The Victorian fashion era began with Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837 and ended in 1901, upon her death. It marked a pivotal time in Britain’s history and around the world. In fashion, the Victorian era is an elaborate display of class, wealth, beauty, and purpose for women and men. The layers of dress and suiting required for poor and rich alike were impractical, sometimes even uncomfortable, but always beautifully fashionable. Victorian fashion began with large dresses, poke bonnets, and modest coverings for the ladies, all while men displayed color, pattern, and rigidity in their attire. By the end of the era, a simpler silhouette was making waves, leading the next Edwardian generation to new freedoms in life and fashion.
To summarize Victorian fashion, nearly 70 years of clothing styles, in one article would be a daunting task (not to mention very long read). Instead, the following links will guide you to many articles about specific years, general styles, or accessories that make up Victorian fashion. The purpose is not only to educate about (mostly upper class) Victorian fashions, but to give you practical tips, links, and purchasing options for creating your own Victorian costume.
My first foray into the world of historical costuming began with the Victorian era at a ball where ladies danced in the most elegant hooped dresses I have ever seen. From that moment on, I was hooked. My quest to make my own Victorian gown for the next ball began with a pattern, some fabric, and not nearly enough research since I ended up creating an 18th century (1780s) dress! My research and writing here at InLolita.com is my attempt to curb those beginner pitfalls while being mindful of budget, time, and ability constraints.
Women's Victorian Fashion