May 17, 2022

239 Comments




 

 


Late Victorian Era Fashions - A Pixie Faire Style Guide

VICTORIAN ERA FASHION PART TWO (1870s-1890s)

We’ve put together another ultimate guide to help you make a historically accurate late Victorian period look for your dolls!  Let’s continue our journey through this historical period.  To recap, the Victorian era lasted from the 1830s until 1901 (when the Edwardian era began).  This article will cover from the 1870s through the 1890s as styles stayed somewhat similar during this time to see part one 1830-1860s Victorian fashion, click here. 

The Victorian era was named after the British Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901.  The later Victorian period diverges from the early Victorian period through the disappearance of full skirt and full sleeves.  Queen Victoria popularized the new thinner style after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, in the 1860s.  Victoria’s influence on fashion not only stretched across the Commonwealth but over to the eastern coast of the United States as well.

Bonus Giveaway! Scroll Down to the bottom of the post to Enter to Win a $50 Pixie Faire Gift Card!

 

1870s

The 1870s took a sharp turn from the 1860s and previous decades when it comes to fashion.  Everything began to lose its copiousness and volume.  This is in part due to Queen Victoria’s becoming a widow just a few years prior to this period.  In fact, dress skirts narrowed down so much that by 1870 the range of foot movement within these skirts could be as little as six inches!  However, just because the volume was gone from womenswear that did not mean that there was no decadence about it.  Victorian bustles, which first became on-trend in 1870, were made by using special crinoline-like undergarments under a woman’s dress near her bum.  Fabric from the skirt was then draped over and pinned onto the undergarment to give it a full-bustled look.  The bustle at the back would almost always evolve into a long, dramatic train behind the dress.  This was another feature that was newly on trend.  Along with the bustles, dresses in the 1870s began to sport cuirass bodices, which were long bodices that were fitted close to the body and extended down past the hipline.  Cuirass bodices were stiffly boned to promote pristine posture.  They were also inspired by a piece of defensive armor that was worn close-fitted over the torso.  This further differentiated the 1870s dress from the fit and flare at the waist that was popular for decades before.  Sometimes cuirass bodices would feature sleeves that were different colors or prints than the rest of the dress for decoration.

 

1880s

Bustles in the 1880s flattened a bit and introduced a new type of crinoline-type garment that was made of metal framework, to ensure a very ridged bustle.  Even though bustles became flatter, this did not mean that they became any less dramatic.  More attention was brought to them through a new trend of adding excess draping around the hips and waistlines which culminated in the back.  This culmination was then gathered and draped after being pinned in place, resulting in a “waterfall”-style draped bustle.  Hems on dresses were also brought up, and, therefore, eliminated the trend of dramatic trains as well.  Cuirass bodices were still the most popular choice for a bodice of a dress at this time.

 

1890s

In the 1890s, the focus of the dress shifted from the skirt to the bodice.  Bodices were no longer stiff and ultra-fitted to the body but were lighter and more voluminous.  In the early 1890s, Sleeves started to have the most poufiness in the shoulder area since the end of the 1860s.  By the end of the 1890s, sleeves had swelled to a massive puffs which remained popular throughout the turn of the century.  Waistlines were brought up slightly and were often decorated with lace, sashes, or other embellishments.  The addition of yokes onto front bodices for decoration also became in vogue.  These often brought the neckline up high with frills extending even above the long neckline.  Bolero jackets or bolero-like bodices became popular for dresses.  This was a similar trend to the 1850s when jackets became a popular choice for womenswear.  Skirts at the beginning of the decade lost their bustles and became more fitted to the waist.  This changed very quickly, however.  By the end of the decade (and the century), hems dropped to the ground once again and long dramatic trains were back in style.

 

COLORS AND PRINTS

Popular colors during this period were deep colors like shades of blue, brown, chartreuse, olive, and wine.  Other, brighter colors were also popular for certain societal classes and types of clothing.  Jewel tones were the most prominent of the bright colors.  Yellows and purples were especially popular during the 1890s.  The fabrics that were used were made of natural fibers like cotton, wool, or silk.  This period also, however, favored some more luxurious types of fabric like velvet and satin for the wealthy.  Like the earlier part of the Victorian era, small florals and large plaids were still popular choices in prints.  Other prints like polka dots and stripes also grew in popularity during this era.  You can take a look below for some of our suggested fabric choices:

Royal Purple Stretch Satin from Mood Fabrics 

Garnet Solid Velvet from Mood Fabrics

Matte Satin from Joann Fabrics

Houndstooth Wool Coating from Mood Fabrics

Leaf Icon Crinkle Rayon from Joann Fabrics   

 

Pixie Faire offers a wide variety of late Victorian period-inspired patterns, view them all in the Late Victorian 1870s-1890s Fashions collection.

