I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am seeing a burbling new trend in the historical costuming community. We are alllll about trends, and I see it every time a new book is published (Tudor Tailor, Modern Maker, and Patterns of Fashion, I’m looking at you), as well as smaller trends on a more local level, when the local fancy person debuts their new bycocket or fabulous cotehardie, suddenly everyone is making and wearing that hat/dress!   

Saint Helena Bringing the True Cross by Agnolo Gaddi, approx 1380-90, wearing a very fab bycocket/crown/wimple combo.

And that is so amazingly fantastic, I LOVE the instant sense of community and belonging that creates, as folks gather together at events to show off their newest purchase/creation, take lots of group selfies together, and enthusiastically cheer each other on with their sewing progress!  SO GOOD!  Yes please, more of that! 

The new trend I’ve noticed isn’t the sort that you’ll see at events however – it’s instead popping up online and in the casual modern lives of costumers, as seen in their latest outfit-of-the-day post on Instagram, or at costume gatherings like Costume College or the Jamestown Conference.  Slowly I am seeing more folks interested in wearing historical clothing or at least historically inspired outfits in modern, everyday life. 

A large part of the surge of interest in the past couple months is likely due to Zack of Pinsent Tailoring’s video with BBC – he dresses in historical clothing of his own make everyday, and is all around amazingly inspiring. That said, this isn’t a particularly new idea; after all, dressing up in a vintage/retro fashion is a fairly commonly seen phenomenon. This is just stretching the ‘vintage’ back a few centuries.

Bernadette Banner did a video on a similar idea, taking a historical pattern and adapting it to modern use.

I absolutely love this.

I want 1000% more of this “Dressing Historically in Modern Everyday Life” thing to happen, but that’s a bit of a verbose way to refer to this grand new fashion trend, isn’t it? A bit of a mouthful, I think. I have been brainstorming on what to call this –

Medieval-Modern? Ren-Chic? No, it shouldn’t be time period specific.

Historical-Modern? Everyday-Antique? Historically-Inspired? Old Fashion? Hmmm, not bad, all serviceable options, but nothing is striking me as quite right yet.

I asked my partner if he had any thoughts and he immediately suggested “Historybounding”. Like Disneybounding: for when you can’t actually wear the whole princess cosplay, but it’s ok to wear a modern outfit heavily inspired by that character. That sounds perfect to me! This doesn’t exactly apply for anyone who, like Zack, wants to wear their fully historical, head to toe outfits, but for anyone trying to balance their love for older fashions with the needs of their modern life, I think it’s about perfect. After a bit of internet searching, I found that great minds think alike: I found 31 hits for the tag #historybounding on Instagram, including this absolutely darling example by montegue42:

SO SO SO CUTE!! (Remember that Jamestown Conference thing I mentioned at the beginning? It’s her!)

My mind has been buzzing with all sorts of thoughts on how to implement HistoryBounding for the past several weeks, I have so many ideas! Now it seems like every painting and illumination I look at, I’m suddenly analyzing the outfits and picturing how to adapt them for modern wear! I have been drawing some of my ideas down, and I’ve noticed a common trend: shorten the skirts, shorten the sleeves, downsize the headwear, and suddenly you are 90% there.

My tiny brainstorming outfit fairies.

I’d love to spend more time breaking down how to translate full historical outfits into modern HistoryBounding daywear, but I think I’ll have to save that for another post. Are you a historybounder? I’d love to see your outfit if you have a picture to share! Maybe I could try making a gallery of everyone’s looks, to serve as inspiration for the rest of us? How about this: tag your Instagram with #historybounding and mention me (so I know it’s ok for me to share your image), and I’ll see if I can get a gallery started below.

UPDATE: Oh my goodness, I have had such a strong response to this post! So many people who have been historybounding for years but had no name for their outfits have popped up and I am so excited to ‘meet’ you all! Several people have shared their bounding outfit pictures, and now I can share them with you!


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What a great name to a budding trend! #historybounding ! See the post and blog by @morgandonner for details. Something I have already been doing occasionally- either dressing historically whenever I fancied it, or making garments influenced by historical fashion- as pictured here, a corduroy outfit based in 1890s fashions- a reversible Ripple jacket and a shorter skirt/ trousers, some 6 years ago. I think it is delightful that more folks decide to wear what they want, freely expressing their personality- and even better if they make the items them self / commission them. There is really so much ‘all the Same, sweatshop produced crap in the shops- let us be different! I also find that I tend to reuse the leftover silks/ cottons and wools for more modern pieces too- so good for the environment too. In a way a bit like the original idea of steampunk- just before the mainstream caught up and flooded the market with cheap plastic corsets and cogs on everything… I have a few pieces planned for ‘modernised version’ for the next few months- so excited to see that other folks are onto it too! who else is history bounding? #priorattire #belleepoque #trend #historicallyinspired #beyourself #slowfashion #costumersforclimateaction

A post shared by Izabela Pitcher (@izabelapriorattire) on

I LOVE all the #historybounding images everyone has been sharing! It’s so great to see the historical costuming community taking their accessories and attire out of the closet and considering ways to include more pieces in their everyday wardrobe! It’s a great way for these carefully made items to get bit more time in the sun to be loved and appreciated.

