Victorian Era


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The Political Lady by James Tissot

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 Please click on the photos below to see more from the period within the Victorian era that interest you. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to email me. No question is silly or insignificant. Please do ask about whatever is on your mind whether it be about a custom order or just curiosity. I would love to help with anything you might wonder about.


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Early Victorian 1837 - 1956 &
Crinoline 1856 - 1869

In the early years the skirts were supported with petticoats made of stiff fabrics with a weft horse-hair and a warp of cotton or linen thread, stiffened with cords, braids, whalebone, and cane. Bodices had slightly longer waist than normal and many times decorated in a "V" shape with wider shoulders to accentuate the waist.

In 1858, the steel cage crinoline was invented and the round skirts reached new widths. The "V"  trim on bodices was pulled up and had a slight point further up than in the previous period, and the Pagoda sleeve was very popular. Late in this period the hoop became elliptical in shape.



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  Early Bustle 1870 - 1876

The hoop was replaced by the bustle. Dresses had a straighter front and fuller backs. Belted overskirts would cover the lower half of the bodice often decorated with big bows at the small of the back. In the later years bodices became longer and the polonaise were born. Trained dresses were popular. Underskirts were usually completely covered with trims. Off the shoulder evening bodices trimmed along the neck line and small poufy sleeves trimmed with laces, flowers and bows.


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  Natural Form 1877 - 1882

A tall and slim figure was considered fashionable. The bustle is more or less gone, only a pad or nothing at all were used. Skirts had ties to pull the skirts tight against the front for a slim look while the back were free flowing, either floor length or in a train which were very popular even on walking gowns. The skirts were heavily decorated with pleats, drapes, and swags. In the later period the detached overskirt vanished and the decor were added directly onto the foundation/"underskirt". The bodice becomes longer and tight fitting around the hips. They were usually less decorated than the skirts.


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  Late Bustle 1883 - 1889 &
Belle Epoch 1890 - 1901

The bustle is back! The front and sides of the skirts are still slim while the back is larger than ever. The bodice crept back up to above the hips. Evening bodices for the most part have no sleeves and sitting on top of shoulders. Skirts were elaborately decorated with beadwork, complicated drapes, embroideries and braids.
In 1890 the bustle disappeared for good. Skirts still slim in front and full in back but without the lift. The bodice became the focus with lots of frills and huge sleeves. Mid period the skirts and sleeves reach its peak size, and at the end of the 1890's the sleeves slimmed down and the skirts hugged the hips often flaring towards the hem.

pantyclaus.jpg (126122 bytes)   Saloon Girls/Dance Hall Girls/Burlesque

Saloon girls or Dance Hall girls wore brightly colored ruffled skirts that were scandalously short for the time; mid-shin or knee-length. Colorful petticoats often trimmed with tassels would be seen under their bell shaped skirts. More often than not, their arms and shoulders were bare, their bodices cut low over their bosoms, and their dresses decorated with sequins and fringe. Silk, lace, or net stockings were held up by garters, which were often gifts from their admirers.

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Last modified:  04/18/09