1890s Women’s Fashion in Canada

It’s no secret that I am a bit of a Victorian/historical fashion nerd, previous eras of attire have influenced my designs for Gloomth and the brand’s concept since we began. While recently looking through historical archives I thought I’d share some images from the 1890s of fashion as it was in Canada at the time. For this already very image heavy post I’m going to focus on womens’ fashion primarily so it doesn’t become too lengthy, maybe I will create a couple more of these deep dives into old photos about daily life at the time and mens/childrens fashions.

An array of hats and ascots, this image is of a variety of proofs from a professional photographer’s studio. I just loved the composition and story contained in this page alone.

Canada had just completed the British North America act in 1867 so by the 1890s was still a forming nation (according to history books which largely ignore the cities and efforts of the indigenous population that was here centuries prior to European “settlers”). A railway crossing the country was just completed linking the east with the west and allowing the flood of immigrants to settle all across the nation, forming new towns and eventually cities.

1900 woman fashion canada

The photo below is of a girl named Maude from 1891, she’s swathed in what appears to be lengths of fabric for an artistic photograph rather than wearing actual clothing from the era. It’s just such a haunting image I had to include it.

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian 1890s womens fashion in canada victorian


Gorgeous mutton sleeves in velvet and coiled wool below! Absolutely dying over the hats as always. The texture and detail in all of these outfits is incredible. Western fashion for women in the 1890s abandoned much of the crinolines and bustles of previous styles, though heavy corsetting continued. The skirts fell in loose a-lines which allowed women to ride drop frame bicycles and be more mobile/active, while blouses/tops remained tight with large gigot or mutton style sleeves.

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian 1890s womens fashion in canada victorian


A very dapper young man in a wool suit and vest to break up the many ladies featured in this post! He is holding his leather gloves and what appears to be a cricket or baseball bat?

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian 1890s womens fashion in canada victorian


The buttons on the mother’s jacket below are fascinating, it would take quite a while to button-hook yourself into such a top. 1892, titled “Mrs and Miss Halkett” and nothing else.

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian1890s womens fashion in canada victorian

The photo below was titled “Mrs. Papineau” and was taken in 1898, unsure if she is related to the Canadian historical figure Mr.Papineau or whether this is for stage. It certainly looks like perhaps a costume since she has on a non-period wig etc.

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian

More astonishing sleeves and elaborate necklines below.

1890s womens fashion in canada victorian 1890s womens fashion in canada victorian

The photos of the two young women below seem so alive and magical, I love looking at historical photos and imagining the lives these strangers lived. Also that pleated light velvet dress is dreamy.

1890s fashion victorian canada womens 1890s fashion victorian canada womens


Below is a photo of Sir John A. Macdonald’s daughter Mary, confined to a wheelchair. He was the first Prime Minister of Canada (sort of a complicated character, to put it nicely) and his daughter was born with hydrocephalus and was never able to walk. There aren’t many photos of disabled individuals existing in historical archives or even in family albums. Mary was an early adopter of new typewriter technology and passed away in 1933.

mary macdonald wheelchair canada history

I hope you were inspired by these beautiful old photographs! If you like this style of post please let me know in a comment and I’ll try and do more like this.



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New “Joan of Arc” Photoshoot!

joan of arc photoshoot gothic lolita gloomth

Sometimes a concept comes together into something so magical it inspires you for days after! I’ve been dying to create a Joan of Arc themed shoot for ages and finally had all the items and a great team come together to make that happen!

joan of arc outfit gloomth photoshoot halloween

joan of arc photoshoot outfit costume gloomth

Gloomth Girl Poppy transformed into the fierce and fascinating Joan of Arc for this photoshoot! I kept her makeup very simple since Joan was about 19 years old when she died, rosy peach cheeks, thick lashes, and a flush of color to her lips. Krystal created a crown of braids and used a bit of clipped real ivy from my window garden to accent it. We left the rest of her hair loose and wild as if she had just finished battle.

joan of arc outfit gloomth photoshoot halloween

joan of arc outfit gloomth photoshoot halloween

We shot the entire series at dusk in one of my favorite spots just outside of Toronto, it was fairly busy with people but we managed to find some gorgeous backdrops away from the crowds. The sword and dagger I borrowed from a friend (Thank you D)! The gauntlet is one of my own props, which has appeared in quite a few Gloomth shoots.

