Ladies dress modestly, in good taste and in soft, feminine colors crowned with beads, laces and ribbons. It was frowned upon otherwise. A lady’s hair is generally concealed by a hat.


The bustle returned to fashion and reached its greatest proportions from 1886–1888, extending almost straight out from the back waist to support a profusion of drapery, frills, swags, and ribbons. The fashionable corset created a low, full bust with little separation of the breasts.  The fullness over the buttocks was balanced by a fuller, lower bosom, achieved by rigid corseting, creating an S-shaped silhouette. Skirts were looped, draped, or tied up in various ways, and worn over matching or contrasting underskirts.  Collars that were very high and banded were very popular. Long, jacket-like fitted bodices were also popular for daywear.

Evening gowns were sleeveless and low-necked, and were worn with long over the elbow or shoulder length gloves of fine satin, lace, leather or suede. Choker necklaces and jeweled collars were fashionable.

Artistic or Aesthetic dress remained an undercurrent in Bohemian circles throughout the 1880s. In reaction to the heavy drapery and rigid corseting of mainstream fashion, aesthetic dress focused on beautiful fabrics made up simply, sometimes loosely fitted or with a belt at the waist. Aesthetic ideas influenced the tea gown, a frothy confection increasingly worn in the home, even to receive visitors.


1892 Evening Wear

In the 1890s, women’s fashion became simpler and less extravagant; both bustles and crinoline fell out of use and dresses were not as tight as before. Corsets were still used but became slightly longer, giving women a slight S-curve silhouette. Skirts took on a trumpet shape, fitting closely over the hip with a wasp-waist cut and flaring just above the knee. High necks and puffed sleeves became popular with the decline of the bustle.

Sportswear for women, such as bicycling dresses, tennis dresses, and swimwear became popular.

Dresses, 1909

In 1897, the silhouette slimmed and elongated by a considerable amount. Blouses and dresses were full in front and puffed into a “pigeon breast” shape of the early 20th century that looked over the narrow waist, which sloped from back to front and was often accented with a sash or belt. Necklines were supported by very high boned collars.


Skirts brushed the floor, often with a train, even for day dresses, in mid-decade. Around 1908, the fashion houses began to show a new silhouette, with a thicker waist, flatter bust, and narrower hips. By the end of the decade the most fashionable skirts cleared the floor and approached the ankle.

Hair and Millenery

Edwardian Hats (1901-1910)

Hair as usually pulled back at the sides and worn in a low knot or cluster of ringlets; later hair was swept up to the top of the head. Fringe or bangs remained fashionable throughout the decade, usually curled or frizzled over the forehead. Bonnets resembled hats except for their ribbons tied under the chin; both had curvy brims.

Huge, broad-brimmed hats were worn in 1905, trimmed with masses of feathers and occasionally complete stuffed birds (male hummingbirds for those who could afford them), or decorated with ribbons and artificial flowers. Masses of wavy hair were fashionable, swept up to the top of the head (if necessary, over horsehair pads called “rats”) and gathered into a knot. Large hats were worn with evening wear.By the end of the decade, hats had smaller drooping brims that shaded the face and deep crowns, and the overall top-heavy effect remained.

Victorian Fan, River Junction

Source: Wikipedia