This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun, most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**

About Me

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HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, Dean Emeritus of 2018 Costume College; Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, and a representative of the San Diego History Center. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bollywood Does Victorian- a Costumed Walkabout

Our next costumed walkabout theme at the Del Mar Antique Show on Nov 17 is Bollywood. I didn’t have a clue what that was and we were left to do our own interpretation of it. I knew I didn’t want to wear Indian dress mostly because I didn’t want to make or buy anything that I most likely will never use again. But it took a few weeks of wracking my brain of what to do. I bounced a few ideas off Cindy, who is more familiar with this than I am. I decided to wear one of my historical gowns and do *something* with it. After narrowing my choices down to these two bustle gowns, I decided on the 1870s purple polonaise, since it’s one of my favorites.

My first thought was the British Raj, and how the Victorians would have been dressing then. The timeline was 1858-1947.  Then I did a search for Bollywood and mainly came up with images of their movie stars, but also with models in traditional clothing and jewelry. 
Then an idea hit me. What would happen if Bollywood did a Victorian movie but with their traditional look & jewelry, kind of like PBS did Victorian’s back in the ‘60s and the actors were wearing modern hairstyles? So my theme became “Bollywood Does Victorian”.
With only a week and a half left until the event I had no time to buy any jewelry off ebay, even though the stuff was gorgeous and VERY cheap. There was no way any of it would get to me in time, especially the ones being shipped from overseas. I checked for stores around San Diego and didn’t come up with much to purchase locally. This morning while again brainstorming with Cindy, she offered up a necklace of her’s, and we’re waiting on her sis-in-law to possibly borrow a few pieces from her.  So my next search will be for bangles and bracelets, and after finding some photos of what to look for, I’m heading out to thrift shops and Target to see what I can dig up. This ought to be fun. I’ll be looking for something like these.

Before I left the house I dug through my jewelry box and found a couple I can use. I thought I had a wide gold cuff but it’s gone into the black hole.

I checked our local Goodwill and two drugstores (since they used to carry costume jewelry) with no luck. Next was Target and I found my first bunch but only one color selection at my store, hot pink, and multiple gold bangles, and a pair of earrings that reminded me of the gypsy style I wore in high school. 

I found one more bracelet, a really pretty one in green, at Kohl’s in the clearance section. There were quite a few gorgeous ones in the sale area but nothing under $11, and I was trying to keep this cheap. So with the green one, my cost came to $24.
 Combined together with mine, they're quite pretty.

Plans are now to hook up with Cindy and see what kind of necklace she can come up with for me. Now my hunt is on for a veil to go over my head. I’m leaning towards red to go with my purple gown but I’m going to keep an open mind since this will be very colorful. Trying to think what other crazy thing I can do with this. 


  1. I know you're a bit short on time, but the indian influence over victorian-era fashion is mostly a matter of textile motifs.
    Some ideas here:
    Therefore, anything floral/paisley is good! Adding gold jewelry will add a little extra. :)

    1. Thank you, Jenni. That kind of shows me I'm on the right track. My dress is a floral pattern, and I may end up using a maroon paisley shawl if the weather stays cold.

  2. Val,
    You are having so much fun with this. I love the idea of all the color and bangles.


  3. You and Cindy are having way too much fun playing dress up :)! And you both look lovely doing it

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Our guild members have been coming up with so many places to go in costume, that I've had to pick and choose and turn down many. They'll dress up to go to a play, symphony, or movie opening besides other events.

  4. That is so wonderfully creative! I adore the idea of a Bollywood does Victorian ensemble and am now thinking that I need to do a 40s or 50s meets Bollywood outfit one of these days (you've definitely got my mind swirling with ideas over here).

    Thank you very much for your lovely comment and great tip about the thread, I really appreciate both, and am off to go explore your wonderful blog.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you, Jessica. I'd love to see what you can do with this theme too. The event is tomorrow so I'll have some photos of my outfit sometime after that.

  5. Clever! Happy Thanksgiving to you!


I would love to hear if this was any help to you. Pretty please!