So what about the costumes? Well, they're pretty, of course, and as far as I can tell they're pretty well aligned with history and Victoria herself. There's a lot of puffed sleeves and half sleeves, wide collars, sashes, and what I'm going to call "mini-shawls." The movie essentially covers the 1820s to the 1840s so this is post Pride and Prejudice Regency-era wear but before the hoops and crinolines and other torture underwear. Also, the movie ends before Prince Albert's death so thankfully I was not subjected to having to write, "And Victoria is still in black because Albert is still dead" over and over again.
I'm not really sure how much of a story Victoria's clothes tell before I really start studying these shots intensely so this might just be a post of pretty things. Nothing wrong with that, right?
As always, click the pictures to make them bigger so you can actually see the detail.
Maybe I'm just an idiot but little girl's dresses from the Georgian era to about the 1910s all look the same to me. The only thing about this image that says post-Regency to me in the corkscrew curl hairstyle.
Luckily, Victoria grows up quickly and I don't need to spend a lot of time with bland childwear.
So throughout the movie Victoria seems to wear purple and bright blue when the scene is correlated with her royalty and this is the first scene that directly confronts her status (when she is able to actually discuss and isn't confined to a bed). Of course, this isn't the vibrant blue that she ends up wearing later when she's queen. This is a light blue, queen-lite. She's a princess and still a child, made even more obvious by the little clips in her hair retaining the same style she had as a child. The silhouette of the dress is only a slightly more mature version of the dress in the earlier picture when she actually is a small child. The gathering on the front and the sash is about the same but it is more of a woman's dress with the more open neckline and shorter, puffed sleeves.
Nightgowns of the 1830s. This is only interesting in comparison to other scenes so I will move on for now.
Victoria meets Albert and he tries to interest her by saying he likes the same things as her. When she calls him on his bull, he admits to liking Shubert which she doesn't care for and this endears her to him a bit.
Victoria wears this dress on two occasions and in both of them it is when she is seeking out companionship and connections outside of her mother's and Sir John's influence. Green shades have a tendency to appear in her clothes whenever she is acting on a personal, rather than political, motive. She hasn't actually gotten into any of the politics of her position yet so what she is looking for at this point is just people who she feels she can trust.
Although I didn't get a shot of it, this is the same dress Victoria wears to the opera in the scene that is intercut with Albert learning about her tastes. In this scene, Victoria confides in Albert about the pressures of her position and he tells her that she should be trying to find a husband who can play the game cleverly with her and not for her. He also tells her about some of the tough things in his own life. Romance buds as they agree to write.
This seems to be her one really fancy evening dress in her pre-queen days and, like most of her things at this point in time, it's a light blue. However, notice her purple headpiece. Purple, being the color of royalty, is often worn by Victoria whenever she is acting on her own political whims over anyone else's and this is the first scene where the idea of acting for yourself is introduced to her by Albert. She's still a puppet but her head is living in a land where she is fully in control herself as she pretty much states in the continuation of this scene below:
The obligatory shot of period underwear. It's pretty much the same as the Regency era: boned corset, petticoats, and a chemise. As I said in the intro, this was before they started wearing hoops and cage crinolines and awful stuff like that but this was also post-panniers. This level of undergarment comfort will not be reached again until the Edwardian era introduces a more comfortable corset and does away with the bustle (which is better than a cage crinoline of the mid-1800s but still).
Symbolically, she takes off her dress to admit her true feelings: she will do whatever pleases her and not everyone who is trying to control her.
In the two large ballroom party scenes in the movie Victoria is in yellow. These are the only times she ever wears yellow as she mostly sticks to greens, blues, purples, pinks, reds, and black so clearly the two scenes are just supposed to be tied to each other. She is warmly received and compared to her other yellow dress, she is still very juvenile looking.
Victoria is threatened and thrown around by Sir John, standing up to him and telling her mother that she will never forget how she did nothing to assist her.
Pink and red are the colors of conflict. Pink specifically has to do with Victoria's relationship with her mother and it all kind of stems from this scene. Clearly she doesn't have the best relationship with her mother but having her sit and watch while her adviser physically harasses her daughter was pretty much the last straw for Victoria.
Victoria confines in Melbourne about how Sir John treated her and asks him for assistance in keeping him and her mother away from her affairs when she becomes queen. Melbourne offers to be her private secretary and requests that she appoint some ladies-in-waiting who are friends of his.
This is the same dress from the scene where she first meets Albert which makes sense since Albert and Melbourne become her two most important connections both politically and personally. This meeting is very different from the other however since the meeting with Albert was mostly personal and this one is mostly political but both aspects are definitely present.
This is the same nightgown as before but damn does it look different. When she's talking to her mother in their room about her meeting the Coburg brothers and John Conroy's control over their lives, the scene is dark, her hair is tied back, and she is mostly shot from the back. Here when she finds out she's queen now, her nightgown is framed in light, her hair is free, and she is shown standing proudly from the front. She now has the power and one of the first things she does? Request that her bed be moved from her mother's room connecting the two scenes.