I am still adding images to the gallery, just tag your images with #HISTORYBOUNDING and @MorganDonner, and I should be able to find them!

13 thought on “HistoryBounding”

  1. Jacqui says:

    I’ve apparently been a history bounder even before I knew a name for it. I wear a lot of medieval and Victorian inspired outfits (having a generally gothic aesthetic will do that to a person), and incorporate my historical sewing into my normal wardrobe. My favourite historical piece that I regularly wear to work is a dark grey wool hood with red linen lining and dagged edges. Working in costume and theatre does let me get away with a more ecentric fashion style though.

    Also, for a couple of years, I did a series of drawings I called “A Dress A Day”. The challenge was to sketch a new outfit design every day (not necessarily a dress, but I like alliteration when naming things). Some days were a super simple drawing, and some were very complex designs with scrawled notes about how it could be made. A lot of my drawings ended up being modern outfits strongly inspired by history, and many of those could easily work for everyday clothes.

  2. Sarah says:

    I absolutely love this. I honestly didn’t know history bounding wasn’t officially a thing yet. I’m rather new to historical costuming and to watching the community but my goal has been to incorporate it into everyday life from the get go, figuring most people probably do that to an extent anyway, but also a lot of people I follow are usually into older periods as well as vintage, so they dress the part either inspired by vintage and/or older. Sometimes by chance, sometimes by not. It probably doesn’t help that I was a bit of a strange kid and have had different interests in things like aristocratic goth, Lolita, and other heavily historically inspired fashions so it’s not something that is out of no where for me and very possible to do. I love the idea of historybounding and calling it that!

    Again, I’m pretty new (and admittedly have never seen a single garment and are probably in over my head), so I plan to start with just some skirts (sewing most likely Edwardian or Victorian inspired skirts) and blouses. But I am 100% behind this.

    Also! There’s also a vintage YouTuber that did a video on dressing Edwardian period, and said a bit about combining modern and that which was really neat. It’s more from a non-seamstress perspective and those that just want to dress I believe though, so it’s more of stuff you can buy and do to give the impression/look.

    Again 100% behind this and hope to see more of this in the community.

    1. Sarah says:

      Sewn a single garment*

  3. Christina Kinsey says:

    I like the idea of this, I find the 1890s an inspiration but l am also drawn to some 16th century styles too, but am scared off by the stiff corsets and hooped skirts. So I have been thinking about a modernised version, taking out the hoops, boning etc and reshaping the cut of the bodice. Lighter fabrics too may be an option but keep the skirt long as it’s what I am used to. The thought of such a dress in a crazy print could be something

  4. Please, could you do a You Tube on how you did hair at the top of this page? It suits you perfectly.

    1. Morgan Donner says:

      I actually have a story tutorial on my Instagram profile for this exact style! https://www.instagram.com/morgandonner/ Click on the link that says “Work Hair”

  5. Michelle says:

    Ever since I first watched your kirtle drafting tutorial video(s) I’ve had in mind that I want to make a modern dress based on those instructions. I even have some lovely cotton/linen blend fabric to do it with that I got for a fabulous price online a few months ago. Just haven’t had time to do the drafting and haven’t quite figured out how I want to manage the closure in a more modern fashion. Will be certain to tag you and credit your tutorial when I finally do get it done though :) Keep up the great work and look forward to seeing where you go with this trend :)

  6. Jeanette says:

    Love this. I have plans to make/adapt some capes for everyday wear and would love to make a slightly shortened tee-tunic for myself (more fitting and full than a period men’s one) as the cut is so flattering. I’ve been feeling a bit self-conscious about the idea, but this has given me a boost to go for it!

  7. Ann Ware says:

    Hi Morgan, I love History Bounding! I would like to ask you if we can reproduce your article for the Costumers Guild West newsletter, Squeals. Are you willing to do this?

  8. Kathy Martinez says:

    Hi Morgan,
    I am 70 years old and have admired historical dress for the past 30 years and have never done anything about it. I am so please with the rate of interest in historical dress has taken! I am a sewer, but have never attempted anything really historical. Basically, I am a coward. That being said, I was wondering about Snoods. Could you do a youtube thing about snoods? Making , wearing, history of, what era would they be worn that type of thing? Love everything you do and maybe someday I will have the courage to actually make something. I have pictures all over my walls of favorite styles, but never acted on it.
    I also like the term History Bounding!

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