WOMAN’S FASHION IN THE LATE 1800s

Esta postagem foi escrita por nossa escritora convidada: Sara Sheikh from Covered Bliss, founded in 2013. Sara is a professional engineer and loves to design and embraces modesty in everyday life.

If you want to be a guest writer for MeLikesTea’s Blog send an e-mail to [email protected] including your social media and post idea/preview.


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From the early onset of the Victorian era, the world saw many changes and flourished from a rural wasteland to urban hubs of progress. Amongst the many things that changed and took on an air of brilliance, art and fashion were the most prominent. The tall and aristocratic poufs flattened out into more subtle and less dramatic hairdos. Clothing became cheaper as more fabrics were discovered and new ways of obtaining them were learned. The Maxi skirts lost some of their paddings to allow the women to have more active lifestyles, and narrower skirts were becoming the norm.

Below we have looked at each decade from 1850 onwards and comment on the changes that every 10 years brought on:

The 1850s:

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Crinoline petticoats came to the scene, allowing skirts to swell to their maximum. It might seem very uncomfortable to us, but to woman back then found it as a relief from the plethora of undergarments they’d otherwise have to suffer in all day. It did make sitting down quite uncomfortable, but it was still seen as a blessing as it brought about ease in mobility and increased the tasks women could now do. The hoop was bell-shaped and the dresses were “modest”. Hair was parted down the center and swept back into buns. Overcoats were used as outer garments but quickly became extinct.

The 1860s:

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The round shape of the hoops progressed into a more oval shape as more active lifestyles were adopted. Tight bodices became more popular, and the emphasis on the rear of the dresses started off towards the mid of this decade. Middle parting for hair was still popular, although the buns evolved into more refined and royal chignons. Sleeves became narrower at the wrists but kept their flare at the elbow. Shawls became popular and stayed widespread for the next few decades.

The 1870s:

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The transition of skirt volume from the front to back that started in the 1860s now completed. the back of the dress had bustles and a long train. An abundance of fabric was allowed to accumulate at the back to further this illusion of a blossoming rear. The waistline traveled further down, and the shoulders returned to where they were meant to be at. The skin was now starting to become part of the charm and sleeves and neckline both changed in ways to accommodate this trend. Hair was now adorned with ribbons and ornaments and tied near the top of the head as opposed to the previous hairstyles that left them at the nape of the neck.

The 1880s:

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Towards the end of the previous decade, the bustle had lost popularity. But the start of this decade, it made a reappearance, but with significant changes. It was now worn lower than before and covered with heavier fabric over it. The delicate tones of the previous decades were replaced with darker and deeper tones like wine red and bottle green. The hoops used were stiffer now although narrower. Bows and embellishments were added to the bustle to further its prominence. Sleeves became narrower and necklines rose back up to create an air of reticence. Hair moved further up the head and buns turned into tight curls. Hats shrank to suit the hairdos.

The 1890s:

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One major change that came in this decade as the shape of the sleeves. They transformed from the narrow shape that they had maintained through the previous decades, into a more puffy form. They were still narrow at the lower arm, but wide at the top, an absurd width, in the opinion of many, as they started to resemble the shape of a leg of mutton. Necklines became bolder, ditching the high collar look they had managed to stick to in the past. A touch of masculinity also got incorporated into the styles of this century, with a lot of women seen in shirt collar dresses with ties while doing outdoor activities. Bodices were altered in a way that the front of the dress seemed “fuller”, and the birth of a trend that was to gain popularity in the 20th century (monobosom or pigeon-breasts) was witnessed. Hairstyles didn’t see much modification and stayed in curls on top of the head. Hats got a trimming but were still small as they had been before.

The 1900s left behind a lot of the trends of the 1800s, taking on its own air and bringing about trends that marked the dawn of the end of the Victorian era.


Esta postagem foi escrita por nossa escritora convidada: Sara Sheikh from Covered Bliss, founded in 2013. Sara is a professional engineer and loves to design and embraces modesty in everyday life.

If you want to be a guest writer for MeLikesTea’s Blog send an e-mail to [email protected] including your social media and post idea/preview.

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