 

We’d love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment and tell us what you like most about late Victorian era fashion! Perhaps the bustles, the ruffles, or the beautiful details...

We'd love to see your creations too, so if you make one, please tag us on Instagram @PixieFaire

You can also share pictures in the Pixie Faire Inspritation Gallery right here on the website, either use the #pixiefaire when posting on IG, or just click the little + box to upload your picture right here on the website!

Thanks everyone!

For Pixie Faire, Katie

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To enter this week's contest, simply click the link below and then enter through the giveaway widget at the bottom of the blog post, there are many things you can do to earn multiple entry points!

Contest Details: You enter through the entry form that is embedded on this page and appears just below this paragraph, if you don't see it, be sure to visit the page from your desktop or an alternate browser such as Google Chrome. It may not appear on all mobile devices. The complete rules and entry details appear on the entry form. This is not a comment contest - in other words, leaving a comment on the bottom of this page is not an official entry method. The only required entry method is to leave a comment under this post and then confirm that you did it in the contest widget. One person will receive the Gift Card. You can enter once, or gain multiple entries by completing the other entry methods and increase your chances of winning. Please review all Terms and Conditions on the giveaway page before entering. While we wish we could run this contest everywhere, for legal reasons it is only open to eligible residents of the U.S. and Canada, not including Rhode Island. This contest is exclusively endorsed by Liberty Jane Clothing and Pixie Faire. 

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Commenting below and confirming your entry in the widget above gives you one entry method, the other methods are listed in the widget above, be sure to enter in as many ways as you can to receive the maximum amount of entries to win the gift card!

 (This post and giveaway are not endorsed or affiliated with American Girl®, no endorsement implied.) 

We’d love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment and tell us what you like most about late Victorian era fashion! Perhaps the bustles, the ruffles, or the beautiful details...


100 Comments

Mary
Mary

May 23, 2022

I adore Victorian Dresses because they were made with so much detail and gorgeous trims and fabric!

AnnaBelle Aldaco
AnnaBelle Aldaco

May 22, 2022

Probaly my favorite part is the softer colors. But I also love the children’s fashion as well, pre-breeching,

Crystal
Crystal

May 21, 2022

What I like the most about Victorian Era would be the beautiful fabric and all the details.

Crystal
Crystal

May 21, 2022

What I like the most about Victorian Era would be the beautiful fabric and all the details.

Christine
Christine

May 21, 2022

Victorian styles are mine and my daughter’s favorite styles to make! Especially the frilly less grown up ones for children.

Karen Hurd
Karen Hurd

May 21, 2022

Love looking at the details. To me, a solid color fabric shows the details better than a print.

DORIS
DORIS

May 21, 2022

All the details make these outfits so special.

Jayne
Jayne

May 20, 2022

I learned on Barbie dresses, and love to make outfits with a lot of attention to detail.
These patterns certainly fit that bill thanks for the chance to win!

Anne C-E
Anne C-E

May 20, 2022

Late Victorian fashion is busy and ornate and quite frankly nowhere as graceful as Edwardian or the Empire.

LizT
LizT

May 20, 2022

I love all the attention to detail in these dresses and those tiny details do take a long time to sew and get just right. Thanks!

Christine
Christine

May 20, 2022

What beautiful fashions, I know they would be fun to make

Marie
Marie

May 20, 2022

Victorian fashions changed so many times (Victoria ruled a long time). I enjoy the bows, ruffles and bodice details. Not so crazy about the puffy sleeves that appeared…bustles…not that fond unless it’s a smaller one.

Shelley
Shelley

May 20, 2022

I love the ruffles and lace.

Terry
Terry

May 20, 2022

I love the Victorian styles. So pretty and feminine.

Deb
Deb

May 20, 2022

I love the ruffles and the bustle.

