Create A Coord Based On A Historical Figure

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I love a good coord prompt and challenge. Granted, I can’t always make them work when they’re based on characters or people, because the ones I admire tend to be either too vague to create coords around (like book characters) or my style in lolita is nowhere near that character’s/person’s style or even colour palette. However, for this one I decided to run with my gut instinct, with the first thought I got excited about. And hopefully, it will turn out well.



My historical figure of choice is King Henry VIII. I am absolutely obsessed with him because Henry VIII ultimately shaped England and laid groundwork to allow it to become what it eventually did (primarily the English Reformation and the establishment of the navy, without which England wouldn’t be able to take all those colonies). However, if I’m totally honest, it’s the fashion from the times of his reign that I’m predominantly obsessed with. Henry VIII was deemed the most fashionable monarch in Europe during his reign and he spent lavishly on his wardrobe. He was also so vain and concerned with his image as a well-dressed man that he passed several sumptuary laws restricting what people were allowed to wear and forcing them to dress according to their social status (which, granted, only the wealthy could afford to do anyway given the cost of fabric at the time). That’s on top of spreading the now most famous portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger, which was way more flattering than realistic, propaganda really (at the time Henry was over 40, still without a male heir, had just been injured and already had health problems that would only grow with age). Surely, as lolitas, we can relate to wanting to spend some gold coin on the best burando, would love to be guaranteed being the best/most lavishly dressed at any and all tea parties and to be remembered in our best coords. Or maybe that’s just my vanity speaking…

Portrait of Henry VIII by the Workshop of
Hans Holbein the Younger, 1537 - 1547.

This Lolita Blog Carnival prompt actually comes at a great time for me as I have only recently finished an online course in British royal fashion. Now, having the insight into Tudor garments, popularly used/available fabrics and trims, how many pieces were actually involved and how were they layered etc., I would like to include that in today’s coord. Now, since I wear lolita, this outfit can only be based on Henry VIII – if I ever get into ouji, however, I’m definitely going to be a Tudor ouji! But other than the obvious things like fabric or trim choices (pauper’s life only affording me fake pearls etc.), I’ll attempt to make this the only deviation.

| Angelic Pretty Royal Unicorn Switching JSK | Infanta Swan Lake blouse | Axes
Femme fur collar | Innocent World short sleeve bolero | Angelic Pretty Royal
Unicorn 
necklace | AatP Arabesque OTKs | AatP The Mouse King Gualtiero Medal
Pin II | offbrand shoes, pearl belt, beret and feather | vintage chain belt and brooches |

Angelic Pretty’s Royal Unicorn Switching JSK is the most fitting with Tudor fashion. The lush velvet bodice and thick gobelin-style fabric of the skirt might seem simple in our era of elaborate prints, but in the XVIth century people literally wore their wealth as fabric was expensive. Even now velvet and gobelins are expensive, so this fits perfectly with royal Tudor fashion. To add to the feeling of opulence, I kept the whole coordinate in ivory tones as light fabrics were an additional way of displaying your wealth since only the rich could afford the maintenance and cleaning. If I were going for a more lolita coordinate, I would’ve paired this with the gold glitter heels from Antaina. However, not only are those more Rococo in style, but Henry’s shoes on the portrait matched his stockings, so I opted for these heels instead.


Going from top to bottom, we start with the hat. In the absence of a proper Tudor hat I shaped an ivory beret to mimic the style. If I were to wear this, I’d have a heck of a lot of fun trying to fit that feather somewhere, since right now it’s just laid on top, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Henry’s hat was decorated with pearls and precious stones, so I added a gold dangly brooch for a bit of extra pizzaz.


One of the great things about Infanta’s Swan Lake blouse is that it has a high collar with fairly flappy layers of ruffle and lace around it. This means that I could place the fur collar under the topmost frill and potentially still have some of the longer lace visible underneath, thus creating the illusion of several more layers than there actually are. The pearl belt placed across the neckline and over the shoulders together with the Royal Unicorn necklace mimic the royal jewellery from the portrait. Pearls were one of the most expensive stones due to how hard they were to obtain, hence the many pearl details in the coord. And the unicorn necklace is more for the pop of red and the right length plus metal colour (gold) combo than anything else. As far as I know the unicorn did not appear as a supporter on the royal coat of arms of Great Britain until James VI of Scotland took the English throne, thus ending the House of Tudor rule and marking the beginning of the House of Stuart in England. However, the unicorn remains a supporter on the royal coat of arms to this day, so in this coord it doubles as a whimsical nod to the viewer, a sort of foreshadowing of the future that we now know of.


On the chest I placed a brooch with red roses. The Tudor Rose, symbol of the House of Tudor, was originally red with a white centre, symbolising the union between the House of York (white rose, still a symbol of Yorkshire) and House of Lancaster (red rose, still a symbol of Lancashire). It’s also traditionally the heraldic emblem of England. So whilst it was Henry VII whose ascent to the throne ended the Wars of the Roses, thus ending the civil wars for the throne, Henry VIII upheld his father’s legacy and kept the country united and free from civil wars. Well, at least as far as fighting for the throne was concerned. It felt appropriate to include a nod to this in the coordinate somewhere.



