A Victorian working woman wore practical clothing – suitable for working. Here I’m showing you how a Victorian lower class woman would dress.
The first layer is a linen or cotton chemise. Here I’m wearing my antique linen chemise. Also some dark wool stockings, and dark, heavy leather ankle boots.
Unboned or just slightly boned working stays were worn for support while working and to evenly distribute the weight of the petticoats. I’m wearing my black wool stays with spiral lacing.
Now come the petticoats which may be of linen, cotton, or wool. Sometimes an old skirt, which was no longer pretty enough to be seen, was worn as petticoat.
Add another petticoat if necessary. I’m wearing four unbleached cotton petticoats and one natural-colored linen petticoat.
Tie some ribbon round your stockings to hold them up. You may also knit some Victorian garters.
You may fold down your stockings over the ribbon so that they’d hold up better.
Now comes the skirt. Here I’m wearing an blue cotton skirt, but a wool skirt would be practical if you’d work near an open fire.
To protect your hair from dirt, add a freshly laundered day cap. I’m wearing a plain cotton day cap which is easy to iron. The hair is worn in a simple bun at the nape of the neck (higher in the 1840s and lower in the 1850s and 1860s).
Wear an apron to protect your skirt.
If you’re going to work outside in the fields, protect your head and dress with a straw hat.
Victorian straw hats usually had a lower crown than the one I’m wearing.
Instead of a strawhat you could also wear a sunbonnet. I’m wearing my mint green hand-sewn cotton sunbonnet.
Here’s the finished outfit of a lower class Victorian working woman.