How to Live Like a Victorian Lady in Modern Times
Today I’m sharing 5 ideas that you can do to live like a Victorian Lady in these modern times.
This subject may seem out of place in our modern world.
But I’ll tell you. It is more essential now to hold on to bygone traditions.
May it be the etiquette and elegance of the Victorian era or the simple “Little House on the Prairie” era when there wasn’t electricity.
Whatever those old traditions are, they appeal to many of us in ways that can sometimes be just a dream.
After all, we are living in 2022.
But today, I want to persuade you, even just a little bit, that living like a Victorian Lady is not that difficult, and these principles apply to our modern times.
Some of the things I’m mentioning may be things you do now.
In some ways, that Victorian Lady lives in a lot of us.
We sometimes don’t see her in ourselves cause we imagine a refined, elegant woman decked out in silk, lace, and a perfectly tailored gown made just for her.
Her hair is exquisite, with no hair out of place.
Not to mention her large hat that is adorned with a large feather.
That’s idealistic and pretty much describes a Victorian Lady from the 1920s.
Dressing like a Victorian Lady is unrealistic.
Although, I do have to say I love to wear Victorian lace tops.
But in this post, I’m proposing some ideas to inspire that elegant and refined woman in you.
Here are 5 ideas.
Idea No. 1: Slow down and enjoy the here and now.
As mentioned above, there is an innate desire in some of us who are drawn to nostalgic, vintage, and old ways of life.
What is it that draws us to a more simple life?
Maybe because our own life is so busy and we have a short attention span and need everything quick and at our fingertips.
It’s inevitable because of the times we live in.
But today, I’m pulling back time to draw from an era when it was ok to slow down, read a book, drink tea, and lounge in an elegant gown.
From my research, the Victorian era had tea parties with games and time spent discussing what was going on in people’s lives.
I’m not promoting gossip. Which is really what it was back then.
But I’m encouraging you to create moments with family and friends, without gadgets, to play a game or have a cheap pizza dinner.
And to give yourself permission to pamper yourself with an evening without your laptop or phone, reading a book, or picking up a forgotten hobby that is rewarding, like drawing, knitting, playing an instrument, or anything that gives value to your life.
Slow down and drink a hot cup of tea.
Especially Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea with a splash of milk.
Or whatever your favorite tea is.
There’s something about slowing down, even for a moment, to catch one’s breath and sip a cup of tea.
The heart rate goes down.
The day seems more doable when that moment lulls you into a moment of rest.
It is a wonderful tradition, lost but easy to do in our modern world.
I love trying to mimic such traditions by using my teapot, teacup, and saucer to brew a cup of tea.
Just a thought for you to consider.
After all, it’s something anyone can do, like a proper Victorian Lady.
Pinky up and all.
Idea No. 2: Dress with purpose.
No matter what time of day in Victorian times, you would find a Victorian Lady fully dressed.
It was considered unladylike to be seen with unkept hair or undressed.
Even when evening came around, and there were moments to lounge, you would find the gentleman of the house dressed in a house robe over his tie and trousers.
The lady of the house would wear an elegant and perfectly fitted robe that accentuated her figure; if there were an unexpected guest, she’d be ready.
This could be adopted today.
Not to say to go out and buy a silk robe, although that does sound beautiful.
But to take the daily habit of getting fully dressed for the day.
In our modern times, especially this past year, most of us have been thrust into staying home and living in sweats and comfy clothes during this pandemic.
Clothing stores are changing to have stylish loungewear. I’ve seen ensembles made with cashmere.
Even when home, we can still take note of old traditions when style, elegance, and beauty is concerned.
Lately, I’ve delved into learning about fashion for my age and body type.
What is in right now is the clash between romantic lace clothing and the modern black leather jacket, for example.
Or faux leather pants paired with a light silk blouse.
I can imagine how the Victorian Lady was in her time.
She dressed for the era she lived in.
Adapting this to our own modern times, we can be chic and cool, too.
Having a uniform, as I’ve learned when doing my research, is an easy way to look put together each day.
And without much effort.
A daily uniform is defined to be your signature look.
It is the ease of picking anything in your closet and feeling so good wearing whatever you put on.
Having a uniform requires only a few pieces.
It is the best of everything.
This is when you can spend more on that one pair of jeans that fit you beautifully, for example.
A uniform is only things you love and nothing more.
Isn’t that a nice goal?
It has taken me some time to put such a wardrobe together.
But I feel elegant like a Victorian Lady wearing my leather boots, second-hand but modern Tory Burch handbag, and trench coat.
These are the tools to give me confidence and boost my morale.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to look beautifully dressed.
Even a crisp white tee under a fitted blazer or leather moto jacket is a striking but casual look to have as your uniform.
Everyone has their own flair.
But it can bring out that fashionable Victorian Lady in you, to dress modern and sophisticated.
When I found my uniform for my body type, I became more confident in any situation because I knew I had dressed appropriately.
It feels good to put my best foot forward.