Diana
Diana

May 20, 2022

All the ruffles

Susan Y.
Susan Y.

May 20, 2022

I love so much of it! All the trimmings, the lace, the collars, the bustles! 1890s is my fave, close followed by the bustle era.

shirley
shirley

May 20, 2022

Im not a fan of the victorian era,but the newer fasions are prettier with the brighter fabric.

shirley
shirley

May 20, 2022

Im not a fan of the victorian era,but the newer fasions are prettier with the brighter fabric.

Helena
Helena

May 20, 2022

Thank you for the fashion history posts! To my taste, bustle was the ugliest invention in fashion. Though embroidery and lace of that period were beautiful.

Joy
Joy

May 20, 2022

These Victorian styles are very unique. Were these styles meant to be worn in all seasons?

Glenda
Glenda

May 20, 2022

I love the look of theses styles! Like someone above said , the fact all the detail was hand sewn is amazing! I can’t imagine the amount of time it would take.

Debra
Debra

May 20, 2022

My favoite thing about this era is the bustles! It boggles my mind how any could possible get comfortable with all that fuss – but they really did look awesome. I do love all the lace and trimmings but the bustle is definately the best part!

Maureen
Maureen

May 20, 2022

I loive the bustles, not that I would wear one! But the look! Always wondered how they could sit!

Pat Glynn Pearson Brownfield
Pat Glynn Pearson Brownfield

May 20, 2022

I love the history of the Victorian era and how it affected the fashion changes over time. The clothing. Was elegant and detailed and so much fun to display on y dolls!

Barb
Barb

May 20, 2022

I love all the little details the ruffles, lace, pleats, bows and all the wonderful materials.

Sarah B
Sarah B

May 20, 2022

I love how fancy the fashions were- the ruffles, bustles, the many layers of fabric, the materials. I would not want to wear it myself, but it’s so neat.

Pat
Pat

May 20, 2022

I love the details and ruffles.

Mary
Mary

May 20, 2022

Along with many, I love all the details. The ruffles and train are so elegant.

Julie Ferguson
Julie Ferguson

May 20, 2022

I love the everything about the dresses!

mariann
mariann

May 20, 2022

I love the little details and tiny buttons

Carol
Carol

May 20, 2022

I love the details, ruffles, tiny buttons. Don’t especially like the big bustles. With the right supplies the dresses really look like 1800s.

Brenda
Brenda

May 20, 2022

I love how classically beautiful the clothes were, can’t say they would have been very comfortable! I love ruffled sleeves!

Cecilia Mire
Cecilia Mire

May 20, 2022

I love this era. Wish I could have been there in person to see all this flair.

S
S

May 20, 2022

The detail is what I like the most about these fashions.

Lynn
Lynn

May 19, 2022

Love to sew historical fashions for dolls for many decades and wish to learn more.

Sherry R.
Sherry R.

May 19, 2022

Love historical fashion for dolls. The late Victorian has a sort of prim elegance to it. Wouldn’t want to wear it though!

Jane
Jane

May 19, 2022

I love the leg of mutton sleeves of the 1890s. I also like the waterfall bustles. Thank you for having this fashion lesson on the Victorian era.

Michele
Michele

May 19, 2022

I dislike the look of bustles. They must have been such a nuisance to wear. Of the pictured gowns, I prefer the more flowing black & white gown of the 1890"s. I love the elegance of the train, raised waist, & puff sleeves.

Andrea Utz
Andrea Utz

May 19, 2022

These are the fashions of the time my great grandmother lived. I love what you have done with them.

Susan
Susan

May 19, 2022

I’m so glad to see the second part of this series

Amber Mae
Amber Mae

May 19, 2022

I love details of the garments. They show the skill of the seamstress. And the good posture that you must have had to have to wear these garments!

Connie M
Connie M

May 19, 2022

I’m a ruffle lover! Fascinating reading!! Glad we dont live in that era, elegant as it was.

Shirley
Shirley

May 19, 2022

I think the dresses are fascinating. All the detail. In watching old movies, I always liked the Victorian age ballroom dances. I like the late seventeen hundreds dresses.

J.Bella
J.Bella

May 19, 2022

This series has been interesting and very helpful. I appreciate all you did to put this together. Thank you.

