Q:

What is the history of the clothing worn during the Victorian era?

A:

Quick Answer

During the Victorian Era, trends in men's fashion developed much more slowly than trends for women. The era is typically measured from the 1830s to the first decade of the 1900s.

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Full Answer

Through the 1840s, women wore massive petticoats under their dresses. In the 1850s, petticoats were increasingly replaced with the crinoline, a stiff, skirt-shaped structure of hardened fabric or steel. By the 1860s, women were wearing high-necked dresses in the day and low-necked, short-sleeved dresses for evening functions.

The 1870s saw large, structured dresses replaced by tight, form-fitting garments. Throughout the 1890s, women increasingly wore high-collared dresses. Hats for women were popular throughout the Victorian era. However, only in the last years of this era did women's hats become remarkably large and ornamented with silk flowers and plumes.

Through the 1850s, Victorian men were fond of calf-length frock coats and waistcoats. Shirts were typically linen or cotton. Top hats of various sizes were popular throughout the Victorian era. In the 1880s, three-piece suits gained popularity.

Starting in the 1880s, informal menswear included knee-length trousers, knee-length socks and knickerbockers. High-buttoned Norfolk jackets were also popular for informal occasions during the late Victorian era. The 1890s saw the introduction of the blazer, which brought Victorian men's formal wear even closer to modern standards.

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