I imagine that’s what it was like for the Victorian Lady of her time.
She was poised and well-received by her peers.
Not to say it is the most important thing in life, cause it’s not.
But it never hurt anyone to have a proper wardrobe.
Here are some essentials for a proper wardrobe to get your daily uniform started:
- Fitted undergarments
- Cotton, silk, or linen tank tops to wear under shirts or blouses.
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of trousers
- 2 white tee shirts (one v-neck, one crew neck)
- 2 black tee shirts (1 v neck and 1 crew)
- 1 white button-up shirt
- Elegant blouse
- 2 cardigans
- 1 sweater
- Black dress or black skirt
- Tan or black trench jacket
- Leather moto jacket
- Pair white sneakers
- 1 pair of brown or black leather boots
- Pair rain boots
- 1 leather black or brown handbag
Getting up in the morning and putting on a daily uniform (your favorite jeans and tee shirt, for example) can be easy once you have your basics down.
When you have all your pieces, like the example in the list above, you will be amazed at how simpler your life will be.
Even if our lives are at home and no one will see us, at least put some effort into dressing our best.
I’ve read tons of etiquette books and studied the way the Victorians dressed.
It became a mission to enhance my life by incorporating beautiful feminine pieces of clothing.
Be it a rose-patterned silk scarf. (Photo is a link.)
Or a cotton lace white blouse that’s fitted makes me feel elegant and pretty. Like this photo, for example. (Photo is a link.)
Here is a YouTube video sharing this amazing white blouse on What I Bought Friday #3.
I’m not doing it for anyone else.
I’m doing it for myself.
I love looking elegant and put together.
Walking out the door with suited clothing for the occasion gives me an instant boost of confidence.
No matter what my body type is. I try to enhance what I have and hide what I don’t like.
I think the Victorian Lady dressed modern for her time.
Having some modern clothing mixed with romantic, nostalgic vintage inspired pieces is a beautiful and unique combination.
Creating a daily uniform, be it a tee shirt with a lace cardigan and skinny jeans or a button-up white shirt that has puffed sleeves.
You will have grace and poise like a Victorian Lady with a proper wardrobe made just for you.
No. 3: Stylish and Healthy Hair.
This may seem menial in the scope of life.
But as with feeling put together with our wardrobe, it is equally important to have a hairstyle that represents who you are.
No matter if your hair is long, short, or in-between.
The key is seen in old Period Piece series like Downton Abby.
There was an emphasis on keeping up with the times when it came to hair.
A Victorian Lady was known for her well-manicured updo.
It looked shiny and healthy.
She took great pride in every aspect of her outfit, including her hair.
To have that visual of who you are, your hair can make you feel like a queen.
Or it can make you feel frumpy and unstylish.
There are so many ideas about hair out there.
Finding the style that fits your face shape.
Which length looks best on you?
It doesn’t matter as long as you find what looks good on you.
A layered haircut that frames the face, window pane bangs are in, or long hair with gold highlights.
It’s about feeling elegant and well put together like a Victorian Lady.
You can be one in this time period by finding the modern woman that you are and making her current.
That’s what a Victorian Lady was like in her time.
She was modern.
Especially the dress they wore in that span of time when it went from balloon style like Cinderella to being a flapper dress.
It was the same way with hair.
It started out with a coiled braided updo to being cut to the chin.
The style of hair told the era they lived in.
As with our era.
Which is the greatest time to be alive because any style is in nowadays.
So, find your best style and be a modern-era Victorian woman with grace and style that will carry you through all the events in your life.
Caring for your hair.
I have to confess I have spent $200 or more on a haircut and balayage.
It’s not cheap nowadays.
I do this twice a year.
Not something I often share cause it is an extravagance.
But my hair looks amazing!
To care for your hair, you don’t have to wash it every day.
I wash my hair once a week.
Don’t let that gross you out.
I was grossed out at first, but I gave it a try.
There was no looking back.
I was amazed at how beautiful my hair turned out after giving it a good brush every day.
And putting my hair up on top of my head when sleeping made a huge difference in how my hair turned out each morning.
I’ve even heard you can use a silk “bonnet” type hat each night to sleep in.
It’s supposed to help with the health of your hair.
If you haven’t tried it, do it for a week and see what happens.
Here is the one-week hair routine:
Note: This is my own personal hair regimen and the products I use for my hair.
- Day One: Wash and Condition your hair. Put Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture CC Cream on damp hair and let air dry. Use a Wet Brush to detangle wet hair like this one here. Put your hair up in a top knot by starting off with a ponytail as close to your forehead as possible. Twist it and secure it with a hair band. If your hair is short, skip this step.
- Day Two: Brush your hair with this brush. Or a boars bristle brush like this one This expensive brush is a legend of brushes because of its history. It has been around for decades and is still the best brush out there to care for your hair. My goal is to own one someday. Here is a link for the original Mason Pearson Hair Brush, here. Curl your hair with a curling iron if you like. This will set the hair. Repeat putting hair up at night.
