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Victorian Era Women's Fashions

Updated on September 16, 2013

Women's Fashion was Very Trendy During the 19th Century Victorian Era

Victorian fashions are comprised of the various fashion and trends in British culture that emerged and were produced throughout the reign of Queen Victoria, otherwise known as the Victorian era. Her reign and this era were from June 1837 to January 1901. Covering nearly two thirds of the 19th century, there would be many changes in fashion during these 63 years of the 19th century. Other than fashion, these changes were also noted in architecture, literature, and the decorative or visual arts.

This website primarily covers fashion changes in women's clothing for the 1880's to 1900s, although there is information included for other decades during the Victorian era.

The intro photo of a woman in a corset and illustrations in this website are from mail order catalogs in the 1800's and all of these images are in the author's personal collection. Any images 1923 or prior are in the Public Domain.

This is Why I Love Old Catalogs!

I grew up in a time where there were plenty of catalogs lying around the house. Mostly, Sears and JC Penney were the common ones but we had a few others. These were a great source of entertainment for the whole family. Little boys could see the new toys, little girls could dream of their ideal wedding dress, Dad could find that favorite tool and Mom could either dream about upgrading her appliances or trying a new fashion. Our neighbor, believe it or not, still had an outhouse and you could always find a catalog laying in there. In later years, people read the catalogs just like we have reading material in bathrooms today. In the older days, there was no toilet paper and the pages were ripped out as needed. These old catalog depictions in this site, depict times when none of us were around. You can browse through these photos wondering how you would look in these clothes or imagine how uncomfortable the people that actually wore them were! I hope you enjoy this and leave me TONS of comments.

Thank you for visiting.

A Huge Compilation of more Victorian Fashions

Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 (Dover Fashion and Costumes)
Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 (Dover Fashion and Costumes)

If you love Victorian fashion, you will love this compilation of designs from the mid to late 1800's.

This book not only shows the fashion, but gives detailed explanations on why they were designed the way they were.

a fascinating glimpse at this period of time.

 

Victorian Women's Dresses and Blouses

WOMEN'S DRESSES
WOMEN'S DRESSES
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S DRESSES
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S DRESSES
benjamin franklin
benjamin franklin

Benjamin Franklin - The Father of Mail Order

Benjamin Franklin has been attributed to many inventions and things that we use daily but did you know that he actually invented "mail order?"

Franklin invented the first catalog, which sold educational and scientific books. With his books, he also developed the first guarantee known to mail order. He said that the purchaser would be guaranteed a product by mail, that would be as good as if Franklin were there to give it to you himself!

It wasn't until over 100 years later that others, such as Aaron Montgomery ward developed the catalogues that we see today.

With his invention, Franklin can be credited with the hundreds of $billions that are purchased today using catalogues and mail order through online merchants. More importantly, his meager mail order catalog has resulted in a growth today, of almost 11 million jobs that are related to advertising for mail order business.

Creative Commons Photo Credit

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S BLOUSES
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S BLOUSES

Women's Jewelry in the Victorian Era

Although clothing was more complex and decorative, women tended to minimize jewelry in the 1800's. To compliment clothing, feminine necklaces and jeweled hair combs were worn. Their inspiration was from Greek styles.

Victorian Women's Nightgowns

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S NIGHTGOWNS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S NIGHTGOWNS

Victorian Women's Aprons

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S APRONS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S APRONS

You Don't Need to be on the Gold Standard to Buy from Amazon

Check out Amazon's fantastic Victorian era items!

Victorian Women's Coats

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S COATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S COATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S COATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S COATS

Victorian Women's Hosiery and Stockings

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HOSIERY & STOCKINGS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HOSIERY & STOCKINGS

Victorian Women's Lingerie

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR

Myths of the Corset

From the 1800's to early 1900's, the majority of women in Europe and in North America wore coresets. Even though they were worn, the tightness of them was not as legendary as is believed in popular culture. There really wasn't a common 17 inch waist and most were sold to women that wanted waist sizes from 18 to around 30 inches. However, most were not skinny-minnies and corsets did go up to 42 inches. Another popular myth is that numerous health issues occurred. This was not true.

Victorian Corsets and Foundations

VICTORIAN CORSETS AND FOUNDATIONS
VICTORIAN CORSETS AND FOUNDATIONS
VICTORIAN CORSETS AND FOUNDATIONS
VICTORIAN CORSETS AND FOUNDATIONS

Sewing Machines and Victorian Fashion

Sewing machines were not invented until the middle of the 19th century and this simplified dressmaking, especially for those who wanted to make them at home. The addition of much trim in that era was due to the fact that is was much easier to do with a machine. The production of lace was also increased and could be done much less costly. Therefore, the Victorian Era produced clothing designs that were simplified in earlier eras.

