Sunday, September 18, 2011

Victorian Costume Review

Last month, I was approached by the costume company, to do a product review. Having the opportunity to make a costume wishlist was fun, especially since this was the first time I've owned a store bought costume. As a child, my mom sewed my Halloween costumes and as a teenager I pieced together my costumes from what was in my closet and what I found at Goodwill. In becoming an adult, I have amassed so many black dresses, and Gothic jewelry pieces, it's ridiculous. So, it isn't any trouble now to grab random things out my closet and assemble a Witch costume. Anyway, it was exciting to be let loose to pick items from a costume shop.

Like most women probably would, I went straight to the shoe section of the web site. I instantly knew what I liked best: The "Amelia" Victorian boots. I liked that they had a heel, but not so much of a heel that I can't walk for blocks. It's not really practical to go bar hopping or dancing on Halloween wearing stiletto heels. I love anything Victorian, and these looked like they would fit with my annual witch costume, annual pirate costume, or maybe just with a pair of jeans.

Next, I looked through the costumes on the web site. There were lots of lovely little dresses, but I live in Wisconsin where there is sometimes a frost in October. This is the kind of place where we unfortunately had to wear coats over our Halloween costumes to go trick-or-treating! So, it didn't make a lot of sense for me to choose one of the skimpy outfits. Anyway, in paging through the web site, I ran into a costume I instantly fell in love with. This was listed as the "Steampunk Victorian Lady" costume. It fit my style perfectly and had the coverage I was looking for. Plus it was pictured with the "Amelia" boots. So that was choice number two.

Any proper Victorian lady needs a little hat! So off I went to the hat section of the site. I had a hard time deciding between two hats. There was a cute black one with a black rose, but I went with a red and black hat instead. The hat I chose is called the "Deluxe Mini Top Hat" and looked like a good way to add a little color to an otherwise dark outfit. By the way, I took a peek into a local costume shop and ran into the hat I didn't choose. From what I saw, it would have also been a great choice. The black flowers on that one look better in real life than they do online. If you're curious to see the other one that tempted me, here it is: "Black Satin Top Hat".

So, I sent in my choices and was told I could have every item I wanted! Talk about a generous company. So I was thrilled. A day after my order was processed, I had my costume parts! It helps that I live in the Milwaukee area, probably about 30-45 minutes from where this company is located. I'm sure the shipping is quick to other states, although it would probably take longer than the one day delivery I received.

All my costume parts arrived in a very well packed box. There were lots of large inflatable packing pieces. So I give an A+ for packing and shipping time!

The first thing I noticed was the lovely shoe box. Anyone who knows me offline, knows that I'm big on the pink and black combination. Not to mention that flourished frame decorating this box!

The boots inside were very well packed. I took them out, tried them on, and was quite pleased with the fit! These boots don't run in half sizes. So if you're say, a size 7 1/2, you might want to go with an 8. They zip up the sides and lace up the front. I left the laces as they came, but if a person needed more space in the boots for their legs or thick socks, these laces could be tied looser. I found these boots to be incredibly comfortable. I would wear these out just with a regular outfit. A person could take a walk in these like any other boot you'd buy from a department store.

I read a review about these boots online from a woman who said she went to a cobbler to have some tread put on the bottoms. This is because the bottoms of the boots are slick. Not a big deal for a costume boot, but something to think about if you are like me or the other reviewer who want to wear these a lot year round. Here's a closeup of the 2" boot heel:

Next I tried on the dress. Well, it's actually a skirt and jacket/top. The skirt is long, ruched in the front, with a kind of fluffy tail/bow on the back. The waistband is elastic. It fit me comfortably, but could stretch to fit a 36 inch waist if need be. (I stretched it as far as I could against a yardstick to get that number.) I would assume that it wouldn't be comfortable stretched to that degree, but it could make it around a person. Here's a little of the lace at the skirt's bottom:

A closer look at the lace:

The top came in multiple parts. I was able to get in to this by myself, but if you live with someone who can help get you into the jacket, it would be helpful. There are a lot of ties and buttons involved. There's a piece of fabric in the front that you position over your torso and tie in back. Then you button the jacket over that.

The sleeves have a series of elastic bands inside of them to help give that puffy look. Here's a closeup of one of the sleeves:

The cuffs are very nicely decorated and can be adjusted to your wrist with Velcro. Here's a cuff closeup: 

Here's what the buttons look like:

This jacket comes with a nice, wide collar that has pointy edges:

I was quite pleased with the fit and look. I must tell you that although this costume is described as one size fits most (according to the web site this means sizes 6-14) I'm not sure it would fit most. Well it could be stretched maybe to a size 12, but the elastic connecting the buttons will be stretched. Personally, I wouldn't want to wear this any tighter than I was. If any ladies are thinking about getting this and need me to measure how far part of this would stretch, send me an email.

Since I've never had a store bought costume before, I'm not sure if this was constructed in a usual way. What I mean is that some of the threads didn't quite catch on the side of the jacket so the seam came loose. Also a button slipped off while I unbuttoned it. This may have been a fluke, and it isn't a big deal if you can sew. If not, does have a return policy for unworn items. You need to return your costume within 14 days of delivery. Other rules can be found here: return policy.

