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Thursday, November 27, 2014 17:03

Edgar Allan Poe Costume

“Men have called me mad;” Poe wrote, “but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”

Poe is a major role-model and love of mine.  His life was as dark and mysterious as his prose.  And he has the distinction of being one of the few authors in history who is widely recognizable.  Though he lived when photography was new, and few pictures of him exist, even people who have never read his literature recognize his unique, disheveled, gothic dandy appearance.  Poe was extremely impoverished so an ideal costume would be dapper, but shabby and worn.  Unfortunately, though you’re trying to dress poor, this costume is very hard to accomplish on a budget.  Key pieces include a three piece suit in the period style (1809-1849) with a white shirt and a cravat or small scarf around his neck.  I picture him in somber tones likes grays and blacks.


Gentleman’s Emporium webstore is one of your best bets for nineteenth century attire.

Gentleman’s Emporium has dubbed this ensemble, which includes six pieces (I’d skip the hat and pocket watch) that can be purchased as separates, the Kincade Donohue, Esq., Attorney at Law outfit. Tombstone Shirt ($64.95), Pants ($69.95), Coat ($119.50), Vest ($54.95), and Bow Tie ($19.95) comes to $329.30. Add the boots for $115.95.

Highland Frock Coat by Wahmaker from Gentleman’s Emporium for $194.95

Velvet Trimmed Edwardian Morning Coat, Black from Gentleman’s Emporium for $259.95

Another resource for nineteenth century clothing is US Hist webstore:

The Notched Collar Single Breasted Vest from US Hist starts at $119.

The Double Breasted Frock Coat in Black (1830-1850) starts at $389 from US Hist.

Here’s a few more places to try:

Shown is the Suit Coat in Dress Wool (does come in black) from Riverjunction for $239.95.  Riverjunction offers this coat in sets such as a three-piece suit with trousers and a lapel vest for $399.85.

I’d ditch the froufrou neck scarf and accessorize with a simpler cravat. This is the most budget-friendly costume I could find, Mr. Dickens Costume from Costumes 4 Less for $129.95

The Victorian Costume from Costumes of Nashua includes: Full tailored gabardine jacket with velvet collar and buttons, velvet vest & gabardine pants for $329.99.


A gentleman in the comment section points out that this “Handmade Cravat” is machine-sewn from synthetic material, but it should serve for a Poe Costume. From Gentleman’s Emporium for $9

Poe’s Mystic Raven Solid Hardwood Walking Stick from Design Toscano for $34.95

Raven Walking Stick from Gentleman’s Emporium for $44.95

Dapper Mustache in black is made from real human hair from Gentleman’s Emporium for $9.95

It’s very difficult to find men’s wigs online.  If you need a wig (because you have light or too-short hair), I would go to a wig store and have one custom styled with his side-swept, slightly unkempt do.


5 Responses to “Edgar Allan Poe Costume”

  1. barbara says:

    As another huge Poe fan I think this is a brilliant idea. Thanks

  2. Trevor says:

    I’m actually working on making my own Poe costume. So far the pattern I’m planning on using is Simplicity Pattern 2895. Its a Frock coat, vest, and shirt pattern. the pictures on the front look like cowboys, but its in the same 19th century style so it should work. I’ll probably dress it up with a home made cravat, then its just a matter of trimming my goatee off to just the moustache, the only caveat I’m running into is my hair. I wear it far too short for it to work.

  3. admin says:

    That sounds really cool Trevor. I’d love to see a picture when you’re done. Have you considered a wig? I couldn’t find a perfect replica of Poe’s style (which is longish-disheveled) but you could get a long straight wig and gel-style it. If you live near a wig shop, and brought in a picture of Poe, they could probably do that for you. Here’s a men’s wig that comes in black and could probably be styled out to look more like Poe: If you don’t want to wear a wig, what about a hat?

  4. Trevor says:

    A hat could work cause I’m not sure I like the Idea of a Wig. If I were smart I would have waited till after October for the haircut. the good thing being that when its made I can wear it again and again.

  5. Amanda Starr says:

    This year for my husband’s office party he is going as zombie Poe, I’m going as a raven which I will follow behind him saying nevermore and our daughter is going as Pluto the black cat. I think it will be rather fun and amusing. :)

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