Poppy wore our “October” dress paired with a big brass crucifix I bought at the flea market!

joan of arc outfit gloomth photoshoot halloween

My brother also shot at this shoot so we have a whole second heap of photos to share as well! I will save some history on Joan of Arc and her inspiration toward my work and Gloomth for when we share those photos later this week.

joan of arc outfit gloomth photoshoot halloween

Poppy is wearing our “October” dress which is available on our site in sizes S-5XL and we have a red version of it coming shortly also.

My photos from this day are now on flickr, you can see them all there!!!

Thank you to Poppy and Krystal and my brother for making this shoot come together so magically!


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Witchy Home Decor Picks for Halloween 2018

gothic witch photoshoot occult gloomth

All spooky and eccentric sorts know shopping for unique home decor is made ten times easier during Halloween season! We love blending in high quality “seasonal decorations” in with our year round home decor. It can be tricky to sort out the decent pieces from the cheap ones meant to last a single Halloween- so here’s our picks! We try to look for useful items made of quality or luxurious seeming materials that’d work well blending into your home’s style, or pieces that are truly interesting.

This week’s is all about Gothic and Witchy vibes! Calling all dark warlocks, mystics, conjurers, and witches- these decor picks are for you. We also have a skull picks list and here’s a general Halloween favorites list from 2017 too. *We compiled this list using seasonal sections of a variety of sites, rather than places providing specifically witchy/gothy goods year round.

Enchanted Wall Mount Hands, Set of Two

Eerie Helping Hands– These ghostly hands reach through ornate keyholes and are ideal for storing scarves or jewelry. The site says they can hold up to 5lbs and we think they’d look great in a Gothic witch wardrobe. Available here!

Halloween 5'' Posable Spider Blue - Hyde and Eek! Boutique™ - image 1 of 1

Jeweled Spiders – We love the idea of these hung in the window so the light catches them! Only $4 from Target!

Beaded Spiderweb Coasters – Full disclosure Tae owns a variation of these from about 2009. Beaded spiderwebs add some texture and personality to your table without screaming “Halloween aisle”. Available here.

Jewlery Tree – Need somewhere to hang earrings or necklaces? This silver glittered dead tree would look amazing year round on your vanity table. Available here.

Image result for ouija candle spirit halloween

Ouija Board Candle – Would love lovely as the focal point in a cluster of candles in your bedroom or on the dining table. Available Here.

Image result for Octavia Ouija Faux Velvet

Velvet Ouija Pillow – Would look great mixed in with similarly colored pillows on your couch or on the bed! Available here.

Image result for Black Crow Snowglobe

Crow Snow Globe – This would be beautiful on a mantle or with other treasures on a book shelf. Available Here.

Glass Pumpkins – Fill these with tiny battery operated string lights and set them around your bedroom, or use those led candles! Available here.

Spider Topiary – Grows real ivy from a moss base! Would be great among regular potted plants in your windowsill. Available here.

Have you seen any good Halloween home decor yet? Happy almost Halloween!


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Halloween Tea Party!

halloween print skater dress gloomth toronto canada

Tickets are selling quickly for our Halloween VIP Shopping & Tea Party! If you’re in the Toronto area we would love to see you there!

This is not strictly a shopping event, we’ll be serving tea and snacks and it’s a great time to meet our team and other folks interested in the things you are!

Details here!


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New “Gothic City” Photoshoot!

gothic outfit with purevile necklace and gloomth dress

I spent the long weekend working on photoshoots or editing photos from said photoshoots, which honestly was so much fun! This shoot with Mistress McCutchan was an absolute delight. It’s so great when you can make art with your friends!

gothic corset valance dress toronto editorial photographer taeden hall

We shot on the deserted roof of a parking garage I sweet talked a security guard into letting us up on. He made us promise we wouldn’t “jump off” (it’s like 1 story, I don’t think we’d have died if we had, but sure).

gothic valance corset dress toronto gloomth

gothic fashion toronto designer taeden hall gloomth

The resulting photos are spectacular! The view of the city out beyond us, the pale dusk light, and our model’s awesome styling.