The outfit was described as Victorian Steampunk. I like the Steampunk style, but I don't own any accessories to go with that. So we're going to call this Victorian. It could also be called a witch costume, because if you add a witch hat, that's what you have! I will probably wear some or all of this to the Witch Party this year. I couldn't help testing out a witch hat with this outfit.

I was happy to notice that the costume was warm. Actually, since I decided to take pictures on a 90 degree day, I was very warm. So I'm sure this will be wearable during an October in Wisconsin!

Last but not least is the hat you've all seen in my profile picture. This hat is really well constructed. It is covered in red satin with black velvet stripes. It came in an adorable little hat box and is made by a company called Leg Avenue. The women reading this are probably familiar with Leg Avenue as a company that makes sexy stockings. I had no idea that they manufactured hats! This hat comes with a flat brim that can easily be bent. I prefer the curved brim look, so I bent it right away.

A large sized black bow sits on the hat's side. There is a small comb and elastic band to help keep it on your head. The comb is quite small and even using all my hair pins and clips it was hard to secure this to my head. I've read reviews that say these are easier to keep on if you have more hair, but I have my doubts. I have a lot of hair, and it was getting in the way.

This is a view from under the hat. I included this so you can see the little comb and chin strap. The black elastic band is the practical choice for keeping this on. It looked pretty dorky around my chin, but looked fine wrapped around the back of my head if I wore my hair in a bun. If you have lighter hair it might show up, though. Anyway, once I figured out how to keep this on properly and still look alright, I thought it was a cute little hat!

I know this is kind of a spooky picture because of the bright sunlight, but I'm including it so you can see the top of the hat:

Overall, I was very happy with what I was sent. Thank you to for sending me these lovely costume parts. I'm not a facebook person, but if you are, you'll want to visit the facebook page: I've been told that they have some exciting things planned for their facebook followers. Also, you can follow them on twitter:!/buycostumes

I've seen a few giveaways through their twitter account, so if you guys follow them, you can give their contests a shot! When shopping on their web site, you should know that you get free shipping with any purchase above $65. Also the coupon code EXTRA25 will get you 25% off all items that are already on clearance. Just throwing that out there for anyone who (like me) is a bargain hunter. I should also mention that this company sells props and party supplies as well as costumes.

P.S. ~ I just noticed that I have 100 blog followers! Woo Hoo! Thanks everyone. :) I'll have to plan something special and celebratory for an upcoming blog post...


  1. what fun costume pieces! I can't wait to see them at your witch party!

  2. Gorgeous outfit and I can't believe you got it all sent for free! What a generous company!

    My favourite piece has to be that adorable hat! I have a black mini top had with a veil and red feathers but it's definitely not as cute as you're one! I'd love one just like it but in a black and white striped design!

    Steampunk jewellery would be quite easy to come across! A brass coloured pocket watch necklace would be easy to find from any accessories store. Also you could make your own necklace by attaching an old brass key to a length of ribbon for a choker!

    Also a bustle would be a perfect addition to this outfit!

    The boots really do look perfect for a victorian/witch outfit and I love the box they came in too!

    Can't wait to see your witches party! xxx

  3. Ooo and congratulations on reaching 100 followers! You deserve much much more because your blog is a joy to read! xxx

  4. First of all... YAY!! 100 followers!! I'm so pleased for you!!!

    You lucky thing to get this fabulous outfit! I love the boots. I'm imagining them with the striped stockings that the witches wore in 'Hocus Pocus'. But, I'll tell you what I really ADORE... the shoe box! It's absolutely gorgeous! You know how I love damask and a frame. Haha! The hat is very cute (I love your earrings, too) and the Victorian outfit is lovely. What haul of Halloween-y goodness!

  5. P.S. The witch hat is stunning! Is that a big buckle on the front?

  6. Woo Hoo on 100 followers!!! Love the costume. The boots and hat are my fave.

    I kinda like the spooky photo.

  7. This is a beautiful costume and YOU are just drop dead gorgeous!!! Inside and out!!

    Congrats on the 100 followers!


  8. I love those boots. Would be great with my witch costume!

  9. You look adorable in that hat. You should wear that every day. The boots are great too!

  10. LOVE! You look so pretty. That's a pretty costume too. I purchased my costume from them last year. Was very pleased. :)

  11. Stacey ~ Yeah, I can't wait to wear these pieces to the party! I already made some additions to my hat that I'll share in the next blog post. Are you adding anything else to your witch costume this year?

    Vain Glory Sinner ~ Thanks! Yeah, I was in a bit of disbelief myself on that one! You can only imagine the thrill I got as a Halloween obsessed girl to get that offer...

    Well, I didn't see a black and white version of the hat offered, but what you could do is get the plain black one and add strips of white velvet to make the stripes! Yeah, I can tell you are into the black and white stripe look from your blog layout. :)

    You've inspired me with your Steampunk jewelry ideas! I actually own a large vintage watch locket and lots of key jewelry. I can't believe I didn't think of that myself! I think old keys can become awesome earrings and necklaces.