- Day Three to Five: Repeat fully brushing hair, curling it, and putting it up at night.
- Day Six and Seven: At this point, you can put your hair up in a ponytail or messy bun for the day. But I still curl my hair, and it looks amazing. Sometimes, a good dry shampoo gives my hair a refresh. But I rarely ever do this.
If you give this 7-day hair routine a try, let me know below how you liked it.
No. 4: Caring for your home.
This one hits home.
Because it is so easy to get behind on house cleaning.
At least for me.
But a Victorian woman was a keeper of her home.
She ran it with authority.
Whether she had a nanny for her children if she could afford it or was a working woman at a seamstress shop.
Her life revolved around keeping her home clean.
A great resource for keeping a home clean is trying out the Flylady system.
I started out following it to a T when I was lost as to how to get my home clean without a lot of effort.
After a while, I found my own rhythm, and now I keep my home clean using my own similar system.
Flylady is a great place to start to see how 15 minutes a day can magically keep your home clean.
A Victorian Lady did not have a washing machine, dishwasher, or vacuum in her time.
She did everything by hand.
In this era, we have all those luxuries.
As modern women, we can get so many things done much more quickly.
If cleaning clothing by hand and hanging them outside to dry speaks to you, that is a wonderful way to keep your home clean.
I love the idea of doing housekeeping using the old-fashioned laundry machine.
But for now, I live in a modern house and have huge Maytag machines that make life so much easier.
It brings honor not only to ourselves but to our family.
Every time I clean my home, I know I am blessing my husband and children with clean clothes and a healthy meal, even if it is once a day serving dinner.
It is a joy to know I created a clean environment that gives them shelter from the wild whirly world they enter each day.
Be it school or a teen working their first job.
Or my husband, who works long hours and is exhausted when he gets home.
Not only will your home be a place to rest, but it will be a place you can be proud of because you made it that way.
I love that feeling after working so hard to get all the cobwebs in the corners of my ceilings.
Or to have that lingering scent of cleaner in the air after a good scrub of the floors and kitchen counters.
And if you’re single, this is just as valuable because you will do it for yourself.
Here are some ideas for a daily routine to keep your home clean:
- Wash one load of laundry a day.
- Empty the dishwasher every night, so you have an empty dishwasher for all the dirty dishes accumulated the next day.
- Before bed, straighten the living room by fluffing pillows, folding blankets, and putting away dirty dishes lingering from movie night.
- Lay out your clothes each night for the next day.
- Make your bed every morning.
This is an example of daily habits that take only minutes to do but have a big impact on you and your family’s daily life.
You can teach your children daily habits to take with them when they are grown and on their own.
No. 5: Etiquette and Manners.
This one is a lost art.
Most of us grew up knowing how to say please and thank you.
But the etiquette I’m speaking of is getting increasingly lost because it isn’t practiced anymore.
I’ve read tons of etiquette books over the years.
There is something intriguing about knowing what to do for each occasion.
What is the proper way to introduce someone?
What do you do when you’re invited to a party and don’t know what to wear?
A Victorian Lady had this all figured out.
They had callers hand the doorman a name card and then take it to the lady of the house.
The guest would wait in the parlor until they were brought to the library or study.
We don’t usually do that.
Nor is it required for this time we live in.
But there are some etiquettes we can still implement today that can help us through life.
There’s an amazing book, Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today, that I own (Kindle) and will link here, that gives a wonderful explanation of proper manners for today.
A Victorian Lady is confident because she knows how to act in certain situations.
She’s unafraid to look people in the eye.
To speak her mind with elegance and grace leaves you feeling appreciated and genuinely cared for because she makes you feel at ease.
This takes practice and time to learn the art of manners and etiquette.
Maybe you’re like me and never knew how to greet people, or the importance of writing thank you notes.
I had to teach myself a lot of these things.
There are great resources like the book above.
Some manners that are relevant for today are:
- Chewing with your mouth closed.
- Looking someone in the eyes when they talk to you.
- Give a solid handshake.
- Say no and mean it.
- Your best attribute is your smile.
- Don’t put people down.
- When you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, do it. Keep your word.
- Respect someone else’s views even if yours isn’t the same.
This is a very small look into some etiquettes and manners that will go a long way in making you act like that amazing Victorian Lady inside you and inside me.
I hope this was a fun insight into how we, as beautiful amazing women, can glean from the old traditional part of the bygone days that can be part of our life today.
We may not be exactly like a Victorian Lady.
Or maybe we can strive a little to be like that.
To have her grace and elegance and go through life confident and sure of oneself.
It is worth trying to learn from that wonderful Victorian Lady that is still the talk of our time.
I want to take at least parts of who she is and become my own version to the best of my ability.
For more about vintage living, go here.
Here is one of my latest posts, here, sharing 10 amazing things I found on Amazon for my home.
Thanks for coming by Victorian Lane Farms.
Bye for now!