Victoria ends up wearing this dress for quite a while because her uncle has died. There's no real significance to that but I really dig her bonnet and it's funny how much fussier her sleeves have gotten on this dress over the previous ones. It's not a particularly more high end dress than her previous ones but it's moving slightly in that direction.
When Victoria is in her home, she doesn't wear black. Here she is writing to Albert about how wonderful Melbourne has been to her and symbolically knocking over chess pieces. This dress is only seen for a second and I don't imagine it means much. In fact, it's probably the dumpiest thing she wears in the whole movie which is probably why it is so sparingly used.
In her first outing as queen since she was able to shed the proper mourning attire, she goes for purple. While in Westminster Abbey she talks about her desire to assist the poor, an idea wholly her own.
This outfit is the start of a big trend. Purple being the color of royalty, Victoria adopts it a lot but pretty much always in situations when her job is front and center in a scene. Here they are inspecting the grounds of her coronation site and she talks about her own personal political motives, something that we don't really see until this point since she has mostly had other people's political ideas floating around her.
Note the blue jewels in her crown. It's not hard to since there's not much else in this scene in the way of getting to see the costumes.
This scene really serves one purpose: to remind as that Victoria is still just a girl. After all the serious political discussion, it's easy to forget that fact. Therefore, she's dressed it something kind of frilly and reminiscent of the first child dress she's in in this movie and is sort of giggling and gleeful about her coronation ball like a little kid would be.
Yellow is Vicky's ball color and this is much more mature than her other one that also have flowers on it but sad frilly ones and was a pale, child-like yellow to this shiny, vibrant one. Although I said that there wasn't much to note in the coronation scene aside from the blue gems, this dress is actually almost exactly the same color as the robe she's wearing in that scene. Coronation robe = coronation dress.
Victoria says goodbye to Albert before he goes back to Germany. He tells her he would like to be useful to her and she says, "Not yet." Implied marriage proposal I think. This scene immediately proceeds the most blatant statement of, "We're trying to get Albert to bone the queen."
While there isn't much direct conflict in this scene, her denial of his proposal causes a huge uproar for her Uncle and the people surrounding Albert. Red means she has an enemy (other than her mom) and here it's those who try to control her through her marriage and feelings. Of course, you could also make the argument about red being the color of passion and this is where romantic feelings between Victoria and Albert are made explicitly clear.
Victoria attends a dinner where she discovers that Melbourne is about to lose the vote.
The most interesting thing about this outfit is obviously the sash which matches the jewels in her coronation crown but actually is representative of the Order of the Garter. Throughout the movie Victoria spends a rather surprising amount of time not in formal settings or even out in public at all. This movie is very much focused on her private life so when she is shown at an event such as this one, the full official regalia is out and making callbacks to other official regalia.
Victoria cries over Melbourne's fall from power, feeling like she has lost a powerful ally and even saying to her lady, "You won't desert me, will you?"
Although this isn't quite as light as the blues she wore in her youth, this blue calls back to her childhood far more than the current bright blue of her queenhood and she reacts to this political situation like a child: crying and feeling abandoned. Aside from the collar, the lace detail and the gathering, virtually absent in her regular clothes now, also recall some of her earliest clothes.
Sir Robert Peel, the new PM, tells Victoria that her house is full of people who politically lie with Melbourne and that she should appoint some people who agree with his side. She has none of it.
This dress says it all: the reds of conflict mixed with purple just to remind him of her status. Essentially it says, "I don't like you but I'm in charge so deal." Also, Victoria really doesn't wear full sleeves indoors very often but here she's all covered up and serious. Something about the structure of this dress is so stiff and authoritative. It actually reminds me a lot of dress she wore when she had that confrontation with Sir John that changed her attitude towards her mother.
Victoria attends an opera where someone calls her "Mrs. Melbourne" mockingly.
Out in public, she's full on queen mode. This dress and sash are exactly the same as the ones she wore when she found out Melbourne was about the lose the vote. This is her Melbourne outfit for now but her attitude towards him will change soon and you won't see this again.
Victoria's adviser tells her that she is being stubborn in her opposition of Peel's wishes and on the way they pass a man blaming her bad judgement on her mother.
Purple and pink. It makes sense that she would be wearing dark pink again when her mother is brought up.
During a recital, the palace is attacked.
It's a social event and she was wearing cream during her last social event at the opera but this one is less official so there's no crown or sash.
Victoria talks to her lady about how the people think she is causing trouble.
Back to childhood robe. Whenever Victoria confides in Letzen, she pretty much reverts back to a child because she was one of her only allies throughout her childhood.
Victoria writes to Albert about the conflicts and he tells her to think for herself. Then she gets a letter from her mother that is completely apolitical and tells her just that she loves her and feels sorry for her current pain.
