1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Fighting in victorian attire.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Vel, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. Vel

    Vel Dreamer

    Good news, I've gotten my creativity back! Bad news, i'm stuck on the logic of women in the victorian era fighting in dresses. My character is sort of like a personal bodyguard for the head of the estate she lives at. So she does a lot of fighting and combat. It's a little hard to imagine my character fighting and moving quickly with a huge dress on. Women in the victorian era wore many layers of clothing. The weight of the crinoline and petticoats that women usually wore would have to slow her down right?
    And lets not forget the corset. How can she fight wearing a tight corset and about 14 pounds (did a quick google search, may or may not be accurate) of clothing? Although she isn't human and has more speed and physical strength, surely she would trip over her dress, break the heel of her boots, or the crinoline would sway side to side, or back and forth and show her undergarments. I'm a little stuck on this at the moment but any thoughts or ideas anyone could share?
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    There is a reason why you don't hear of many Victorian dress Warrioresses...:whistle:
    They could just dress as a man would and stare down everyone unless they wanted a fight...
    Or make the big outer dress/clothing removeable with the pull of a tie or the undoing of some laces.
    A quick release corset might be a weapon in its own right...
    Riding clothes of the period might give an idea of clothing that gave more freedom of movement but was still socially acceptable.
    Also, you might want to look at how some of the more adventurous women of the era dealt with the problem.
    People like Gertrude Bell and Mary Kingsley. They had to deal with mores of the time and the practicalities of their locations and still remain respectable…
    But it could be considerable research...
  3. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Sage

    If this is an alternate Victorian era where a woman can be a bodyguard, then she'd be allowed to wear men's clothes. Maybe she'd put on a woman's dress in all its immobilizing glory when she's off duty and attending a formal occasion, but for fighting, she'd have to dress like a man. Women in that era and earlier who did fight did it dressed as men, and not always because they were disguising themselves as men, although that was sometimes the case. They dressed that way because they needed that freedom of movement.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

    Women today wear yogapants and ugg boots, how can you be a soldier wearing that? Yogapants don't even have pockets, where will you store your ammo! And you're probably saying to yourself "well she wouldn't be wearing that, she'd be wearing regular army clothes. Also all women don't dress like that all the time" and you're right. The women of Victorian England who were farmers or cleaning houses (or just poor in general) weren't wearing those huge crazy dresses, just like how today's female soldiers aren't wearing miniskirts and acrylic nails.
    S.T. Ockenner and Asher the Red like this.
  5. LAG

    LAG Minstrel

  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Suffragettes during the Victorian period would learn Jujitsu to defend themselves from those who opposed giving the vote to women. They absolutely could fight in a corset and a dress and terrorized their opposition. It was very cool.
    S.T. Ockenner and CupofJoe like this.
  7. cak85

    cak85 Scribe

    This kinda reminds me of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. if I remember correctly (its been a few years since I read it) his MC was a lady went to high-society balls very similar to what you find at Victorian Era parties. Anyways she was also a fighter and I think she wore her "fighting clothes" beneath her layered dresses. It was pretty awesome but not sure how realistic or practical it was.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  8. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Not very. Women's clothing during the Victorian period had a lot of layers, including the corset, of course. Trying to wear an entire set of clothes beneath it would result in the character either looking like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man or collapsing from heat exhaustion. And where would she wear her foundation garments?
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  9. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Maester

    But Superman manages to do so. Granted, he's not wearing a victorian period outfit, but he does wear a cape somewhere underneath his suit... ;)
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  10. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I've always wondered about that. How does he stuff the cape beneath his suit jacket without it getting wrinkled? Personally, I think he has a pocket realm behind his back, just big enough to hold his cape.

    Also, Superman is my favorite. :D
  11. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I think with something like this there are two routes you can take, the realistic route or the fantastical route. If you want realistic, you can do some research into the Victorian era garments and then think of ways that you can dress your characters practically and/or add elements to the garments that make them more practical in a fight.

    In a fantastical route, you can hand wave most of it away with a few vague explanations. It all depends on the type of story you're telling.

    Sometimes simply looking cool is fine.

    Also, there is are times when it might be best to leave reality to the history books.
    S.T. Ockenner, LAG and A. E. Lowan like this.
  12. RachelR

    RachelR Acolyte

    There was an article I read a while back by someone who actually did something like that in Victorian garb, and according to her, neither the skirts nor the corset were really an issue. The issue was the sleeves. Victorian dresses had sleeves so tight that when she fought while wearing them, they’d often split at the seams.
    S.T. Ockenner and A. E. Lowan like this.

Share This Page