Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Liza researches the odd blip in the 1890's fashions.

Imagine wearing the same style clothes for a whole decade. 

Don't worry that didn't happen. But if you look at the clothes worn in 1890 and compare them to the clothes worn in 1899, you might think it did.

I have shuffled them about. Try to guess which of each pairing is 1890 vs. 1899. It's not an easy task, which is why the 'style' is often referred to as '1890's' and not properly dated.


Answers to pairings at the bottom of the blog.


The truth is the decade began and ended in similar form. Other than a slightly larger bustle in 1890, one would think the ladies had gone shopping in their storage boxes after growing weary of the radical mid-years of 1894-1896.

1894- The year the NEW WOMEN Campaign began. And ladies evidently wished to be forego their 'fragile' appearance and instead appear strong, bold and in charge.
 1894- Ladies experimented with what change means, some chose demure but serious, some choose to be shockingly provocative, and others wish to still bare skin in the evening. But in all cases they've acquired broad shoulders.
By 1895 the style has stabilized. They wish to be strong, bold, intimidating women with powerful arm muscles that require a yard of fabric to cover. Note the dramatic change in the evening dress (far right) No bare skin showing.

1896- the style explodes to such extremes it has no where to go but out (of fashion). Imagine trying to put a coat over these oversized mutton sleeves. How intimating for the men when the women have broader shoulders than they do! And notice the dog the artist has draw for the woman in the left pic. It and the lady appear ready to kick some ass.

After a quick 1 yr. transition, the styles returned to styles so similar to the early part of the decade that it is difficult to tell them apart..

I do wonder what the men thought of the New Women years. It certainly didn't make them alter their ugly suits at all. The only thing stylish about the late Victorian man was his bowler hat and the excessively high collars. Otherwise, their daily wear was a shapeless suit jacket that makes them all appear fat with skinny legs. No wonder the real guy in the pics leaves his jacket unbuttoned. He wants the ladies to see he is NOT fat.
Finding shots of Late Victorian men is not easy. These are dated 1893, 1896, 1897
Hope you enjoyed learning more about the 1890's clothes than you ever wished. I need to start painting clothes on my characters from my upcoming humorous, Late Victorian series, and I wished to share a bit of my findings with you.


Answers to which of the first three pairings is 1890 vs 1899.
Pic 1  1890, 1899;  Pic 2:1899, 1890; Pic 3 1899, 1890

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I wouldn't have wanted to wear them, but I sure do like to look at them!

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    1. Well, Vic refuses to wear the dresses too. She opts for the men's ugly wear instead. She favors the Chesterfield suit (on the right of last pic).

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  2. That is interesting. Thanks for doing the research, Liza. I tweeted and shared.

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    1. It's like the mutton sleeves blew up between 96 and 97 leaving them at a loss for what to do next, so they returned back to the styles of the start of the decade.

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  3. We've come a long way :) Great info. Shared via Pinterest.

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    1. Have we? I've no idea what fashions are today. I wear hiking clothes.

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  4. Beautiful and detailed but with it being 104 outside all I can think is HOT! Then again, I know England was mostly not 104 degrees at that time and that does give some degree of comfort.

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    1. Since they changed dresses four to six times a day, and were advised to bath 1-2 times a day. I've no idea how they got anything done.

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  5. I can't imagine wearing that much fabric on a warm 70 degree day. Maybe they did this to not have to wear a coat? At least they got some sense and went back to the smaller arms. Poor men probably tried to hold on to their wives but had to walk a state next to them!

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    1. Given their fights for rights during this time, I truly believe those giant shoulders were a statement. We are NOT fragile creatures that must be protected from life. We deserve the right to vote and own property, the right to decide whom we shall marry, the right to drive a car if we want, and you skinny legged men need to get off our sidewalk, because there isn't any room for you anymore. Then after 3 years of no room for men, they got lonely . (That is not research, that is Liza being silly).

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