Another bizarre trend of Victorian times was the “Lover’s Eye,” a gesture of adoration where one would send a portrait of their eyes to their lover. It started with Prince George of Wales, who was the first one to send a miniature painting of his eye to his secret beloved, Marie Fitzherbert.
This gesture of love became so popular that Queen Victoria herself had several eye portraits commissioned. The portrait was at once a clear picture of the eye and a piece of jewelry since they were often embedded in a locket. For Victorians, to have someone’s eye meant they had their gaze, their look, and, therefore, their unwavering attention.
The Trusty Carriage Covers
During the Victorian era, upper-class ladies had an interesting way of avoiding highway robbers when traveling by coach – the infamous carriage covers. They were gold or enamel orbs designed to cleverly conceal jewelry, much like a portable safe for expensive gems and jewels.
Of course, depending on the woman’s social class, these orbs could be gorgeous and ornate (which might defeat the purpose if you ask us) or quite simple. Sadly, few covers from that era remain and are rare treasures to come by nowadays. So, if you manage to get your hands on one, it may literally be worth its weight in diamonds!
The Little Chatelaine Belt
Since men were the ones that handled money and other large items back in the Victorian era, women’s dresses had minuscule or no pockets. This gave way to the famous Chatelaine – which means “female head of the household” in French, since she was the one who always held the keys to the palace.
The Chatelaine was a very elegant belt clasp that was worn at the waist, and it had several chains that hung from it. Each chain held another item – watches, perfume vials, pencils, scissors, smelling salts, and other everyday items. Of course, as bags started to appear, the cute little chatelaine slowly disappeared.
The Victorian Booty Lift
Kim Kardashian didn’t start the big booty trend; the Victorians did. They don't teach you that in history class, people. You have to go to the internet for information that is actually interesting. Back in the 19th century, women had a different approach when it came to drawing attention to their backsides – they wore bustles.
American inventor Alexander Douglas created this supportive undergarment which featured either metal cages or padded cushions, allowing glamorous skirts' hemlines to create that infamous curvature at the backside — all without breaking any modesty dress codes. As uncomfortable as it may sound, perhaps it was better than getting painful plastic surgery.
The Choking Collars
This fashionable but deadly Victorian trend was detachable collars. Men of stature wore collars that were starched enough so they could stay stiff throughout the day. Normally, there would be no problem with a nice, crispy collar. However, most of these well-to-do dandies visited their local pub after work and drank silly with alcohol. (This is still a pretty common custom in some parts of England, minus the starch.)
Unfortunately, this meant that they often got quite drunk and ended up being choked to death by their hard collars. This happened so much that the collars got quite the dark nickname – “Father Killer.”