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The Crazy Complicated World of Victorian Etiquette

Ladies’ Domain

If the clubs and smoking rooms were the domain of men then the home and parlor were where women were expected to shine. The lady of the house (along with her hired help) was expected to oversee every detail of dinners and gatherings that might be held at her home. Upper class women planned 10 course dinners and balls, while middle class women planned a bevy of elaborate parlor games to entertain.


Via/ Flickr

Similarly ladies were expected to handle the outward class distinctions that represented her family such as clothing, decor, and correspondence. The decorating of one’s home was aided by the advances in technology that allowed for mass-production and many ladies were were outfitting their parlors in particular as never before. Even amongst middle and working class families the accumulation of small knick knacks was considered an art form and sparse decoration was seen as gouche.

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