There are literally thousands and thousands of wonderful fashion plates to choose from when you are considering making a Victorian dress, or any other era dress for that matter. The fashion plate was how many women found out what was "in" for the season in the days of old. Just like ladies today have magazines like Vogue and Cosmo, ladies in eras past had The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, La Mode Illustree, Der Bazar, and The Delineator (just to name a few) that contained "this season's" styles. Most of these magazines had colored fashion plates. Hundreds of those fashion plates are still in existence for us today to look at, drool over, and get inspiration from! Below are some of those colored fashion plates that I have attempted to turn into real life dresses. I didn't faithfully, 100% recreate the dresses as there were some of the aspects on the fashion plate that I didn't like, but you can get a general idea of how to take a colored fashion plate and wear it!
1885 Nautical Fashion Plate
Sorry for the silly face. This is the ONLY picture of me wearing this dress that resembles the angle of the dress in the fashion plate!
1884 At the Race Track...note the lace swath over the left hip on the purple dress. I didn't like that so much so I chose to leave it off of my dress...
My dress! I also chose to omit the red flowered bonnet from the fashion plate...
1901 The Designer. Love, love, love this fashion plate!!!
Here it is re-created minus the black, tied scarf....I didn't want to obscure all the hand sewn strips of navy on the ivory placket down the front of the bodice.
1903 Delineator. Mom fell in love with this dress, but we changed the red out for her favorite color blue.
Mom in the blue and ivory interpretation of the above fashion plate!