Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Get the "Cate Cahill" Look

"It's impossible to care about new dresses with so much to fret about. But that's my conundrum, isn't it?" ~Cate Cahill, Born Wicked
The Born Wicked Look

The story of Born Wicked takes place in the alternate historical setting of 1896 in Chatham, Maine during a time of social unrest and limited life options for women. Cate Cahill  is a girl of moderate means, she is the daughter of a scholar, but she is also a girl who enjoys simple things. She doesn't enjoy the prospect of parading around in ridiculous dresses to appease societal standards, and she prefers to spend her days away from frivolous tea parties and simply bask in the beauty of nature and tend to her garden.

Arthur Hopkins Painting
Fashion of the 1890s was considerably downplayed from years prior, and although, as you can tell from the photo above, clothing was still rather elaborate, this decade gave rise to much more manageable sportswear with the rise in popularity of various sporting activities for women. Dresses featured tight bodices, A-line skirts, and considerably puffy sleeves that didn't grow out of fashion until the Edwardian era. Corsets were much longer  than previous years, creating the desirable S-shape. Hats were still in fashion, and hair was typically worn in the Gibson Girl style.
Gibson Girl
So when you are creating your own Cate Cahill look, think of much more understated ensembles. Start with a modest camisole and petticoat, and don't forget to add practical stockings. A long corset would be ideal to achieve the look that was so admired at the time, but I do believe if Cate had the option to do away with her corset, she would.
Victorian Trading Co.
Next, choose a dress or skirt and blouse set that is elegant, but practical for wearing around the garden. I imagine Cate wears clothing that is not necessarily modern in style, but timeless in its own right, and something I could definitely see myself wandering around the gardens in. Add an exotic hat to keep the sun off while tending to your plants, and finish the look off with a pair of fashionable and comfortable Victorian boots.
Victorian Trading Co.
Victorian Trading Co.

Victorian Trading Co.
Now doesn't that lavender just bring out Cate's eyes? If you'd like, you can add a pretty parasol to your outfit, further protecting your skin from harmful sunlight and providing unique protection to do spells away from the wandering eyes of your groundskeepers. You may even wish to steal a kiss or two behind your protective parasol from the poor but handsome gardener! You can find this entire look and many others available from the Victorian Trading Co., a wonderful but dangerous website to view if your tastes run a bit otherworldly. Now get out there and show me your ideal Cate Cahill look, or perhaps a look worn by one of her sisters, Tess or Maura. Just remember, absolutely no pink when creating Cate's ensemble!

"Pink is for empty-headed girls like Sachi Ishida. Like- I wince as her laugh pierces my skull again- Rose Collier." ~Cate Cahill, Born Wicked

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