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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Victorian women’s fashion

Let’s talk a little about Victorian women’s fashion and review some contemporary terms related to the subject. Attempting not go deeply into historical uses, in this brief article I intent to give an introduction to the terms “Victoriana,” “Neo-Victorianism,” “Steampunk”, “Gothic fashion,” and “Lolita fashion” and provide some illustrations.

I personally look back on the Victorian era with wistful nostalgia. While dreaming of that time, I imagine a romantic world of rich balls, ladies in lacy ruffled dresses and swell hats, and cottages with old-fashioned flowers. But this is all lyrics. Let’s get closer to a brief study of the subject itself. The source I primarily used was Wikipedia.

Victorian fashion comprises the various fashions and trends in British culture throughout the Victorian era (the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901).

When I think about the garments worn in those times, the first to come to my mind are long gowns, corsets, crinoline, sheer shawls, capes, fancy hats, and opera-length gloves.

Corsets highlighted a woman's tiny waist, exaggerating bust, and amplifying hips. Day dresses had wide pagoda sleeves and high necklines with lace or tattered collars. Evening dresses had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves or fingerless lace or crocheted mitts. Tea gowns, characterized by unstructured lines, light fabrics, and frothy or feminine detail were introduced for informal entertainment at home.

In the 1880s, riding costumes had a very special place in the Victorian fashion. They consisted of matching jacket and skirt without a bustle, a high-collared shirt or chemisette, and a top hat with a veil.

In the 1890s, women's fashion became simpler and less extravagant. Crinoline, replaced by bustles later, as well as bustles, disappeared. Corsets were still used, but dresses were not as tight as before. Trumpet shape skirts, fitting closely over the hip and flaring just above the knee, high necks and puffed sleeves became popular.

Neo-Victorian is “an aesthetic movement, which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies.”

Steampunk is a contemporary cultural trend during the 1980s and early 1990s. This may be described as Neo-Victorianism. Steampunk borrows fashion trends from the Victorian, Wilhelminean and Edwardean Aeras. Typically, this may include gowns, corsets, petticoats and bustles, and also suits with vests, coats and spats. Peculiar are military-inspired garments, accented with a mixture of technological accessories, such as: timepieces, parasols, goggles and ray guns. Steampunk characteristic in fashion is also Victorian-style clothing that has tattered, distorted edges.

Another example of Victorian fashion incorporated into contemporary style is the Gothic and Lolita Fashion.



SocksAndMittens said...

Great article, thank you so much, Laura, for sharing with us!

daimblond said...

gorgeous post!
thank you, Lora!

IrinaN said...

Great article! Thank you :)

Piya said...

I have read your article such a nice post...thanks for sharing this with us all

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GalaFilc said...

Nice victorian items!

Fine said...

Very interesting article!
Thank you for including my Victorian monogram!

Unknown said...

Nice post !! Thanks for sharing with us.

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