ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Victorian Costume - Online Resources

Updated on February 20, 2012

Fashion of the Late 1830s

The Victorian Era was named for Queen Victoria, who was queen of the British Empire from June of 1837 through January of 1901. Fashion of the era began with an hourglass silhouette and large puffed sleeves. The era ended with the silhouette of a mature woman, full low bust and curvy hips, being the fashionable silhouette.

In this modern era we see the rise of what is termed Neo-Victorian, which is actually a blending of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  Time having given these periods of history a rosy glow people look back and think of a more intimately social time.  A time when technology did not distance us from one another.

This Neo-Victorian fashion can cause confusion as to what is actually Victorian fashion and what is a modern reinterpretation.

Fashion of the Early 1900s

 As Queen Victoria's reign moved from the late 1830s to the early 1840s the wide sleeves that were popular before her reign gave way to a more natural shoulder line.  As can be seen in the pictues to the right.  As the 1940s progressed the sleeve detailing also dropped from the elbows down to the wrists.  The waist also dropped and was pointed giving a more elongated appearance.  And, with the aid of a new method of attaching the skirts to the bodice, skirts became less conical and more bell shaped.

Sleeves were not the only thing to loose their wide appearance.  Hairstyle began to be worn closer to the head.  Bonnets too were smaller and less decorated.

Fashion of the Early 1940s

Fashion of the Late 1940s

 As the 1840s moved into the 1850s the bell shaped skirt began to widen with the use of flounces.  This can be seen in the picture to the right.  By the late 1850s the steel cage crinoline was used to expand the skirt still further and the flounces where dropped.

Jacketed bodices were introduced.  However, evening wear was still off the shoulder.  It was also very low necked.

Hairstyles remained simple.  Although the sides began to be worn puffed out over the ears in imitation of the styles of the early 17th century.

This decade also saw the introduction of the bloomer suit.  But this style was an object of ridicule and had little impact on mainstream fashions.

Fashion of the Early 1850s

Fashion of the Late 1850s

 In the 1860s women's skirts reached their widest point.  The 1860s also say a change in the sillohouette of the skirt.  No longer was it bell shaped.  Instead it became flatter in the front with more width behind.

Daytime looks remained demure with high necklines and collars.  The sleeves were wide pagoda sleeves at the begining of the decade but narrowed as the decade progressed.  In the evening necklines remained low and the sleeves were short and worn with gloves.  Skirts began to be looped up to reveal underskirts in matching or contrasting colors.

Hairstyles remained parted in the middle and wide over the ears.  The hair was also pinned up at the back of the neck.  Bonnets of the decade also saw more elaborate trimmings.

In response to the elaborate decorations then in fashion an anti movement sprung up, Artistic dress.  This movement was more medieval in style featuring long tight sleeves with a puff at the top, narrow skirts and only simple decoration.

Fashion of the Early 1860s

Fashion of the Late 1860s

In the 1870s the flattening of the skirt and the movement of fabric to the back evolved completely into the bustle. This fullness too eventually flattened into a more tight fitting silhouette. The bodice became more long waisted reaching below the hips. Sleeves were tight.  Daytime dress retained their high necklines.  While evening dresses remained low cut.  A velvet ribbon around the neck was added as ornamentation--the precurser to the modern choker necklace.

The artistic dress of the previous decade gave rise to tea dresses used for informal entertaining in the home.

Hairstyles were now pulled back at the sides and worn in a topknot.  The bonnets were smaller to accomidate the hairstyles.

Fashions of the Early 1970s

Fashions of the Late 1870s

The 1880s saw the bustle returned after its brief departure at the end of the 1870s. It was balanced by a full low bosom. This created an s shaped silhouette. The looped up skirt over matching or contrasting underskirt remained popular. Jacket-like bodices remained long.

Evening dresses retained their low necklines. They were worn sleeveless with gloves. Tea dresses continued to gain popularity. And the artistic dress was still seen as the anti-movement in fashion.

Hair remained pulled back but was worn in a low knot or cluster of ringlets. As in the previous decade bonnets resembled hats.

Fashions of the Early 1880s

 The 1890s saw the rise of a more natural silhouette.  Instead of bustles, the tight bodices were matched with skirts gathered at the waist and falling gently over hips and undergarmets.  The skirt began to be more A-line in shape.  By the end of the decade skirts were more trumpet-like in shape.  Fitting closely then flaring out at the knee.

Leg o'mutton sleeves were introduced (large puffed sleeves) but they disappeared by 1896.  By the late 1890s sleeves were again worn tight.

Sportswear for women was introduced.  Moreover, tea gowns began being worn outside the home.

Fashions of the Late 1880s

 As Queen Victoria's reign came to an end and the Edwardian era began the hourglass shape was the popular silhouette.  Hair was still worn pulled up.  And the Artistic dress movement saw the rise of lingerie dresses--frothy day dresses of linen or cotton.

Fashions of the Early 1890s

Fashions of the Late 1890s

So, now that you have some concept of true Victorian costume versus Neo-Victorian here are some links for costumes that might interest you:


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good hub.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      great hub, thank you. It all looks pretty uncomfortable, though, glad I don't have to wear it (-:

    • Joy M profile imageAUTHOR

      Joy M 

      9 years ago from Sumner, Washington

      I always thought the dresses were particularly elegant.

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 

      9 years ago from Oregon

      I love Victorian era dresses! I have made several myself and enjoyed looking at these pictures for ideas. Thanks for writing about this! :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)