting to snark (which can be all too easy to fall into when you're talking about things like crinolines and mercury-tinged pimple treatments). Would def recommend for a fun loo ...more
Andrea Johnson
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book as an ARC through NetGalley and the publisher.
It is a non-fiction book thoroughly researched and written in great detail. What to wear and when. What not to wear. How the fashions changed throughout the period. I found the detailed descriptions a bit overwhelming but the pictures really helped to illustrate the fashions discussed.
Sue Foster
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than just fashions

Such an interesting book the fashion plates in the book are taken from publications of the time. Yes it's about fashion but much more its a social history of women. Who knew that a women in a metal skirt hoop got hit by lightning or another was blown off a cliff. That bloomers early slacks were seen as subversive. A great read.
Sylvia Abrams
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very basic social history. Author uses a few sources of the era for a general, non academic audience. Since Mathews writes historical fiction of the Victorian era, this is a way for her to turn her background research into a pleasant non-fiction read.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
You probably have to be a bit of a historical fashion nerd to enjoy something like this. I found it fascinating—well researched and written. Good background if you read a lot of Victorian literature. I would have loved more pictures.
Kimberly Gawne
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've always been fascinated by clothing of the 1800s and this work satisfied many questions I had in a way that was educational and interesting along with many illustrations of the subject matter. Thoroughly enjoyed this!
Mary K. Martin
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful Victorian book

This was a tastefully ,well crafted book on Victorian fashion. It described the fashions in a carefully detailed way that made the reader want to try the clothes! Highly recommended read.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved reading the information presented in this book, however I wish there were more pictures or diagrams of the design elements. I used my phone to google photos as I read to "clearly" see what was being discussed.
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USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in ...more

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