Like I said, the fabrics of the JSK are luxurious and expensive (well, here expensive looking, originally actually expensive), so I wanted them to show. I did add the short sleeve bolero to add a bit of bulk to the shoulder, just like Holbein painted Henry with massive puffy shoulders on his coat to exude power and masculinity. Hopefully, the bolero wouldn’t hide much of that gorgeous bodice. At the waist I attached a vintage chain belt with pearl charms. As much as I would love to have had a jewel-encrusted decorative dagger to hang from it, it probably is better on its own, a simple decoration that adds texture and sparkle. Also note the gathered sleeves of the blouse with the ruffled lace at the wrist. The sleeves are pretty puffy and voluminous, which I tried to show off on the full flatlay – had I had a long sleeve vest with cutouts, these sleeves would be peeking through just like Henry’s do. And the gathers at the wrist look just like the peeking sleeves of Tudor royalty. It was common to have your shirts embroidered and decorated at the cuff with so called whitework and have them stick out because the more embellished they were, the more expensive and Henry was all about displaying his wealth and power. The lace imitates that whitework perfectly!


Finally we come to the OTKs. If I were to wear this, I would wear matching ivory tights underneath, again, to simulate the style of stockings from the painting. Although Henry’s are plain, with such an elaborate coordinate lolita fashion’s demands for balance dictate that there be at least something on the socks, so I went with the Arabesque ones for their delicate, intricate gold pattern. It’s enough to add that extra detail and balance out all the layers and decorations at the top whilst still keeping it subtle. In Tudor times garters were necessary to keep one’s stockings from falling and Henry is painted wearing a garter of the Order of the Garter, England’s order of chivalry. Whilst I don’t have a traditional garter to use here, I replaced it with this brooch from Alice and the Pirates which I genuinely would have clipped to the sock and potentially, now that I think of it, tied a matching ribbon under the knee. This particular brooch serves several purposes: it acts as an imitation garter; it balances out the colours by bringing the splashes of red to the lower half of the body; and it carries over the Tudor rose symbol so that it features on both the upper and lower half. With this JSK hitting slightly short (or standard for AP), probably quite similar length to Henry’s vest, the garter/brooch would be on display in a lovely way.

Whilst I realise that a true Tudor monarch is not complete without some rings, I did not add any to the coord. Mostly because I forgot, but also the rings I do own are either a little too small or not quite classic enough to fit with the coordinate. Besides, they would’ve been there either only for the colour or stone (like maybe my Wicked and Whimsy ring or one of the new pearl ones) and purely for decoration, without any further meaning or symbolism, so you can easily imagine what that would have looked like.

Phew! This is now officially the longest post about a coord I have ever put together. Congratulations to those who made it all the way to the end, you deserve a gold star for reading through all this. True to my promise, I tried to incorporate as many elements of Tudor fashion and reference Holbein’s portrait as faithfully as possible. Hopefully, if you have read this instead of just scrolling for the photos, you have learnt something new about either Henry VII or Tudor fashion.

Do be sure to check out other coords inspired by historical figures that have been posted for this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival, there are bound to be some absolute beauties there! And if you could create a coordinate based on a historical figure, who would be your first choice? Are you a ‘traditional’ lolita enamoured with Marie Antoinette and French Rococo fashion or do you prefer something a little bit more obscure and teach others about this lesser known figure?


4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, I find historical fashion so inspiring and interesting. I didn't know King Henry at all so it was really interesting to learn more about it. What I also loved reading is that you followed an online class about tutor fashion, how cool is that?!
    Your coord represents his style really well, hope you are able to wear it out one day.

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    1. Henry VIII was a very interesting king as far as British monarchs go. While I get why, it's a shame that everyone focuses so much on his 6 wives and kinda ignores everything else (like the fact that he was so vain he spent almost his entire fortune on clothes or on how all his life he was trying to 'beat' his father, since he was never expected to inherit the throne and obviously had a massive complex there). The fashion around that time, especially for rich women, wasn't the most comfortable, but it certainly looked amazing, I'd love to own some elaborate Tudor gown! And yeah, that course in royal British fashion came at a time when I was *severely* bored at work with nothing to do - then came across this ad on Facebook for the course, which was completely free on https://www.futurelearn.com/, so decided to give it a go to occupy me. Seemed a very fit thing to study as a lolita and would love to do similar ones for royal fashion of other countries!
      Right now it's waaay too hot to wear even half of this outfit, but once it cools down I think I'll have to. No idea where I'd wear it yet, will cross that bridge when I get there. Although how epic would it be to have an actual ouji version of this? *.*

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  2. The colour pallete is spot on! I'm really amazed by your choice and your coord!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! As much as I would’ve loved to add more red, like maybe a red sleeveless coat/long vest, I am happy with how this came out. It ended up being a good mix between period and lolita.

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