Elaborate dresses, lavish balls, a beautiful countryside and images straight from the canvas of the great artists come to my mind when I think about the Victorian era. The Victorian period or the Victorian era can be termed as the period under the reign of Queen Victoria. This period was between the year-1837 to 1901. I am sure many women would love to slip back into time and fulfill their dream of wearing bustle skirts with some fancy feathered hats at some point in their lives! Rich fabrics and genteel women attending fancy dos with cultured men are some of the glimpses of the life back then! Here’s a look at the kind of fashion followed in the Victorian Era. Victorian fashion has many interesting things to note and you can delve into the depths of Victorian fashion, right here!
The term Victorian fashion is generally used only with regard to the United Kingdom. There were certain clothing styles and mannerisms that were observed during this period. In the early period of the Victorian Era, the silhouette for the woman was more of the demure kind. Women wore pointed bodice, which were long and had fitting waists. The bodice was designed to enhance the waist. In the early period, Victorian clothing for women was about restriction of arm movements. Another interesting feature were the detachable collars! The colors used in the early period of the Victorian fashion were soft, pastel shades. Patterns were delicate and fashionable, all designed to maintain the femininity of the woman.
Beehive shaped skirts was another characteristic feature of Victorian fashion. Here, garments were stiffened to give a particular appearance. Crin also known as horsehair, was used for a particular portion of a garment so that it stiffens in that particular area. Crin was used for hem linings and sleeve heads of the dresses.
Although cloth was manufactured in the mills, Victorian clothing in 1837 was generally designed and assembled by tailors and other such specialized people who were into designing clothes and hats. These people catered to only a specific few of the society who could afford this service; others stitched their clothes at home.
Bell shaped skirts also became a rage and these became wider in the 1830s. The bell shape soon became dome shaped. As these skirts became bigger and flared out, they also needed support from the inside. Victorian dresses therefore needed to be worn with a lot of petticoats. The lower portion was also supported by horsehair, which were woven into the pattern for the stiffened look.
The cashmere shawl was also a prominent feature of Victorian fashion. It was particularly noticed in 1840. By then, the shawl was used as wrap over the dresses. Women also wore heavy fabrics such as satins and silks and there was also a time when fabric dictated the status of the person in the society as well.
Slowly these huge ballooned Victorian skirts gave way to the hobble skirts. Hobble skirts brought into fashion narrow skirts, where in knee length corsets were combined with the entire ensemble. Hobble skirts often restricted movement, which is probably why they have been given this name. These slim skirts created a problem for women in the comfort factor yet they gained popularity with time. Today, the slim pencil skirt can still be witnessed in the fashion scenario in many modified ways.
Apart from horsehair, bustles were also used to increase the fullness of the skirts. Bustles were used to make the waist look smaller. Many times, the fullness of the fashion was spread out towards the back and this often fanned out in the shape of a train. Bustles were also seen in different shapes. Sometimes, these also created a hump below the waist area on the backside, which was considered to be a fashion statement in the Victorian era. The bustle therefore, can be considered to be yet another typical feature of Victorian fashion.
Victorian fashion for men was about Norfolk jackets and the sack suits. Men preferred to don themselves in casual attire.
Victorian fashion was thus quite elaborate as far as women’s clothing was concerned. Victorian clothing is still very much popular and the basics have been woven into new modern designs to create contemporary attire!