Victorian Era Women's Fashions
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 Women's Dresses and Blouses
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.
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 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 Hosiery and Stockings
Victorian Women's Lingerie
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
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
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 1890’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 “S” 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