A Guide to Dressing for The Gilded Age

A Guide to Dressing for The Gilded Age

Get your top hats, tiaras, and fancy gloves ready!

Edith Wharton’s 1921 novel The Age of Innocence told a tale of Gilded Age New York City and inspired the theme for this year’s Next Chapter fundraising event. During this time period, fashion was indulgent, over-the-top, and extravagant. On October 21st, fans of literature, leisure, and luxury will come together at the American Writers Museum to celebrate Wharton and many other prominent writers’ contributions to American writing and craft.

Want to join in on the fun but unsure how to achieve the theme? Katy Mickelson, the President of the Chicago Council of the AWM, has put together the perfect guide to help you craft the ideal Gilded Age aesthetic. Keep reading to achieve your dazzling look and purchase tickets for Next Chapter: The Age of Innocence!

Photo of women from the Gilded Age

Grab your gloves

From wrist length to opera length, gloves express glamor and are sure to make a statement. Go for classic white or turn heads with lace or fun colors. No matter what you pick, a great pair of gloves will bring any Gilded Age look together.

Dazzle with diamonds

When it comes to jewels, the more the better. Bracelets, chokers, pins, and rings — anything that sparkles and says, opulence!

Hair accessories

Photo of women from the Gilded Age

The ladies and gents of the Gilded Age loved to express themselves through fabulous headwear such as feathers and bows, top hats, tiaras, and headpieces. Before you make your way out the door, make sure you place something extravagant on the top of your head to really achieve the theme.

Statement sleeves

If you don’t have a ball gown or a multi-piece suit, not to worry. This era was all about sleeves. Puffy, printed, padded, or flowing, a statement sleeve showcases the flair of the era.

There you have it! Try out one or all of these Age of Innocence-inspired trends and you’ll be ready to mingle at Next Chapter. Haven’t bought your ticket yet? Snag one here. We’ll see you at the American Writers Museum!

The Chicago Council of the AWM (CC) is a group of professionals who are dedicated to supporting and raising awareness of the American Writers Museum. The CC serves as ambassadors for the Museum, helping support and extend its broader mission to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives. Learn more here.

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