fashion through history

features historical costumes from ancient world to modern age.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Late victorian fashion

The Late Victorian age sees an even swifter change if ladies' fashion, especially of the silhouette. Industrialisation had picked up throughout Western Europe and North America and made a lot of people rich - who now wanted to show off,styles became somewhat effeminate.Long buff,striped,and checked trouses slimmed down to the ankle and strapped under the instep.The tailed frock coat pinched in tightly at the waist and curved out at the chest and hips,creating a feminine outline.The coat opened in front to reveal a frilly expanse of shirting,and a a black silk scarf tied around a stand-up collat.Hair was softly curled,and beards and sideburns came into fashion.
In general,long,tight trousers,knee-length frock coat,mustaches and beards remained fashionable.By 1870 a man of fashion would include in his wardrobe the folowing items:a velvet-collared Chesterfield for dress wear,a light colored short sack coat, a riding outfit,coats to be worn with odd checked and striped trousers,distinct evening clothes very like our present formal dress ,an early type of dinner coat,linen sack suits,an Inverness cape,broad four-in-hand ties as well as bow ties and wrapped cravats,a Homburg hat,bowler,boating hat,woolen visored caps,and small cricket cap.
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Fashion era

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Early Victorian fashion

The term "Victorian fashion" refers to fashion in clothing in the Victorian era, or the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901). It is strictly used only with regard to the United Kingdom and its colonies, but is often used loosely to refer to Western fashions of the period. It may also refer to a supposedly unified style in clothing, home décor, manners, and morals, or a culture, said to be prevalent in the West during this period.

Stylistically though not politically, the era begins around 1830 when there was a drastic change in fashion. After a revolution and the Napoleonic wars, a peaceful life with the family was what everybody wished for. At the same time, the beginning Industrial Revolution created a new upper class - not nobility this time, but rich citizens, known by the French term bourgeoisie.
Their ideals and status symbols, as it turned out, continued into the 20th century. They wanted to differentiate themselves from the old upper class, the nobility, by showing that they had earned their money. The men, therefore, turned to darker and duller clothing which did not vary much during the course of the century, emphasising how very serious, industrious and buinesslike they were. Breeches had vanished completely from a gentleman's wardrobe, to be replaced by tight, straight, more than ankle-length trousers. With it went a tailcoat, a carefully knotted necktie and a top hat.

Women on the other hand were allowed, nay required to display splendour to show that their husband could "afford her". The waist dropped to almost its natural level and was made to appear tiny not only by corsets, which saw a come-back, but also by exaggerated width both below and above. The shoulders were overemphasised by pulling the shoulder straps of the bodice as far outwards as they would go, resulting in a largely horizontal neckline, and optically extending them even further by adding huge, puffed sleeves. At the height of the "leg o'mutton" sleeve fashion, they had to be stiffened with whalebone. Hairstyles were also extreme: artfully braided, laid into corkscrew locks that hung in front of the ears, pinned up into buns that sat on top of the head like mushrooms. Outside, poke bonnets obstructed the sideways view.
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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Empire and regency fashion

The Directoire and Empire Period (1790 to 1820) is named after the French executive council, or Directoire, that was established after the Reign of Terror. This council of five men was in power until Napoleon Bonaparte staged a coup d’etat and became first consul. The Empire Period refers to Napoleon’s era, when he was Emperor of France.

The silhouette during this period derives its inspiration from classic Greek and Roman times, and the typical look was short-sleeved, with an elevated waistline located under the bust, and fabric clinging to and revealing the shape of the body. Typical fabrics used were cotton, muslin, and silk in whites, pastels, and delicate patterns. The women are wearing turbans, which were especially fashionable after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt. The increased decoration on the two gowns is indicative of late Empire style.
In this period, fashionable women's clothing styles were based on the Empire silhouette — dresses were closely-fitted to the torso just under the breasts, falling loosely below. In different contexts, such styles are commonly called "Directoire" (referring to the Directory which ran France during the second half of the 1790s), "Empire" (referring to Napoleon's 1804-1814/1815 empire, and often also to his 1800-1804 "consulate"), or "Regency" (most precisely referring to the 1811-1820 period of George IV's formal regency, but often loosely used to refer to various periods between the 18th century and the Victorian).

These 1795-1820 fashions were quite different from the styles prevalent during the most of the rest of the 18th and 19th centuries, when women's clothes were generally tight against the torso from the natural waist upwards, and heavily full-skirted below (often inflated by means of hoop-skirts, crinolines, panniers, bustles, etc.). The high waistline of 1795-1820 styles took attention away from the natural waist, so that there was then no point to the tight "wasp-waist" corseting often considered fashionable during other periods. Thus during the 1795-1820 period, it was often possible for middle- and upper-class women to wear clothes that were not very confining or cumbersome, and still be considered decently and fashionably dressed.

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