Historical Fashion Category

The Writer’s Guide to 1870s Women’s Fashion

The First Bustle Era continued into the 1870s from the tail end of the previous decade. The focus was put on the back of the skirt, but they also went crazy for embellishment. Then Alexandra, Princess of Wales, came on the scene and popularized the natural form or princess line dress. The bustle dropped from […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1860s Men’s Fashion

The men’s fashions of the 1860s are marked by an increasing lack of tailoring. An oversized, even baggy silhouette became common. However, military officers, who often had their uniforms custom made by a tailor, wore more fitted styles. For an overview of fashion for the entire 19th century, please read my Writer’s Guide to 19th […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1860s Women’s Fashion

The 1860s is a study in contrasts when it comes to fashion. The new bright synthetic dyes and the increasing embellishment and detail competed with expectations for modesty and austerity that reigned during the United States’ Civil War. The biggest statement of the decade’s fashions, however, was the incredible widths that skirts attained. For an […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1850s Men’s Fashion

In previous decades men’s clothing had followed the basic shape of women’s fashion. Yet during the 1850s men’s styles remained slim despite the growing width of women’s dresses. Increasingly, men’s suits were looking more and more like those we see today. For an overview of fashion for the entire 19th century, please read my Writer’s […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1850s Women’s Fashion

In the 1850s, the silhouette for women widened again, this time with a focus on the skirt. Although width was also reintroduced to the sleeves with the popularity of the bell-shaped pagoda sleeve. The sobriety of the 1840s was replaced by a love of color, pattern, and trim. Technology was also having a greater impact […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1840s Women’s Fashion

The 1840s continued the somber formal trend that had begun in 1836. The depictions of and expectations for women changed. With the fading of Romanticism, carefree exuberance was replaced by a cultivated austerity and a focus on domesticity. Queen Victoria was a big reason for this shift. She married Prince Albert on February 10th, 1840, […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1830s Men’s Fashion

Men’s fashions during the 1830s reflected the trends in women’s fashion but in a subtler way. Early in the decade, the stylish silhouette was one with wide shoulders, a nipped-in waist, and flaring coattails. Gradually, the shoulders slimmed, and the waistline lengthened. For an overview of fashion for the entire 19th century, please read my […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1830s Women’s Fashion

The 1830s continued the trend of brash, exuberant styles from the previous decade. However, by the middle of the decade, bold trends were suddenly reigned in for a more understated and modest look as Romanticism gave way to the Gothic Revival. The coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 had a large impact on women’s fashions […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1820s Men’s Fashion

The Romantic Movement impacted men’s fashion just as it did for women. Describing this decade, fashion historian Jane Ashelford wrote: “The Romantic movement stressed the creative power of the ‘shaping spirit of Imagination’ and was motivated by a desire to escape from the chilly neo-classicalism of the turn of the century and the harsh realities […]

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The Writer’s Guide to 1820s Women’s Fashion

With the death of King George III of England in 1820 and the coronation of George IV, the Regency era was over. Bright saturated colors and patterns came into vogue. Rows of trim and tucks, fluttering ribbons and shimmering gauzes and bobbin lace were used with abandon. After years under the rule of an old […]

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