We also got to include this stunning stained glass necklace by Purevile! One of my favorite accessory designers, and someone we hope to collaborate with again on a future shoot.

gothic fashion graffiti backdrop taeden hall photographer

gothic model against a colorful graffiti wall background toronto

We also shot down some side streets which were full of awesome graffiti! Makes for a super contrast against the black of our “Valance” dress.

Our “Valance” dress is now in stock and ready to ship!!!!!!!! We have sizes XS-5XL available but quantities are limited. We won’t be ordering it in black next time so be sure to grab your gothy version now if that’s your vibe.

gloomth valance dress and purevile necklace

We had such fun creating these photos and I think it shines through in them!

You can see the entire series on our flickr album!

Thank you to Mistress McCutchan for modeling for me once again. 🙂


Purevile’s work- https://www.instagram.com/purevile/

Mistress McCutchan’s bellydance group- https://www.instagram.com/serpentinanorth/

Mistress McCutchan’s music podcast- http://catvsbat.podbean.com/

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Bad Costumes 8.0!

It’s time! Every year I delight in pouring over all the mainstream costume websites to compile each fall’s Worst of the Worst. The tackiest, most tasteless, most lame costumes I can find and then I mock them here. It’s one of our favorite Halloween traditions here at the ‘Cult and I hope you’ll get a laugh out of this year’s contenders!

Here’s all the previous years:

Year Seven

Year Six

Year Five

Year Four

Year Three

Year Two

Year One

Onto the Bad Costumes!!!!!!!!!!

Inflatable Baby Girl Adult CostumeAbsolutely Horrifying Enormous Baby- A deeply terrifying hybrid of blow up doll and giant baby. Why does it have that open mouth!?! Imagine this catastrophe hobbling towards you at a party, knocking things off tables left and right, guests cowering against the wall to keep their drinks from spilling. You know you’re gonna find one of these costumes abandoned in a subway turnstile at 9am November 1st, the lengths of polyester wound tight around the metal poles, abandoned. Also available as a “boy” baby with a blue bib, just in case you want a really inconvenient couples’ costume.

Adult Blue Monster Madness Costume

Melted Blue Off Brand Puppet – It’s like the Sesame Street aliens but it’s not licensed so enjoy your wobbly, off-brand, messed up looking polyester sack. If you didn’t recognize it as an attempt at the characters from television what would you guess this was? Paper shredder vs fish costume? Hula tube sock? Blue googly eye sea worm?

Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwich Costumes

What The Fuck Is This? – It’s labeled as “grilled cheese”. It looks like a still from one of those inside-your-body documentaries….

Adult Inflatable Presidential Pick Me Up Costume

Too Real – This will be funny in 20 years when he is just a punchline and a blot on the American history books. Right now it’s just deeply depressing and stirs a familiar anger inside my body (even as a Canadian). I am hypnotized by the bizarre inflatable boobs though, why are they so perfectly spherical?

Skeleton 2 Person Long Sleeve Tee

Too Clingy for Halloween – Listen, if you feel the need to cram your poor partner into a sweater with you when you go to the bar this Halloween maaaaaybe ya’ll need to have a conversation about your relationship. This is not an impulse bred from trust. Unless this is your kink, is there a “shared ugly costume” kink? (Nah, don’t tell me, I don’t wanna know). Also this costume straight up doesn’t work, it makes the skeleton’s ribcage look like boobs. Why? Also how do you pee while chained to one another like this? (Again, if that’s your thing- cool- but don’t send me links).

Women's Sexy Werewolf Costume

Economically Disenfranchised Rural Sex Worker LycanthropeAwooooo! (Cue that awful Shakira “She Wolf” song). Somewhere during a 2018 costume concept brainstorm session in a fluorescent lit office tower someone throws two darts and hits “werewolf” and “hillbilly ho” at once. Everyone claps. It’s is 4:45pm on Friday and they call it an early day.

