Victorian Fashion: 1860-1901

Fashion was important in Victorian society. For the middle and upper classes, proper dress sense was essential, and clothes had to be changed for numerous occasions during the day. They dressed for leisure activities, for business, and then dressed formally at night to eat dinner.

Even the poorest people were rarely seen without a hat, and manual workers usually wore ties or scarves when working. As the fashions changed during the Victorian era, those who could afford to do so made sure to always be ‘on trend’.

This candid street scene shows just how well people dressed on a daily basis.

Visiting The Tower Of London, and listening to a Yeoman Warder speak about its history. The children wear smaller versions of the adult clothing.

A reasonably well-dressed working man.

The attire of a businessman.

Tightly-laced corsets and bodices gave ladies incredibly small waists.

Female dresses became more relaxed at the end of the era.

Dressing for activities like cycling required a certain style.

For customers who lived a long way from shops, they could order their fashions from catalogues. This an American example from the same period.
It is selling patterns, for the clothes to be made at home, or by a dressmaker.

52 thoughts on “Victorian Fashion: 1860-1901

  1. (1) Recently, a Hollywood studio filmed a movie whose story was set during the Victorian era. The actors were so woke that the men wore bonnets, and the women wore bowlers.
    (2) Later, the yeoman warder was offered a juicy wardermelon. He accepted it, but then annoyed his listeners by spitting seeds at them as he spoke.
    (3) And what about London’s unreasonably well-dressed working men?
    (4) That’s not a businessman. He’s one of Thomas Crown’s employees. After the photo was taken, he made haste to the art museum.
    (5) I wonder if Boadicea wore a bodice?
    (6) “Female dresses became more relaxed at the end of the era.” Yes, and that’s why stressed dress therapists could no longer be found at their working address.
    (7) Were cycling materials recycled?
    (8) Streetwalker: “Hello, handsome! My name is Penny Farthing. Would you like to ride me?”
    (9) Meanwhile, at the brothel… “Our spring catalogue includes 48 pages of ladies wearing the latest in fashionable lingerie. Page 49 is blank. If you turn to page 50, you’ll see the same ladies wearing nothing at all.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. (7). Recycling was actually common then Bottles were routinely reused, and everyone took a basket to the shops for their purchases. People saved the brown paper used to wrap parcels, and the string that tied them. They were frugal.
      We could actually learn a lot from the Victorians. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Agree with Stevie.
    I think detachable collars helped with washing (or not) of men’s shirts, easier to clean and interchangeable. I’m sure not everyone had a domestic to do the washing and ironing, so this concept would help. I think irons in those days were not the electrical plug in variety, thank goodness for progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Irons were heated on the gas, or coal-fired hob. Imagine trying to iron a formal shirt using those, Bobby! Everyone except the actual daily-paid working classes would have had a servant of some kind, or sent things out to a laundry because they could afford to do that.
      Cheers, Pete.


  3. I can’t imagine having to wear all that bulky clothing or trying to keep it clean. Especially in hot weather…in the American South for example. I would be in a permanent faint. I saw that Sears which was one of those big catalogue companies may not survive after the end of the year although mall shopping has really taken a dive, so you would think Sears should have benefited.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wearing such clothing in extreme heat and humidity was well-known to Victorians posted to India, and the African colonies. The ladies would have retired to ‘hill stations’ at the height of the summer, to avoid the extreme heat. Or in some cases, returned by ship to England.
      Best wishes, Pete.


      1. I didn’t have much time for the nuns where I went to school, but they wore those thick habits right through the year, in the lowlands. I felt sorry for them then.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They had servants to do all that for them. And clothes would be changed requently, as well as being brushed after wear. But I always think they must have smelled a bit ‘musty’, and of mothballs of course.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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