Before the Victorian Era, the main focus of fashion was for men. Women’s’ fashion changed some, but the general idea of long skirts, tight bodices, and heavy fabrics stayed consistent. Real changes to style and fashion were not made until about the 1840’s, when Queen Victoria came into power. After her rise to Queen, the fashions began to change dramatically. Pride and Prejudice is a book written in this time, and the fashion is clearly visible. Looking at fashion of the time can be clear examples of social customs, role models, and other aspects of the time period.
The question to start off with is how has royalty affected women’s fashions through the ages? Royalty is influential on all sorts of things, so why not fashion? Another important question pertaining to the time is how women changed their style because of the emerging women’s right movement. What other things affected fashion? This was such a dramatic time period, and one can be certain that the changing fashions can parallel a changing culture. What events at this time could have sparked such a change? These are all things I hope to find out.
To begin my research, I wanted to learn a little bit about the fashions and how they changed. I thought that this would be helpful, because if you don’t know what the fashions did, you won’t know if they were influenced at all. I learned that the Victorian Era’s fashion was divided up into multiple parts, consisting of the Pre-hoop, hoop, Early Bustle, Natural Form, Late Bustle, 1890’s, and Edwardian. Each part of the era strived for different looks and styles. The Pre-hoop era began in 1840, right after Queen Victoria took power. The features of this era include a long torso, low shoulders, and a wide skirt with multiple petticoats. The hoop era included skirts even wider than that of the Pre-hoop era. The beginning of the civil war in America affected the cotton production, so fabric became more scarce, leading into the next era, one that used less fabric. The early bustle period featured a narrower skirt, with gathered fabric on the back. Bodices ended at the natural waist. By 1877, the bustles had dropped to knees, leading into the Natural Form period. By this time, a tall, slim figure was born. Dresses were long and the bodice became long and tight. The Late bustle period brought the bustle back into style. The skirts stayed long and tight, with a large amount of fabric gathered in the back. The 1890’s saw the disappearance of the bustle for good. At this time, skirts became plain, and the bodice was dressed up with frills and puffed sleeves. The popular “Pigeon Silhouette” of the Victorian era was born. The Edwardian Period was a time of ultimate femininity. The skirts became soft and flowing, and the hobble skirt became popular (What is). This was probably the most interesting part of my research, because I got a deeper look into the world of fashion.
The Queen’s Fashion
I now needed to know what Queen...