Steampunk

Victorian Etiquette

Victorian Etiquette

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Being Steampunk often requires developing a character and a Steampunk personality and so you might be interested to find out about Victorian etiquette. Here is our Victorian etiquette guide for Steampunkers.

True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen: Victorian Etiquette for Modern-Day Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Boys and Girls, Teachers and Students, and More
Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette
Victorian Etiquette, Manners, and Customs: Practical Etiquette of the Victorian Era
How to be a Victorian
True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen: Victorian Etiquette for Modern-Day Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Boys and Girls, Teachers and Students, and More
Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette
Victorian Etiquette, Manners, and Customs: Practical Etiquette of the Victorian Era
How to be a Victorian
£9.99
£6.45
£8.14
£9.34
True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen: Victorian Etiquette for Modern-Day Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Boys and Girls, Teachers and Students, and More
True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen: Victorian Etiquette for Modern-Day Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Boys and Girls, Teachers and Students, and More
£9.99
Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette
Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette
£6.45
Victorian Etiquette, Manners, and Customs: Practical Etiquette of the Victorian Era
Victorian Etiquette, Manners, and Customs: Practical Etiquette of the Victorian Era
£8.14
How to be a Victorian
How to be a Victorian
£9.34

Hygiene

In terms of bathing, the Victorians advised one bath a day, making sure to completely wash your whole body. Your hair should be washed with soap and water, but not as frequently as taking a bath. Skin care was a lot less used in the Victorian period, with them only using sweetened water or milk mixed with powdered charcoal and applying it every two to three months. 

Social etiquette

Men should never bow from a window to a woman on the street, but you may bow to a woman in a window if you are standing on the street. When crossing the street, a woman has to raise her dress with only her right hand, as lifting it with both hands is seen to be disrespectful. Women were never to be alone with a man outwith her family. They were not advised to even scratch their head in public as it was considered to be vulgar. Yawning and sighing in public was also a big no no and was to be avoided at all costs, a gentle tone of voice was also encouraged when talking. 

Middle class etiquette

For the middle classes, they were not allowed to address the upper class unless under circumstances that needed it, and even then they had to make sure to keep their sentences short. You were to address your ‘superiors’ as either Ma’am or Sir, and if you saw Ma’am you had to turn and face the wall to avoid eye contact. 

Lower class etiquette

The lower class didn’t have time for etiquette due to their busy and strenuous lives. They often went unrecognised by the rest of Victorian society and were frowned upon. Essentially the etiquette of the upper and middle classes required them to ignore the poor, lower class. 

Etiquette for women

Women were never to talk to somebody who was of higher status, unless they were approached by them first, or introduced by a friend. As well as this, if they were single they were not allowed to approach a man without an introduction. When introduced women had to bow politely and say the words ‘happy to make your acquaintance.’ Women also had to have a chaperone who was older and most likely married. In the case of reaching courtship, where women walked out with a man, they would have to walk apart. If there were stairs or something of the sort, the man could offer his hand. You were never allowed to be alone with a man unless they were family, this included carriage rides and such. You could also never turn up at a single man’s house, and if a man turned up at her residence, a family member would have to be in the room. You also were not supposed to ever look back at anyone on the street or in church etc. A woman was also not allowed to reject a man’s invitation to dance, unless she had already accepted that of another gentleman’s. Women were also not allowed to sit with their legs crossed. A lady may take the arm of only one gentleman, but a gentleman may take the arms of two ladies. 

Etiquette for men

Men were encouraged to drop all that they were doing at social events in order to tend to the women there, almost working as servants. Men were supposed to tip their hats in order to greet women, open doors, and to always walk on the outside. When kissing a lady, a gentleman may only kiss her hand, forehead, or cheek. When walking a lady upstairs, a man most remain in front, and when going downstairs they should stay behind. As well as women, men were not permitted to sit with their legs crossed. Men were not permitted to smoke when in the presence of a lady on the street, and at no time should they stand and make remarks about women passing by. 

If you’re looking for some more information on Victorian etiquette and how you can follow it, then why not try some of these books:

True Ladies and Proper Gentlemen: Victorian Etiquette for Modern-Day Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives, Boys and Girls, Teachers and Students, and More
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 06/04/2015 (Publication Date) - Skyhorse Publishing (Publisher)

This book focuses on the social conduct of men and women and it contains many illustrations throughout to keep you engrossed. 

Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette
  • Hill, Thomas E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 12/01/1994 (Publication Date) - Bluewood Books,U.S. (Publisher)

This book focuses primarily on the manners that surrounded the Victorian era and will tell you all that you need to know for your next Steampunk convention. 

Victorian Etiquette, Manners, and Customs: Practical Etiquette of the Victorian Era
  • Klein, C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 118 Pages - 01/14/2017 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

This book contains information on etiquette, manners, and customs, covering all that you need to know about taking on the persona of somebody living in the Victorian period. 

Sale
How to be a Victorian
  • Goodman, Ruth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 03/06/2014 (Publication Date) - Penguin (Publisher)

This book is particularly good if your character is somebody of the lower class as this book covers the everyday life of somebody who was often ignored by the other classes in society. 

You may also like to read this article on Victorian Gloves.

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