Victorian Trouseau and Bridal Sets

VICTORIAN TROUSEAU AND BRIDAL SETS
VICTORIAN TROUSEAU AND BRIDAL SETS

This was New Clothing?

The Victorian Era was a Boon to clothing designers. New fashions emerged that were inspired by other areas in the British Empire. New clothing boots, which contained rubber and synthetic dyes were discovered and produced, replacing the dull colors that were colored with vegetable and animals dyes.

The Gay 90's

The late Victorian decade of the 1890ā€™s showed a simplification of clothing including less use of crinoline & bustles. Clothing was not as tight as in previous decades. The corset was still used but it was longer & gave women an ā€œSā€ curve silhouette. The skirts trumpeted & fitted close to the hip, giving a wasp-waist illusion & flared out above the knees. High necks & puffed-out sleeves were becoming popular & sportswear dresses for bicycling, tennis & more flatter

Victorian Beauty Aids

VICTORIAN BEAUTY AIDS
VICTORIAN BEAUTY AIDS

Victorian Women's Hats

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HATS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S HATS

Victorian Women's Bathing Suits

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S BATHING SUITS
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S BATHING SUITS

Victorian Women's Wigs and Hair Pieces

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S WIGS AND HAIR PIECES
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S WIGS AND HAIR PIECES

Victorian Women's Shoes

VICTORIAN WOMEN'S SHOES
VICTORIAN WOMEN'S SHOES

Dewey's Invisible Dress Elevator

DEWEY'S INVISIBLE DRESS ELEVATOR
DEWEY'S INVISIBLE DRESS ELEVATOR

Do You Like Victorian Fashions or Did You Like This Website?

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    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 3 years ago

      Interesting lens. Glad I wasn't a woman back then.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Aunt-Mollie: That is a good point...and you know that they had issues with body odor, especially with all those clothes. I see those old westerns and think that they don't have to look for him coming, they can smell him. ha! Thanks for the visit.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      I love this dresses. But, I never understood how they took care of clothing like this without dry cleaning!

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Board-Game-Brooke: Thank you for visiting!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 4 years ago from US/TN

      I love the Victorian look, shoes especially.

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 4 years ago

      Wonderful write up about Victorian fashions.

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      I really like the prices! The bustle looks like a great storage device. Oh, for the Victorian times.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Ardyn25: Thank you for the visits. I like them very much also!

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      I'm so glad I wondered over, I love old catalogs and the Victorian Fashions.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I have been here so many times before and am still drawn to visit again. This time I can leave blessings, which are truly due.

    • Diva2Mom profile image

      Diva2Mom 5 years ago

      I love, love this lens ! I am also fascinated with the great sophistication and elegance of the Victorian Fashion. It's so classic, and there's something unique about it when it comes to making women stand out in the sense of Femininity and grace, which I truly like and appreciate so much. I would love to go back to this generation and be able to experience the pleasure of wearing these Victorian Fashions and feminine clothing and accessories. SO BEAUTIFUL, and REAL CLASSY. Fabulous lens! God bless.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @georgeac lm: Thank you for the compliment and visit!

    • georgeac lm profile image

      georgeac lm 5 years ago

      Well well written lens, great work.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @Hypersapien2: I love looking at old images like these! Thanks for the visit!

    • Hypersapien2 profile image

      Hypersapien2 5 years ago from U.S.

      The fashions during that period look very interesting.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @esvoytko lm: Thanks for the visit!

    • esvoytko lm profile image

      esvoytko lm 5 years ago

      These images are great!

    • profile image

      leonasharon 5 years ago

      yes loved it.Thanks for sharing your knowledge

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anonymous: I love old catalogs and the prices in them. It is interesting to see what things were worth then...but also, the pay was much less in contrast.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wonderful Victorian fashions. Hard to believe the prices of the items you have depicted here.

    • tvyps profile image
      Author

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      @anilsaini: Thanks for the visit!

    • profile image

      anilsaini 5 years ago

      wow!!! you have done a good research...thanks for providing here

    • McBub-Squidoo profile image

      McBub-Squidoo 5 years ago

      Thanks for let me know Benjamin Franklin is the father of mail order.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the Victorian Trouseau and Bridal Sets!

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 5 years ago

      Great lens. Victorian fashion is so classy.

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 5 years ago

      I like looking at the fashions but would find them very restrictive to wear.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I think that I was born in the wrong era. I love Victorian fashions: the dresses, lace, lace, and more lace and the hats!! beautiful!! Except for the bustle .. I never did think that was a great design. This gets an angel blessing and wish I could give it more. Ah-ha just maybe ... it will be a surprise.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I love Victorian fashions and love this website. I have been here before, but had to sneak another look at the exquisite detail. I especially marvel at the attention that went into undergarments and sleepwear - just devine. Blessings.

