When I think of Victorian fashion, I think of this:
I think of a super-corseted dress contraption with hoop skirts and bustles. I think of Scarlett O’Hara and her sixteen inch waist.
But in doing a bit of research, I’ve realized that the clothes my characters would have worn in 1893 are not huge, scary, circus tent-looking dresses.
By the 1890s, the crinoline skirt (that hoop-skirt looking thing) had disappeared (probably because no one could figure out how to sit in it?) as did the bustle.
|Crinoline cage. It supported the heavy skirt.|
But the sleeves in the 1890s were spectacular: they flared out on top and were fitted under that. They were called leg o’ mutton sleeves.
|Evening gown, 1893.|
Women also began to wear shirtwaist blouses and skirts.
They also began wearing tea gowns, which were looser dresses meant for staying indoors. They didn’t require a corset.
At the time, big design houses included the House of Worth, based in Paris. In 1893, Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon opened Maison Lucile as her first store for her own fashion house, Lucile. She was famous for designing lingerie, tea gowns, and evening wear and her clients eventually grew to include celebrities and royalty. Lucy Duff Gordon was a passenger on the Titanic.