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The Intrepid Victorian Traveler

In this five-costume program, Tames presents a look into the clothing and lifestyle of a Victorian woman during the mid-1850s through the early 1860s. She talks about travel through the day, travel through society, and travel in general, which really opened up in the 19th century.

Victorian propriety was reflected in every aspect of women’s lives, from their social standing in society, to their interactions with people, to the way they dressed. Women were restricted in many ways—they couldn’t go out without an escort, they couldn’t travel without a man accompanying them and making all the arrangements, and they couldn’t even visit a friend without at least taking a manservant along.

She first appears in a wrapper to tell how a Victorian woman started her day. As Tames dresses for travel to the seaside (a popular resort of the times), she discusses what someone could expect to encounter along the way. In addition, she will show a complete set of Victorian undergarments and discuss their various functions. Then she will change into appropriate dress for a watering place and talk about the various activities a Victorian traveler would enjoy while there. Finally, she will prepare for a formal dinner and dance. Throughout her program, Tames provides a lively discussion of each article of clothing, its function, and how it was made. 

Sharing her wide knowledge of the Victorian era, Tames discusses how wearing all the layers women wore, the tight lacing of the corset, the circumference of the hoops, and the weight of the clothing (which could reach 200 lbs.), controlled their movement not only physically but through society.

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