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DATES: 1865-1890


bulletFashion plates,
bulletPainters: Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gaugin, Beardsley. Degas,
Lautrec, Renoir, Nast, Homer, Whistler, Sargent, du Maurier


bulletThe American Progression - Rogers& Lewis
bulletNew York in the Elegant Eighties - Brown
bulletGodot's Lady's Book
bulletThe Delineator
bulletVanity Fair


bulletThe Importance Of Being Ernest - Wilde
bulletMrs. Warren's Profession -  Shaw
bulletCandida- Shaw
bulletUncle  Vanya - Chekhov
bullet The Sea Gull - Chekhov
bulletAngel Street- Hamilton
bulletPirates Of Penzance    Gilbert &Sullivan
Bustle Costume

The change in dress from the Crinoline to the Bustle was not to flamboyance but to careful grooming.   Clothing became standardized, in which the clubman differs from the grocer’s boy only because of the superior skill of his tailor and in the greater sobriety of his ensemble.  Women’s clothing changed from the grotequesness of the Crinoline to the exaggeration of the Bustle.

The actual changes in men’s dress from the Crinoline to that of the Bustle have to do with closer-cropped hair, less flamboyant whiskers, a somewhat greater variety of hats and coats, and returning to knee-breeches.  These breeches, which had been the emblem of aristocracy when pantaloons were regarded as badges of the Jacobin, were now found in the opposite camp, symbols of the free-and-easy world of sports in contrast to the trousered formality of counting-house and drawing-room.  Now that restraint and careful grooming were the essence of good dressing, the London tailor was the dictator of men’s fashions.

The shape of a woman below her waist had not concerned the general public until the 1860s.  Her hips became important, and corseting them was a matter for serious consideration.  Although the “Grecian Bend,” forward-tipping upon high-heeled shoes, emphasized a curing rear, the abdomen was not flattened for the “straight-front” was yet in the future.  The corset of a late Victorian lady rose up high in front, sustaining and even pushing up the bust; it pressed with cruel firmness upon her ribs, her diaphragm, and her internal organs; and then curved out with a generous sweep for a short distance over the abdomen and hips.  Even under the princess gowns this shape was unchanged, the smooth modeling of the figure being accomplished by carefully cut under-petticoats.  It might be sports that freed the woman because in the latter century corset strings were loosened so women might play croquet, archery and even tennis.

Masculine colors continued to monochromatic and drab but they made up for that in patterns of plaid, checks or sprigs.  Sock and ties did allow for men to show some color.  Women could wear any color and black combined with color was a universal favorite. 

Notable Period Costume Elements

Straw Boater—A man's hard straw hat coated with shellac from India that became popular for summer outings and sporting events in the 1870s. The English wore it boating (hence the name). Standard summer wear in America from June to September.

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Four-in-hand Tie—A type of necktie originally used by coachmen that is tied in a slip knot.
How to tie a neck tie

Norfolk Jacket—A jacket with box pleats or straps of the same material passing over the belt and extending from shoulder to hem in front and back; usually worn for sport occasions.

Informal dress for upper- and middle-class Englishmen in the 1860s and '70s

Inverness—A full, sleeveless cape which fitted closely around the neck; from Inverness in Scotland.

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Blazer—A lightweight sport jacket.

Bustle—Whalebone or steel strips placed in the top back of the petticoat or in a separate panier puff in order to hold out the elaborate draping at the back of the over skirt.

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Knickerbockers—Full, knee-length breeches gathered in at the knee; named after Father Knickerbocker, who came to New Amsterdam in 1674.

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Bloomers—Loose underdrawers usually gathered at the knee.

Basque—A short, skirt-like termination of an upper garment (originally on the male doublet) which was adopted by women in the 1870's. The style is said to have developed when the Princess of Wales wore a fisherman's jersey pulled tightly over her rigidly corseted figure.

Tuxedo—An informal dinner jacket introduced from England, but the name is of American origin.


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