the woman in white

"So the ghostly figure which has haunted these pages as it haunted my life, goes down into the impenetrable Gloom. Like a Shadow she first came to me, in the loneliness of the night. Like a Shadow she passes away, in the loneliness of the dead."

 -- Wilkie Collins, The Woman In White (1860)

Between Hurricane Sandy and my own state of geographical limbo, Halloween got away from me this year, but I'd had this costume schemed up since late summer and couldn't let the idea go to waste... so here we are. I really wanted to dress like the Woman In White, from Wilkie Collins' infamous novel of the same name. Though the remarkable Marian Halcombe is the true heroine of the Collins' 1860 Gothic masterpiece (and among my favorite female characters in 19th century literature), I've always been a little haunted by the character of Anne Catherick. How I love the sad, spectral Miss Catherick: slipping around the lonesome swamps and country graveyards, just polishing the headstones & doing her own spooky thing, yet so entirely dismissed and alienated that her only hope is to lie in death beside the only person to ever have shown her kindness. It's Victorian melodrama to the max, which is always fun, but she's also oddly likeable. Hear me out: the girl wears weird clothes, and spends a lot of time wandering the countryside alone in a melancholic mood.... eh, not so different from yours truly.

{ The blouse is antique 1910s, found at a thrift shop for $3.
It was horribly stained, but an OxyClean soak brought it back to life.
The petticoat is also antique, and was $5 at an antique shop.
The velvet cape is 1930s and was a gift from my aunt.
Cameo inherited from my grandmother.}


It's too bad the details of my cape don't show up well. If anyone figures out a way to photograph black velvet, let me know. 

I hope you're having a fun weekend. ♥


  1. Such a beautiful and delicate outfit, I cannot believe your luck with that lovely blouse!
    While I'm not familiar with Wilkie Collins novel, this outfit brings to mind the costumes in Hell on Wheels.

  2. Now I have to read the book!!
    I wish I could find inexpensive treasures like you. This look is sooo beautiful!

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts. Your first image is a study in contrasts.


  4. Hauntingly beautiful images and outfit, dear Dakota.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. You are like a painting in these shots. I love it! Now another to add to my reading list!

  6. Beautiful, Dakota! I am so amazed how cheap those pieces were, you are so lucky girl. So lovely !

  7. You look eerily beautiful, this is my favourite kind of look. Anything involving white frills and black velvet. The story sounds fascinating! xx

  8. Oh my, you are so pretty!

  9. oh, i really, really love the cape!

  10. Just beautiful!! I really love the photos as well. The shadowing makes it feel so eerie and alluring!!


  11. wow you look stunning and I love how well your blouse turned out!

  12. You look absolutely beautiful and now I want to read that book. It sounds just my kind of thing, like an American Thomas Hardy maybe? xx

  13. Thank you, lovelies! For some reason Edwardian whites seem both abundant and cheap in these parts; funny that 100-year old clothes can be more accessible than more recent decades :)
    I recommend the book to anyone who hasn't read it... it's classic Victorian camp, slightly absurd but a landmark in the gothic genre. Also heroine Marian Halcombe is a BAMF.

  14. I would just like to second your opinion on Marian Halcombe - she truly is a great heroine. I read The Woman In White for a university module last year and fell so completely in love with her character that I did an essay on how her masculinity and decisiveness juxtaposes with Count Fosco's femininity. Anyhow, Halcombe is indeed a BAMF - and you look lovely as always ;)

  15. Oxyclean actually works? I have this really old petticoat that I should use it on. This is so pretty!!!!!!!

  16. Dear Dakota!
    I have been far away from blog reading and coming back to yours has been such a treat! Every single one is so lovely, as are you.


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