Living historians create their dresses as authentic as possible but after a while the dress seems to become rather blah from wear. I wonder if women from that time had the same issues especially given their limited clothing supply. What would they do to revive an old style or change the look? Just like ladies today they added accessories. One accessory that was popular was the pelerine or a woman's short narrow cape with long pointed ends that met at the front. It could be worn for extra warmth on a cool evening or embellished to add decoration to a gown. From my research, most pelerines of high fashion were worn from 1830-1850's. In the 1860s and 1870s, some women continued to wear capes and pelerines but these seem to be mostly older women who, just like women of today, had developed a style they liked and they were sticking to it.
I did not think that the pelerine went much past the 1860's until I saw this original black velvet pelerine from the 1890s. The dating comes from the lace with which it is decorated indicating the 1890's. This was a piece from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
So if you need to update your dress, consider adding a cape, fishu or shawl.
Other versions of perelines and fishus for changing the look of a dress.
Frontier Women's Living History Assn.