On Saturday, I was hanging out with my friend Jeskat and her family, as they were getting ready to go to rehearsals for the Dickens Fair this Christmas season. Dickens Fair sounds like a wonderful holiday happening, sort of a Rennaissance Faire but set in Victorian England. Jeskat will be singing, dancing, and performing, all in period dress.
I didn't really understand how elaborate the whole affair was. And then Jeskat went to put on most (but not all) of her Victorian costume. In 30 minutes, I saw her transform from 2011 goth girl to 1800s Victorian damsel. Here's roughly how it went…
Then she puts on the crinoline, a light steel frame to hold the bell-like shape of the dress.
And then a petticoat layer went on top of that. How any women of that age managed to dress themselves without assistance is beyond me.
Then the actual dress goes over the petticoat, an elaborate costume with ruffles, gathers, and trim that Jeskat made herself. The dress is carefully lowered over her head, adjusted and buttoned.
After that, Jeskat and her mother went to work on her hair, another intricate process.
Her hair was pulled up and pinned into a bun, and then a hairpiece of curly blonde hair is pinned to the back.
A white circle of lace is then placed on top of Jeskat's head, accented with a pretty bird hairpin.
A matching bonnet is placed on top of all of that, and we're almost done.
All that is left is a shawl and a little basket to hold all of her possessions, since the dress has no pockets of course.
And there we have it. Now Jeskat is ready to celebrate the holidays, in true Dickensian style. Lovely, isn't she?