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History of Victorian Clothing

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Pre-hoop 1840-1855
/ Hoop 1856-1869  / Early Bustle 1869-1876
Natural Form 1877-1882
/ Late Bustle 1883-1889 Edwardian

In 1890, the bustle disapeared again, this time for good. The skirts became slim in front and still very full behind, but without poufs or lift. Sleeves began to expand slowly.  Bodices became either short at the hip, or long as a jacket.

During this decade, the focus switched slowly from the skirt to the bodice.  As the skirts became ever plainer, the bodices exploded with layers and frills.

At right - 1891 evening dress.

By 1892, the shoulder and skirts begin to expand. Frills and collars widen the shoulder, while hems are padded and held out with layers of petticoats.

Sleeves are stuffed and boned, and various means are created to hold a good shape.  Below the elbow, the sleeve remains fitted.  The 3/4 length sleeve virtually disapears.

At right - 1893 Worth evening dress.

At left - 1894 Day Dress

Tailors begin to specialize in ladies clothing and a new style is created, the Tailor-Made.  These suits were often plain, with jacket bodices.  They were perfectly to suited to the new professional woman, or for handling business  transactions in town.

At left - 1894 tailor-made suit.

By 1896, the skirts had reached their widest limit, as did the sleeves.  Many skirts were wider at the hem than hoop skirts of old, up to 6 yards around.

At right - 1896 evening dress.

Often, fullness was added to the bodice at the bust. Tight lacing corsets were needed to achieve the fashionably small waist.

In 1897, sleeves lost the fullness at the elbow, retaining a puff at theshoulder.  In 1898, the shape of the skirt changed.  the new disigns were closer fitted at the hips, flairing slightly at the knee to the hem.

By 1899, the sleeevs had slimmed considerably. The corset shape had changed to the "S" curve, giving beginings of the full breasted, pigeon look of the Edwardian period.

At left - 1897 fashion plate.

At right - 1898 day dress.

Below - 1899 fashion plate.