Sexy Skittles Dress Costume

It’s a Branded Tube Dress – Can we all agree these corporate branded skin tight “costume” dresses are the epitome of lazy? Girl, just wear lingerie and animal ears. “I’m a mouse- duh!”.



Adult Care Bears Tenderheart Bear Costume

Sexy Unfortunate Nostalgia Triggering “Bear” – This costume was actually called a “Care Bear” costume, and if you were a kid in the 80s like me then you couldn’t escape these saccharine cartoon bears- but this costume doesn’t look anything like a Care Bear. Why do we need to make them “sexy”? Why are so many ladies’ costumes just revealing versions of childhood characters? Why do we need to sexualize every possible thing?

Runny Nose Adult Costume

Runny Nose – Okay this is mildly amusing. I’d buy him a drink but I don’t think he could sip it through the giant foam shnoz.

Sexy Owl Costume

Tarred and Feathered? – This was labeled “Sexy Owl”, because who (whooo whooo) doesn’t wanna get with the girl covered in cheap chicken feathers with the itchiest mask ever. This BARELY qualifies as owl-like. You’re gonna get a rash.

Womens Tequila Princess Costume

Some Racist Bullshit – This was labeled “Tequila Princess” and it has room for shot glasses and a bottle in the fanny pack. It also has a tiiiiiny sombrero etc. I just want to say, like I do every year, that with all the many things you could dress up as a racially insensitive trope mocking an entire culture is pretty fuckin lame and shameful. Especially considering who’s in power in the USA right now.

Happy Almost Halloween Everyone!!!!!!!!!!


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On the Shadow Under Joy

taeden hall toronto photographer blogger artist

As of August we received our confirmed manufacturer contract and our remaining initial run of designs are being made as I type this, it’s our first time moving to this style of manufacturing, our first international contract, etc etc. 2018 has involved a lot of firsts, and a lot of very steep learning curves. It’s also been one of the hardest years of my life. I’m not quite ready to write at length about how hard this year has been, we are almost out of the new manufacturing evolution woods but not quite- and part of me doesn’t want to count unhatched eggs- but it’s been a rough year. I did not create many photoshoots, or much of anything, in 2018 because I felt so lost.

But now it’s September and I am back creating photoshoots- we have a contract, things are moving forward one way or another and I can get back to work! I feel a bit like I am back from the dead. 

I can make art again, and it’s the ONLY thing I feel like doing right now. I am shooting multiple things per week, calling in every model I couldn’t schedule over the last 18 months, rabidly editing photos. Giddy hyper and chugging coffee like a fiend. I’m alive again and just so delighted to be back doing what I am so passionate about with the weirdos and misfits.

But there’s a shadow under that, and I’m sure some of you out there will identify with this feeling. The pit under jubilance.  The idea that “If I Celebrate and Relish This Good Feeling – It Curses Me”. That somehow if you get too comfortable in the good places that some karmic judge will notice and rip them from your hands. Maybe this is a Protestant habit, maybe this is from a culture where celebrating your achievements is sometimes seen as gloating or ungrateful, whatever it is it’s: crap.

1- The “fall” if things don’t work out isn’t going to hurt less if you didn’t relish the highs. The blows are not lessened by being perpetually wary of their approach. 

2- By avoiding “celebrating your highs” you are spending your life dodging happiness, sidestepping excitement and magic in order to “protect” yourself from something that may or may not happen. Why choose that as a way to live? 

3- Life is short. It doesn’t feel that way when you’re waiting for a bus or in a bad place but 2018- despite all it’s terribleness- has gone by so quickly. As we age time seems to accelerate, or maybe we just fill it with more and more (much of which is just tending responsibilities and less exciting) so try to grab hold of what’s good when it’s there. When it’s fresh and tangible.

4- Because when you’re 80 you aren’t going to look back on your life and wish you’d enjoyed the good times less. 

So when I texted one of my best friends this week asking if it was wrong of me to be so excited right now when there are still so many What-If’s he replied, “No, we get so little of it. Take it and set it on fire”. And I hope you will take yours and do the same, without guilt, without reluctance.

Image result for woman hand hold lit match


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