Titanic Movie Dresses

by Karen

Titanic Fashion: The More You Know

More than 25 years after it hit the silver screen, Titanic is as relevant and popular as ever. We credit this to the film’s extraordinary balance of romance, drama, morality, decency, tragedy, grace, and history, all summed up in the sinking of the unsinkable.

And let’s not forget the parties.

The glitz and glam of the first class is unparalleled. And the film made even the third class—supposedly the lowest tier on the huge ship—look and feel like a captivating and immersive party.

So, it’s not surprising Adele chose Titanic as the theme of her 30th birthday!

Are you attending a similar event? Are you wondering, “what did the people on the Titanic wear?” The WardrobeShop has got your back, like the floating wooden board Rose was hanging onto.

We’ll give you all the details on what was hot on the largest ship in 1912, along with guidance on inspired fits.

Read on to learn how you can strut in style and command gazes wherever you go with these Titanic fits.

Find out what year the Titanic Fashion is from

But First, What Year Is Titanic Fashion From?

Considering this movie's impact on romance and tragedy lovers, you’d think the fashion would span decades. But the truth is that it only spans two years: 1910 to 1912. 

Titanic fashion took a lot of inspiration from the Edwardian era. But the corsetry focused on smoothing the body with a long, columnar look instead of drawing attention to curves. They had short sleeves but modest necklines that were round and square. Some dresses had V-necklines, but they were often covered with a horizontal inset for modesty and to leave some things to the imagination. 

Picked from the Ballets Russes, rich fabrics became the norm, and it was common to see lace chiffon, fine silks, and satin on the ultra-wealthy. Beads and lace were also popular accouterments in evening dresses. And in vogue with orientalism, intense hues like black, royal blue, emerald, and purple were popular color palettes. 

What Kind of Dress Was on the Titanic?

Titanic fashion was different across classes, and there was diversity in items they carried with them on the trip, with a focus on self-invention. 

Here’s what they packed:

Actress Kate Winslet wearing an incredible titanic dress while starring Rose Dewitt Bukater

What the Rich Wore 

The first class flaunted fascinating and expensive looks from famous houses or custom-designed by forward-thinking designers like Paul Poiret. They complemented their outfits with expensive jewelry (hello, Heart of the Ocean!), fans, shawls, jackets, coats with fur, shoes, and hats decorated with beads, lace, and ribbons to show off their social status. 

These outfits were quite detailed and extravagant but also geared toward comfort without sacrificing style. The best example is morning dresses made with high-quality fabrics that flowed freely.

These light, feminine dresses were worn during the day, particularly for breakfast. Since the onus was on ease of movement instead of the dress fitting like a glove, it meant there was no need for a corset. This speaks of the transition from the heavily weighed-down clothes of the previous century. 

Except for meal time, women wore gloves to keep interactions appropriate.

Men’s clothing is also simplified. They wore white ties or cravats, tailcoats matching the trousers, peaked lapels, white gloves, and polished shoes. They chose bespoke clothing, which was evident by how nicely they fit.

What kind of titanic dresses the Middle and Lower Classes Wore

What the Middle and Lower Classes Wore

The lower classes restricted themselves to dresses, shirts, and trousers made from a blend of wool or cotton, which were less expensive. While the middle classes often had their sewing done by local tailors, the lower classes did it themselves, often taking inspiration from designs in magazines and newspapers. 

In time, and with the increase in demand, ready-made clothes became more affordable, often loose-fitting to fit various sizes. They also bought pre-loved items for a chance to dress like the wealthy if their finances permitted. 

They often chose darker-colored clothes like black, blue, or brown. This allowed them to wear the pieces multiple times before there was a need to wash them. Washing dark colors was also significantly cheaper than white. 

The lower classes on the Titanic also wore just one pair of shoes until they broke apart and could no longer be repaired.

That said, many in the middle class brought some of their best outfits for special occasions. 

Kate Winslet wearing a beautiful titanic outfit

Was Titanic Fashion as Outrageous as the Media Makes It Out To Be?

Kate Winslet’s character in the film is a young heiress and socialite. She wore standout dresses that perfectly emulate what the rich wore back in the day. 

From the moment she first appears onscreen, her fashion was notable. The luxury, extravagance, and wealth are unmistakable in the show-stopping suit with a warp-like overlay and wide straw hat she wears when she’s about to board the ship. 

The red-and-black “jump” short-sleeved gown is one of the most famous pieces, heavily beaded with black and silver. She’s also seen wearing a pink coat embroidered in black, which creates quite the contrast. 

And if there’s a dress that perfectly speaks of party life at the time, it’s the dinner dress made of coral silk and black beaded chiffon.

Women changed clothes multiple times a day. These pieces were up-to-date with recent trends and, thus, expensive. 

So yes, many of the stories about Titanic fashions are true. This is backed by claims made by survivors. 

For example, Charlotte Drake Cardeza booked the Millionaire’s Suite, the most luxurious on the ship. She filed the single largest claim for loss of property against White Star Line, totaling $177,352.75 worth of items in 14 trunks, four bags, a jewel case, and a packing case. In the end, she only received $8,750.

Collection of vintage Titanic dresses for sale

Where To Buy Titanic Era Dresses?

Going to a Titanic-themed party? 

The WardrobeShop has a fantastic collection of vintage Titanic dresses for sale

From the sweet and subtle 1920s style dress for ultimate femininity to the tea party dress that makes you the star of every event, we’ve got something for every aesthetic. You can also shop for accessories for the full authentic look.  

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