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

      I really love old fashioned clothing, neat images and information!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Well-researched and beautifully-presented lens!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 5 years ago

      I was letting you know that I have featured this page on my: The Victorian Era lens. This is a beautifully done page so of course I had to drop off a sprinkle of "Victorian Angel Dust".

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My friend who runs http://www.aslipofagirl.net/ will enjoy this post. You would likely enjoy her site too. She loves vintage lingerie.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Gorgeous examples. Adding more fairy dust. :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I felt like a Victorian lady dreaming of these wonderful fashions for myself and am glad that some pages did survive the outhouse! A delightful presentations of things that dreams were made of, adding a bit more dust here!...*

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      How very different are the fashions of yesteryear. Victorian are indeed unique fashions compared with those of today. I definitely would not need the bustle lol.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Oh and I forgot - sprinkled with angel dust for the high quality!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Really, really great lens. I love the Victorian times, one of my dreams is to spend Christmas in London, enjoying the Dickens Faires there. I learned a lot from this lens. BTW, Thanks for mentioning that the photos are public domain, - I think sometimes lensmasters use photos they should not (innocently usually) and it is good to get a little instruction about it.

    • MrsPotts profile image

      MrsPotts 5 years ago

      This was a really interesting read! I love the old catalog pictures and didn't know the bustle helped support heavy fabrics. I always thought it was just a bad fashion idea. Thank you for creating a fun lens. :-)

    • profile image

      im1337mi 5 years ago

      Super cool, thanks for sharing.

    • Lauriej1 profile image

      Lauriej1 5 years ago

      Great lens! I wish we could get away with some of these fashions today! :)

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens!!!! Blessed!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Just gorgeous. What wonderful information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful lens...........

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      It's always interesting to learn about what people used to wear.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Wonderful page - thanks for sharing!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

      Poor girls. I wonder if they could breathe? but the pictures are awesome and the lens very very nice.

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 5 years ago

      I'll never complain about my clothes being uncomfortable again!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      I didn't like this lens, I loved it! Beautifully done. Angel Blessings**

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      I can't help but wonder how uncomfortable sitting while wearing a bustle must have been.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      I love everything Victorian and these catalog pages from the time are wonderful. *Squid Angel Blessed* and I've added your link to My Squid Angel Wings to be featured in the "Fashion & Beauty » Retro Fashions " neighborhood. In fact you are the first in this category. Well done.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      Wow everything back then was very elaborate and complex. They didn't even have separate underwear! I could imagine it taking a long time just to get dressed and undressed. And it must've been awful on hot summer days. Is there anything about Victorian fashion for men?

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      Ha, fun lens! We can all feel pretty lucky today to sit around in stretch fleece and jeans, I guess.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a wonderful trip to the fashion world of the Victorian women. What a well put together lens. Blessed.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 5 years ago

      I really loved looking at all of the Victorian goodies you have featured here. I think it's kind of funny that the 17" waist is a bit of a myth while most corsets were between 18" - 30"....like 18" would be so much more comfortable than 17"! That bridal gown towards the top of the lens is lovely. Blessed by a Squid Angel today.

    • Lindas11 profile image

      Lindas11 6 years ago

      What Brilliant Lens, packed full of great info. Nice one

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am not a big fan of the Victorian Age Fashion but really liked the way you have put together this Lens. Two Thumbs Up for the great effort!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      Great lens. Blessed on the Squid Angels Epic Back To School Bus Trip Quest. Your lens will be featured on âWing-ing it on Squidoo,â our lensography of some of the best Squidoo has to offer, as soon as the quest has been completed.

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I really enjoyed it! :)

    • dragonsix profile image

      dragonsix 6 years ago

      Wow! What a lens! This is the type of history I like, the way people lived.

    • KANEsUgAr profile image

      KANEsUgAr 6 years ago

      Crazy fashion, those poor women were probably only comfortable while in bed.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Maybe No.31 the gem bustle would go with the steampunk look?

    • profile image

      Beepopalula 6 years ago

      Lovely fashion ! So elegant and beautiful ! Love your lens !

    • puerdycat lm profile image

      puerdycat lm 6 years ago

      Lovely. like-fave-roll to my dress-design-made-simple

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Nice! Lensrolled to my Victorian Era quiz.

    • victorianpassage profile image

      victorianpassage 6 years ago

      Yes and Yes hehe. Loved the lens! I love the old time bathing suits!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Fun, too. I love to look at vintage fashions from different ages. Great job here!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Absolutely amazing. You have done a beautiful job on this trendy fashion of the olden day article. Beautiful and blessed.

    • victorianpassage profile image

      victorianpassage 6 years ago

      Enjoyed all the images you have here! Thanks for sharing them. =)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Boy I am glad I did not grow up in that era...way too much clothing to have to put on!!