Clothing in the Victorian era epitomized your personality, profession and how wealthy you were. The Victorian era was the period of Queen Alexandrina Victoria’s rule in Britain, which spanned from 1837s to 1901. Women had to be poise and fully covered. At that time, cloths and shoes were made to measure, but by 1850 ready to wear shoes were available for purchase. It was considered appropriate at that time to dress according to one’s age and status in the society. Throughout this era, fashion was constantly transitioning. From the overly decorated feathery hats to bonnet hats. From straight skirts to ball skirts and then back to straight skirts. From slim sleeves to leg o’ mutton sleeves and the likes. The 1840s and 1850s were categorised by corsets, petticoats, simple realistic flower trimmings, wide puffed sleeves known as leg o’ mutton, and chemises that were worn as undergarments.
Much later in the 1850s the demand for petticoats decreased and crinolines came into demand. Skirts began to increase in size to look more ball-like and evening gowns had lower necklines that were worn with shawls while day dresses had firm bodice. Moving on to the 1860s, the ball-like looking skirts became flatter at the front with only the behind being projected with the help of bustles. Low neck evening gowns had shorter sleeves and were worn with short gloves, fingerless gloves or crocheted mittens. Day dresses, which were known for high necks, had lace or tatted collars with wide pagoda sleeves. By the 1870s dresses were extremely tight around the waistline and upper leg region. Crinolines had been completely replaced by bustles. Women wore small hats towards the front or just perched over the forehead to beautify their bold curly hairstyles.
In the 1880s there were different outfits for various outdoor activities. For hunting, women wore draped ankle length skirts that were worn with boots or gaiters. For riding, women wore high collared shirts with top hats that had veils. While taking walks, long skirts with bustle and long jackets adorned with small hats or bonnets were worn. By the 1890s, crinolines and bustles were extinct. High neck collars with stiff steel boning on long line bodice were sort after at this time. Notable fashion accessories for women in the Victorian era include hand fans, walking sticks, umbrellas, non-recommended eyeglasses, hats, shawls, gloves, boots and so on. In all, the Victorian era played an outstanding role in fashion history because it brought the importance of the corset that had been passed on through the centuries to its pinnacle. I believe the beauty of a dress is enhanced by its cinched in waistline, giving details to the curves and beauty of the female figure, which is the crux of dressmaking.