    Oh yeah! I was thinking of an additional bustle as soon as this costume arrived. Expect to see some kind of fabric bunched up back there in upcoming photos. I like a dramatic curved look. One year for the witch's party, I wore a lot of black fabric layered into a bustle on a black dress. One of the party guests commented that I looked like her great-great-grandmother in her wedding photos. They used to wear black dresses for weddings in the 1880s. I heard that white was reserved for funerals.

    I can't wait to share the witch party photos with all of you!

    Thanks for the comments on my blog and the congrats. :) I'm very happy to have reached 100 followers!

  12. Little Gothic Horrors ~ Thank you! :) You're getting pretty darn close to the 100 mark yourself! Yeah, I was incredibly lucky to have these pieces gifted to me.

    Oh, I can see what you mean about Hocus Pocus. Wasn't that a great movie? Bette Midler was so crazy in that. I might need to get a pair of striped socks...

    Yeah, that shoe box is the best! I'm definitely holding onto that.

    Once I saw that red and black hat, I knew those earrings would be the perfect match. I don't get much of a chance to wear those, so it was fun to wear them for the pictures.

    That is a big buckle on the hat! I guess it's sort of a Pilgrim Witch hat. Wow, that's a combination... Anyway, I added another Dollar Tree find to the hat. I'm anxious to share the updated hat in my next blog post!

    Vivienne ~ Thank you! :) Yeah, I kinda like the spooky photo too... Because of the strange lighting, I ended up with a lot of photos where I look like a vampire or something. You know how people with lighter eyes look when the sun is shining into their eyes, but the rest of their face is in shadow? That's how those photos looked. I almost wanted to share those, but they had nothing to do with my costume. They'll probably work as art reference, though.

    LuLu ~ That is an incredibly sweet comment. Thank you! I actually got a little emotional reading what you wrote, because it was so nice. You're beautiful inside and out too!

    Ravenswick ~ Hey, thanks for checking in! I just followed two of your blogs this morning. Obviously the spooky one, but also the genealogy blog. I'm very into genealogy and it looks like you're offering some good tips!

    Yeah, those boots have "witch costume" written all over them. :)

    Jessica ~ Thanks! Haha, can you imagine me wearing that hat to the grocery store or something? I'm not sure if it's for everyday, but I know I'll get a lot of use out of it! I'm thinking it would be good for a ringmaster costume if I ever put one of those together.

    Madame Jen ~ Aww... Thank you! So which costume did you end up getting from them? There were lots of great choices!

  13. I LOVE those boots. New to your blog... and loving it :)

  14. XLMIC ~

    Welcome to my blog! I'm so glad that you like it here. :)

    I LOVE those boots too! They will definitely be worn through this Autumn!

  15. I have a fondness for incongruously tiny hats.

  16. Hey Mantan! (Love that name by the way)

    I'm starting to have a fondness for them too. It takes a little talent to keep a tiny hat on your head, but they're great accessories once a woman figures them out!

  17. You have been chosen!

    wicKED (Something wicKED this way comes...)

  18. I love the steampunk Victorian costume, especially the little red hat. BTW, the hat looks good on you.

  19. wiKED ~ Thanks again for the award! I've been racking my brain and honestly cannot think of a deep, dark secret to share. It's not like I don't have any dark stories, but none of them are secrets!

    Adsila ~ Thank you. :) Yeah, the Victorian era is my favorite time period. I'm sure you are into historical fashion too, since you share so much history in your blog!

  20. Wow! You look like a vivacious Victorian!

  21. Witch Party?! Is this an annual event? Is this a special gathering of spooky friends? Do tell!

    Either hat feels appropriate for this costume, and you certainly have a sorcerous look about you for the upcoming season. All that's missing is a proper familiar to support your incantations!

  22. Yeah! There has been a Witch Party every year for the past decade. This is year #11. The party is something my mom and I put together each year and we both invite friends. What's funny is that most the party guests are Catholic school teachers (My mom's friends from where she used to work) Pretty funny guests for a witch party, hey? ;)

    Anyway, only women attend the party (even though a lot of their husbands want to join in) Everyone wears witch costumes and hats and we all have dinner. I always bake a scary cake or cupcakes and cookies. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it! You can see some photos from parties past by visiting my Halloween Forum page. I have a link to that on the left side of my blog. I'll be sure to take more pictures to share this year!

    Thanks for the costume comments! :) Yeah, I was feeling the witch hat a little more, but maybe that's just because I'm used to that one. Haha, Yeah I need to get a hold of a black cat or toad or something!

  23. You look gorgeous in the costume, I love it. What an awesome company for giving it to you for free! You inspire me so much to get more creative with my costume this you.

  24. Thank you! :) Yeah, I was really surprised to be offered a deal like that for doing a review! Yes, the company is awesome all around. Aww! I'm glad to hear that I've inspired you. :) Do you know what you're wearing for a costume this Halloween?