The Victorian era was birthed when Queen Victoria took the throne of the United Kingdom in 1837 at the tender age of 18. It’s what happened throughout her reign and marriage that spawned the era. Queen Victoria was creative, adventurous, innovative and unafraid of trying new things. The era’s so-called “mother of feminism” launched a period of fashion that would last for over 50 years and become a worldwide phenomenon that still influences culture today.
This Victorian era was essentially broken up into two periods: the early period (1837-1860) and the mid- to-late period (1860-1901).
Early Victorian Period
The early period’s fashion was characterized by ditching hats for bonnets, Gigot sleeves which “collapsed” around a woman’s arms and dresses which showed off a woman’s neckline. Skirts were worn so that they poofed out like an umbrella from the waist on down.
Mid to Late Victorian Period
The mid-to-late period, however, was characterized more by “Princess line” one-piece gowns, which eventually evolved into dresses with trailers, that being that parts of the formal dress lagged (better known as “trains”) behind the woman wearing it.
These were designed to showcase a woman’s figure, especially if that woman was slim and trim. Other characteristics of this period were mutton sleeve legs, brightly-colored dresses and tailor made suits that women would wear. Those who wore traditional Victorian era clothing were considered among the social elite because they were taking after the Queen, who was of the highest social class.
Victorian Style in Wedding Dresses
Now that you know a little bit about the Victorian era and what fashion trends were popular during that
time, you can probably draw some parallels with modern day society, most notably with weddings.
That’s right, if you’re planning a nice wedding, with the bride decked out in a formal white wedding dress, that dress has Victorian roots, even for the most modern bride. Many brides-to-be also like to seek dresses with more of a Victorian flair to them, because women during the Victorian era of time were considered “pure and immaculate.”
And “pure and immaculate” is what many brides desire on their big day. It’s why they wear a white dress, a tradition that emerged when Queen Victoria herself was married. For an example of this, think back to some of the characteristics in fashion during the Victorian era previously mentioned. Princess-like, one-piece gowns. Dresses that reveal a woman’s neckline. Formal dresses that featured a train. Now think of the last wedding that you went to and what the bride looked like walking down the aisle. There are probably many similarities, just with a modern day twist to it.
Victorian Influence on Everyday Clothing
Weddings are one thing, but every day fashion is another. Hence, fashion designer Jessica McClintock, the founder of Gunne Sax, which eventually became the internationally-known Jessica McClintock, after her namesake. McClintock is notorious for designing her clothing line after the Victorian era and this line continues today, but with a more modernized edge. Most recently, the fashion designer has released a clothing line featuring “lush fabrics, laces and heirloom styling” in which the blouses and dresses that make up the clothing line are Victorian inspired.
The Victorian era ended more than 100 years ago, but its footprints can still be seen in homes. But there’s more to modern day Victorian era than the bricks that still stand tall today in many of America’s cities. There’s fashion, arguably the most significant trend that emerged during that time period, which continues to influence fashion designers and society today.
This post was sponsored by: Wardrobeshop.