The Public Domain Review website uploaded a fabulous book published in 1887 called Fancy Dresses Described or, What to Wear at Fancy Balls by Ardern Holt.
It is a comprehensive guide to all things fancy dress, with detailed descriptions of costume ideas, from the more abstract such as “America” or “Five o Clock Tea” to historical figures to everyday objects such as “Toilet Table” or “Champagne Bottle”.
Here are a few favourite examples, but you can also flick through the entire book at your leisure here!
The costumes are quite elaborate. You’d have to have plenty of pocket change or be an expert seamstress/craftstress to manage these outfits! But they are brilliant and very well thought-out. Great inspiration!