Purple is all about Victoria taking control and that's what Albert advises here. Since the situation mentioned with her mother is wholly positive, there's no need for pink in her clothes.
Victoria talks to Melbourne about her own concerns for the poor and tells him that she has invited Albert for a visit. Melbourne can do nothing but agree to her ideas.
This is the most conflicted bow ever. Make of that what you will. I like to think that this bow shows the end of her smooth relationship with Melbourne. She has worn blue in relation to him before and red means an enemy. Here both are true.
Also, Victoria's travelling outfits all seem to be dark colors, usually muted blues or teals. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's to capitalize on the fact that when most people think of Victoria they think of her in dark colors because she spent so much of her life wearing black in mourning of Albert. Of course, she's not mourning so this is the closest they could get.
"I should have worn the red"
Victoria greets Albert when he arrives at Buckingham Palace.
So if red is a color of conflict, why does she think she should have worn it? Albert first brought up marriage while she was wearing a red dress. Instead she's greeting him as her powerful queen self in purple. Much better choice.
Victoria and Albert finally get engaged.
Same dress she wore to that dinner and to the opera. Perhaps it's a favorite because it certainly isn't lucky based on the other two times she wore it.
Wedding dress porn. How close do you think?
I don't actually have any clothing commentary. I just screenshoted these because they're cute.
Victoria and Albert: Newlyweds.
Dark travelling clothes. Unusually dark really. Possible awful foreshadowing?
Victoria does her job while Albert talks about the dirty windows, not sure what to do with himself and being called a guest by Victoria's ladies.
Doing her job in purple. She's definitely taking Albert's letter to heart; unfortunately he isn't needed when she is relying only on herself like he told her.
Victoria talks about how Albert thinks Melbourne and Letzen control her but doesn't believe that he does. Her friend tells her that Albert has it hard and to let him change some things around if he wishes.
Victoria usually has green on when there's a personal conflict and this most definitely qualifies. Also, she's got on some dark travelling clothes. It's interesting when shawls appear. They aren't a thing she wears all the time when she's walking around but they are often related to a personal moment with someone: first Albert, then this girl, and later Melbourne.
Victoria and Albert talk to her mother for the first time in a while as Albert tries to smooth over their relationship. Albert then tells Melbourne that he has no use for his advice.
Conflict pink with her mother. When don't even get to see the front of this dress, this scene is so short but this is all you need to know. Also, note how the pinks are getting progressively darker from the original like pink.
Victoria encounters Sir John in an empty room and ignores him, making sure to expel him from the castle later.
Green is often what she's wearing when something personal is being discussed. Here nothing is being discussed but she is acting purely on personal response. Sir John hasn't done anything to her in years and isn't doing anything to her here but his presence just leaves such a bad taste in her mouth that she just wants him gone. As a side benefit, her mother is not happy by it.
During an event Victoria learns that Albert has been making deals with Robert Peel to get some of Victoria's ladies out of the palace so some people who agree with him can take their place. Later, she and Albert argue about who is really in power and she essentially says, "Fuck off, Albert. I make my own damn mistakes because I am the one with the power."
Usually rocking cream at social gatherings, Victoria breaks out the purple pretty much for that fight with Albert. It's like, "Who's wearing the royal color?! Me! Also, who told me in the first place to trust in my own power and opinions? You!" This is also the first social event since her coronation ball that she has spend with Albert. Maybe that's why she's breaking out the excessive flower details again.
After Albert leaves against her wishes, this makes for a very tense morning drive together. On the drive, an assassination attempt is made and Albert gets hurt in the process.
Green means personal issues! Also, this outfits really calls back to what she was wearing when she first starting talking back to Melbourne (when she had the crazy bow). Victoria's life is just full of tense carriage rides with people she used to trust.
Funny how risking your life for someone can make all other problems seem kind of petty.
Premature mourning clothes. Period.
Victoria tells Melbourne about the attempt. Melbourne tells Victoria as a friend that even though he and Albert don't get along, he really feels like she made the right choice in marrying him.
Green again because although she's talking with Melbourne, it's about personal things and not politics. This is the dress she expelled Sir John from the castle in but I don't think there's any real importance there.
Side note, I dig those lace gloves. Even though the amount of lace she wears decreases over time, there are still minor touches of it in so many of her dresses.
When Victoria finally decides to put in a lot of effort to make Albert feel like he is a part of her job as well as her personal life, she is wearing purple. She has trusted her own instincts as queen and that lead her to essentially promoting him in her work life instead of just her personal life.
Victoria establishes a possibly begrudging sort of peace with her mother in the darkest pink yet. Perhaps the darkening of the pinks is not a sign of things getting worse so much as it's a sign of her maturing on the situation.
And we have our happy ending (sort of)!
This isn't a personal color or a political color. It's the color of the jewels in her crown. This is when she has finally become worthy of wearing her own crown.