Sandy
Sandy

May 19, 2022

I’m amazed on how the dress styles change from the simple/elegant lines of the Regency period to the fussy complex dresses of the Victorian period. I know there is a history lesson somewhere here. It must have something to do with an improved economy, etc. The first World’s Fair was held in London in 1851 at the Crystal Palace. People had more money to spend. All the drawings are fun and so different from one another. Love them all.

Carma
Carma

May 19, 2022

I love the ruffled necklines. I love the embellishments, the fabrics. There was elegance in their fashion. And there was such a properness of everything.

Elaine
Elaine

May 19, 2022

What isn’t there to love. The ruffles, the trims, the fabrics…I love it all! But I wouldn’t want to wear it in this heat! LOL

Toni C
Toni C

May 19, 2022

Looove the details, so many opportunities for embellishment! However, the bustles create an opportunity for displaying more fabric in such a graceful way—unlike the panniers in the 17th and 18th centuries (walking curtain rods…) or the how-do-you-sit-gracefully crinolines and wide hoops mid 19th century! Thank you for this opportunity.

Sue
Sue

May 19, 2022

I really like the lace work and ruffles on the bodices of the layer Victorian period. I took a course to learn bobbin lacework years ago – what an amazing amount of work goes into making lace

Debbie
Debbie

May 19, 2022

I love all the details, the ruffles, sleeves and bustles!

Nanette S
Nanette S

May 18, 2022

I love all the ruffles.

Nancy S.
Nancy S.

May 18, 2022

I love ALL the fussy details in Victorian era clothing – the puffy sleeves, the ruffles, the lace, buttons. It’s all so fun to do!

Annlee
Annlee

May 18, 2022

I love the detail and elegance of the dresses

Diana
Diana

May 18, 2022

I love the Victorian era dresses. They remind me of the drawings Tasha Tudor did for the book “A Little Princess”. IT’s my favorite childhood story and I’ve shared it with all my nieces, so I’ve needed to make doll clothes that go with the story. It is wonderful that you have many options to pick from for patterns.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 18, 2022

I would not want to wear one, but I think bustles are fascinating from a fashion and engineering perspective.

Savannah
Savannah

May 18, 2022

I love all the fabric used

Debra Luecke
Debra Luecke

May 18, 2022

All that work. As I made my last Victoria era dress I realized how amazing the seamstresses were at that time. So much fabric and so much time to make one. It makes for such a beautiful gown. don’t know how they can afford this. fabric must have been so much cheaper then.

Sandra
Sandra

May 18, 2022

Interesting times. Think of how much material that went into those dresses.

Penelope
Penelope

May 18, 2022

The description of how the dresses changed during the last half of the 1800’s was fascinating.I have always been interested in period clothing.

Carol
Carol

May 18, 2022

Stunning. I love the detail.

Priscilla
Priscilla

May 18, 2022

I love the detail in the Victorian gowns especially the high neckline and the ruffled bustle with lace trim. The gowns are exquisite and a favorite of mine.

Priscilla
Priscilla

May 18, 2022

I love the detail in the Victorian gowns especially the high neckline and the ruffled bustle with lace trim. The gowns are exquisite and a favorite of mine.

Sue
Sue

May 18, 2022

One of my favorites things in Victorian fashion was the addition of the yoke at the neckline. The solid white yoke against the colorful fabric adds great contrast. Also, love the cameo pin that was usually placed at the neck.

Becky
Becky

May 18, 2022

Oh the bustles….so adorable on beautiful dolls!

Becky
Becky

May 18, 2022

Oh the bustles….so adorable on beautiful dolls!

Monique
Monique

May 18, 2022

Actually, I prefer the dress reform movements of the second half of the ninetieth century. The tight lacing prescribed in 1870-1890’s fashion does nothing for me.

Piroska
Piroska

May 18, 2022

I love bustles and ruffles and intricate details. Beautiful.

Linda
Linda

May 18, 2022

I loved all the clothes in this era. Women always looked so elegant and dresses up! Thanks

Lynn F
Lynn F

May 18, 2022

I think this era was one of the most feminine time period. I love the bulk and excess of fabrics used. I love the look of the bustle framework and cascades of fabric. However, I don’t think I’d like wearing that amount of heavy fabric.

Leila
Leila

May 18, 2022

I love the Victorian era elegant details! the bustles and ruffles, lace and pleats are all stunning!

