faith。 (dragonclouds) wrote,

100 years of womenswear


Clothing was simple and classically-inspired. Indian cottons were popular, mostly in pale colours with embroidered or woven detail. Waists were just below the bust, sleeves capped in the evening and necklines frequently gathered. Skirts often trained.


Fabrics became more luxurious and were chosen in rich colours. Decoration on skirts and around the neckline became more popular towards the end of the decade. The waist remained in much the same place but was raised a further inch or two for evening wear. Skirts shortened. Outerwear and millinery took on a military influence.


Waists lowered to a natural level, skirts began to expand and sleeves grew enormously. Bodices became more complex with pleating and berthas. Coiffures became more elaborate and hats grew to alarming proportions.


Waists were accentuated with a v-shaped bodice. Shoulder-line slipped and sleeve-volume became centred around the elbow. Detail and decoration was elaborate and skirts were bell shaped. Coiffures and hats were bedecked with feathers, flowers, bows etc. etc.


Sillhouette simplified and less exaggerated, with a smoother line. Bodice elongated over hipline towards the end of the decade. Decoration was limited and colour palette muted. Neckline for eveningwear remained off-the-shoulder. Hair was arranged simply and neatly; the poke bonnet replaced the oversized hat and was decorated sparingly.


Skirts and decoration reached their zenith. The sewing machine became popular and more easily available allowing for bigger and bolder designs. Also created were artificial dyes, creating a fashion for bright, unnatural colours. Sleeves were fluted and fringing was popular on bodices and tiered skirts.


Skirts began to be flattened at the front. Hair was loosened and softened and hats replaced bonnets. Towards the end of the decade, the bodice was shortened and the waist was raised just above natural level. Sleeves were all but removed for eveningwear, replaced by exaggerated berthas trimmed with lace. Skirts were flounced with detail towards the back.


Necklines became square and sleeves were straight cut and bracelet length. Skirts remained full but flattened at the front and trailed to a bustle in the back. Mid-decade the bodice lengthened and the skirt became narrower. Towards the end of the decade, the skirt was tubular and draped, with all decoration at centre back.


Bodices lengthened to a V and waists returned to the natural point. Skirts were straight and draped with bib or apron fronts and pleated or tiered underskirts. Collars and sleeves were trimmed with lace and ribbons. Fabrics were in feminine tones. Towards the end of the decade, skirts became simpler in front with exaggerated bustles and worn with tailed bodices or patelots. Sleeves became straight, occasionally with a slightly exaggerated shoulder.


Daywear became tailored, the attention being on large sleeves and masculine detailing. Hats and coiffures were elaborately dressed. Skirts were gored and became bell-shaped, showing off the exaggerated waist. Necklines were high, following the fashion of HRH Princess Alexandra of Wales. Evening wear took on a softer, more draped look with a pigeon-breasted bodice and copious amounts of lace and chiffon. Pearls were the jewels du jour.
Tags: 19th century, fashion, fashion history, media, picspam
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