7 Victorian Era-Inspired Dresses That Are Ethical & Sustainable
This Summer’s Newest (Old) Trend
Open up an Edgar Allan Poe book and lace up your corset—Victorian era-inspired fashion is back.
Poofy sleeves, small floral print, bows, and angsty looks across the moors while pining over Catherine… Okay maybe that’s just Heathcliff…. But everything else you loved while reading classics like Wuthering Heights and The Importance of Being Earnest is back for the 21st century.
The technical Victorian era is defined as the period in which Queen Victoria held the throne, from 1837–1901. Any girl who was obsessed with the Bronte sisters or Tennyson in high school (like me) is thrilled to have the chance to live out those fantasies, in a healthy and socially acceptable manner. We’re talking running through the fields with your dress blowing in the wind and confessing your woes to a journal.
Styles are known for circling back, and now the trends of strong shoulders and midi dresses harken directly back to Victorian Era fashion (minus the hoop skirts). Luckily, tons of sustainable brands have been trying to help us live out our fantasies by making these magical pieces for us!
1. Harriet Dress | Reformation
First and foremost, Reformation has a new Victorian-themed collection, filled with swoon-worthy looks. This is one of our favorite pieces—it shows much more skin than that era would have allowed, but we dig it. You can feel flirty and confident knowing that this organic cotton dress saved 1.3 pounds of waste in its making.
Shop | $248
2. V&A Yasmin Print Flared Dress | People Tree
The print on this dress is actually taken from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, founded in 1852 and created in honor of Queen Victoria. So you can wear the same patterns of those historical times with a modern cut. You can find a whole season of prints from the V&A at People Tree.
Shop | $217
3. The Cicely Dress | Christy Dawn
Christy Dawn’s whole aesthetic screams Victorian. This dress, created with deadstock fabric, is both historically accurate and functional. With their mantra “honoring mother earth,” their Cicely dress is begging to be taken to an outdoor picnic or farmer’s market.
Shop | $278
4. Sasha Stripe Embroidered Hemp Dress | Thought
Thought always brings its A game when it comes to designs. Made from organic hemp, the Sasha dress adds a bit of modernity to the traditionally high necklines and draped gowns of the Victorian era.
Shop | $67
5. Kyra Silk Midi Dress | Boden
Giving us major Alice in Wonderland vibes, the Kyra will make you want to jump down the rabbit hole of sustainable fashion. This floral print dress from Boden is perfect for afternoon tea with Oscar Wilde while watching a croquet match on the lawn.
Shop | $204
6. Canyon Dress | Outerknown
My favorite style can be described as chic-Victorian-ghost and this dress from Outerwear fulfills all of those requirements. With fabric made from a female-led artisan group in Southern India, you can feel amazing inside and out knowing that we are continuing to work towards a brighter future.
Shop | $248
7. The Button Up Midi Dress | Vetta
Reversible. With. Pockets. Say no more—it’s already in our carts. All it’s missing is a parasol to wander the gardens with. Made in a family-run factory in NYC with sustainably-made fabric, this midi dress gives off a cool and collected vibe we love.
Shop | $149
You’ll be wanting to book a plane ticket to London ASAP to explore some of the history weaved into these fabulous dresses!
Sarah Spoljaric is a California girl through and through. She has a BA in World History from one of the top 10 greenest campuses in the world; The University of California, Merced and is a Content Curator for the visual travel app Trepic. She has a background in museum curating, loves reading women’s travel journals and is in search of the perfect IPA. She’s passionate about exploring this beautiful world that ethically-produced goods help to protect. Say hi on Instagram!