LUCY
LUCY

May 18, 2022

I love how the dresses look all the lace and ruffles,

Linda
Linda

May 18, 2022

I love the whole elegant look of that era

Elizabeth Purcell
Elizabeth Purcell

May 18, 2022

I personally love the bustles and the ruffles of the era!

Kathy
Kathy

May 18, 2022

I like the 1890’s being most practical to wear. Women at this time started to work outside the home more.

Kathy
Kathy

May 18, 2022

I like the 1890’s being most practical to wear. Women at this time started to work outside the home more.

Nancy
Nancy

May 18, 2022

The grace and the way they make you look feminine. Today we like either tough or everything is hanging out!

Jackie Koepnick
Jackie Koepnick

May 18, 2022

i love the elegance of the clothes and the way women looked so pretty

Katherine Ackerman
Katherine Ackerman

May 18, 2022

I like the different fashion during the Victorian era. The fabrics, styles and trims used.

Barbara
Barbara

May 18, 2022

I think the ruffles, laces and details of the desigh catch my eye during this period. Enjoyed the articles! Thanks

June Schwierjohn
June Schwierjohn

May 18, 2022

I find the 1880’s style most appealing to me. I could wear the raised hem with the waterfall bustle style myself! One thing though, how on earth do you sit while wearing a bustle, on anything other than a stool? My Grandmother wore a similar style in a navy blue taffeta type fabric for her 1899 wedding. Was more tailored, no ruffles on it. I’m also amazed at the detail in these designs when most clothing was hand sewn, no modern sewing machines or tools to assist them. Must have taken ages to sew up one of these dresses. Funny how today we have so much technology to be able to sew intricate designs but our clothing is so flat, plain, with little structural detail, and only the prints and colors to add interest.

Rosemary Coole
Rosemary Coole

May 18, 2022

I like the large range of fashions in the Victorian era. Because it covered such a long period of time, there were many changes over the time in clothing, wide skirts, narrow skirts, bustles,trains, ruffles, the list goes on.

Judy
Judy

May 18, 2022

I love everything about this era of clothing. I love the bustle especially but I also love the loveliness and how it must have made these women feel pretty. I even had 2 dresses that were maxi style and a winter maxi coat when I was in my twenties. I loved the long gowns and my wedding dress as well. I always felt elegant when I wore them. I have all the patterns listed above so thank you for this series.

Sparkle
Sparkle

May 18, 2022

All the detail in the styles is very intriguing. I especially like the puffed sleeves and the draping of fabric in the bustles and skirts.

Sam
Sam

May 18, 2022

Probably the details and intricacies in the dresses – there is so much to them

Maureen A
Maureen A

May 18, 2022

I love the bustles and trains – the drama of a Victorian evening gown is fabulous!

Liana
Liana

May 18, 2022

Love the bustles!

Denise Darby
Denise Darby

May 18, 2022

I like the lace, bustles and the layersin the dresses.

S
S

May 18, 2022

I like the long trains and the puffed sleeves. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

Diane
Diane

May 18, 2022

i love the rich colors and the increasing “personal” flair of the era!!

Barb
Barb

May 18, 2022

I like the lace, trims, and detailing the best.

Kathleen A
Kathleen A

May 18, 2022

I LOVE the 1880’s style bustle. So classy!

Saraquill
Saraquill

May 18, 2022

I’m very much a bustle fan, both the drapey early 70s, and the centaur like 80s.

Margaret
Margaret

May 18, 2022

Love the Victorian fashions particularly the slimmer fit w/bustle but still wonder how they managed to get all those undergarments on and still move, lol.

Jennifer
Jennifer

May 18, 2022

I like the ruffles and lace and poofy things.

MARLENE
MARLENE

May 18, 2022

Very interesting. I love the detail. I’m going to have to try this!

Heidi
Heidi

May 18, 2022

Ruffles trimmed with lace.

Caprice
Caprice

May 18, 2022

I love the big poofy sleeves! I wish leg-o-mutton would be back in style again—for me!— not just dolls.

Bev
Bev

May 18, 2022

The bustle with waterfall layers is what I like most about late Victorian era fashion!

Jennifer
Jennifer

May 18, 2022

I love the graceful silhouette of the Victorian dresses.

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