Yes, this fashion thing is a thing we’re doing now. Today’s post will focus on the last decade of the 19th century, the 1890s, which saw another remarkable change in the female silhouette. The most remarkable feature of the 1880s dress (which the next post will focus on, yes, this is going to get methodical) was the bustle which could grow to enormous proportions. In the 1890s the weight of the dress shifted to its sleeves while the skirts grew flat again. Hats remained a reasonable size. Bicycles became a fixture of upper class life which necessitated special cycling costumes designed to allow the wearer to move her legs while remaining reasonably covered. Corsets allowed for a normal body posture, unlike the S-corsets that soon would make their debut, focusing mostly on creating small waists.
Without further ado, here are some examples.
All of these gowns have two things in common: the sizeable sleeves and a natural waistline. In Danish these massive sleeves are lovingly referred to as “ham-sleeves.” However, it was becoming increasingly normal and popular for upper-class women to engage in different forms of exercise.
I’ve been checking the blog stats a little obsessively these past couple of days. The reason for my obsessiveness has been the fact that the stats have crept increasingly closer to 10,000 and while it may not seem like much it is a Big Deal™ to this here blogger.
And here’s your prooof!
It’s all go from here. I’ve got blog posts queued up for your enjoyment. They should start posting over the next couple of days.
In the meantime, I hope all of my readers have a lovely weekend!
It was very, very warm today which I’m told is unlikely for Edinburgh in March. At least I was wearing four layers of skirts and linen shirts, eh?
I’m not sure whether I need to express how very, very much I love old-time photographs that aren’t posed. I love them so much, you guys. So, so much.
I was looking through the lovely Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog because of a wee bout of homelessness. I found this post of vintage Copenhagen cyclists that I simply had to share. I love their amusement at the camera.
Bicycles have been a fixture of Copenhagen life since their invention in the 1900s.
Another anecdote from the life of Sara E: my grandfather used to cycle back and forth between the country of south Zealand (Sydsjælland) and North of Copenhagen as part of the Danish resistance movement.
For more Titanic fashions, check out this post from Madame Guillotine: Titanic fashion, 1912.
Let’s start up with clearing up a few things.
1) I am keeping this blog running HOWEVER since I’m currently in the home stretch (spoiler: I’ve never ever seen a game of baseball in my life) of my final year as a University student updates may be a bit sparse until I’m done with exams etc.
2) I’ll be posting a couple of posts related to the “anniversary” of Titanic’s demise. I hate using that word to describe such a sad event, but it seems it’s the best word English can offer.
3) This blog has a new layout! And whenever I find the time to make one, a new header too!
Unless you’re living under a rock, you may have noticed that Titanic’s Centennary is coming up right soon. You may also have watched Downton Abbey (which I thought was called Downtown Abbey for the longest time). I’ve watched most of Downton Abbey, mostly for the costumes because the drama in season 2 turned me off most of the characters, to be honest.
I’ve long since been fascinated with historical fashion. My mother recently reminded me that I could often be found looking through books on historical fashion I had brought home from the library, studying them quite intently.
So since the centennary of Titanic is coming up, I though I might take a look at what the ladies of Titanic and Downton might be wearing. Think what you want about the 1997 Titanic movie, Kate Winslet’s costumes were porn for fashion nerds.
Beginning with the basics, the silhouette of the Edwardian lady changed quite a bit with the advent of the S-shaped corset. The difference is illustrated below. Putting it into the words the new style of corset would push the torso forward, by putting pressure on the stomach and spine.
The gowns above show us what wearing the corset would make a gown look like in action. You can tell how the bust tips forward, and the stomach slopes inward. The dress shown from the back is interesting also, because it shows that wearing an S-corset almost creates a mini-bustle effect, harking about 30-40 years back in time.
Necklines were often high (if you can even call the above example a neckline). Ball gowns were more liberal with the amount of cleavage shown, but walking gowns, evening dresses and basically anything not used at balls would close at the neck or envelop the neck itself in fabric. This can also be referred to as “My Biggest Nightmare” in a gown. I can’t abide turtlenecks, and however much I adore the dress-type above I could never dress like that day in and out.
The pink dress almost reminds me of 1790 post French Revolution gowns. I think it’s the bodice.
Of course, it takes more than just a gown to complete an outfit.
Turn of the Century hats grew to astounding sizes and were elaborately decorated. I love how over the top they are.
And also these swim costumes, because they are amazing and I want to wear them everywhere, except, perhaps, the beach.
So that’s an insight into what Turn of the Century, Edwardian, Gilded Age, Nouvelle Vague, whichever term you prefer, ladies might wear out and about. Now, should I work my way backwards through fashion history or not? Decisions, decisions.