The Victorian era was famous for its strict social customs and its conservative fashion trends. As with every other culture, the clothing trends that defined this era were intended to accentuate the ideal of beauty. In Victorian times, these clothing trends spoke of modesty and meekness with women, and culture and sophistication among men. Even now, some of these trends are just as popular today as they were then.
Victorian Clothing Trends
Here are some of the most popular clothing trends throughout the Victorian times:
Corsets, Big Skirts, and Big Sleeves
Small waists were attractive, so clothes were designed to make the waist look smaller. Big sleeves and big skirts tightened around the waist, creating the hourglass figure that was idealized at the time. Corsets also became popular, which squished stomachs and torsos even further, making waists look even more narrow.
This type of body sculpting may have created attractive figures, but it was also quite unhealthy. They made it difficult to breathe and could crack ribs.
Big bosoms were also attractive during this time, so women wore undergarments designed to boost their breast sizes. Bodices contained padding that lifted breasts, for instance, and reinforced corsets helped to push out the bosom. Combined with the constriction of corsets and the design of Victorian era clothing, these garments accentuated the top-heavy figure that became popular toward the latter end of the 1800s. Even now, stylists, stars and stores all promote this full-bosomed look! Even Victoria’s Secret (hmmmm, wonder where that name came from!) has one of the most popular bras of all time – the push-up bra. Bosoms NEVER go out of style!
The ball gown became popular during the mid-1800s and was the most revealing piece of clothing that women wore: arms and necklines were exposed. Though they often fell to the ankles, they also stayed tight around the waist and torso, then spilled out below the waistline. Wedding gowns followed the same trends as ball gowns, spreading out wide below the waist and wrapping the upper body tightly.
Big backsides were another trend that continued throughout the Victorian times. To accentuate this portion of the anatomy, women wore petticoats and bustles. These small cushions were placed in just the right spots to make the rear end stand out and the waist seem smaller. Backsides that were too large, though, used other constrictive clothing to keep the size under control. Once again, another Victorian trend that has surpassed the ages. These days, bottom boosters are more of a permanent thing thanks to plastic surgery and Jennifer Lopez. Of course, padding is a little pricey AND less painful. Larger bottoms are more than a style, they transcend time and are always in.
Hats were useful protection from the sun, but they were also hugely popular fashion accessories. Women’s hats were large, frilly affairs that framed the face with flowers, feathers, ribbons, and so on. Bonnets were popular during the early part of the century, and over time these gave way to wide-brimmed hats that sprouted plume