Reviving the Glamour of 1890s Women’s Fashion

If you are a fan of period fashion, you might find yourself drawn to the glamour of 1890s women’s fashion. During this era, women wore flowing robes, delicate lace, and memorable silhouettes. With its blend of practicality and elegance, 1890s women’s fashion embodied the spirit of a time when society was changing. Today, many people are looking for ways to revive the glamor of this bygone era.

Reviving the Glamour of 1890s Women's Fashion
Reviving the Glamour of 1890s Women’s Fashion

The Fashion Scene in the 1890s

The fashion trends of the 1890s were largely influenced by societal changes and the advancements in textile technology. During this decade, women’s fashion shifted from the previously popular bustle and crinoline silhouette to a more hourglass shape. Women’s fashion in the 1890s was also marked by the color and pattern of fabrics used, which included floral patterns and hues such as lilac, rose, and green.

The Influence of Societal Changes

The Victorian era, which spanned from 1837 to 1901, marked a time of great societal changes that had a huge impact on women’s fashion. The rise of the middle class, the increasing number of women gaining an education, and the suffragette movement all contributed to the shift in fashion during the 1890s. Middle-class women were no longer confined to household duties but were also engaging in social and cultural activities outside the home. This shift required more practical and comfortable clothing.

The suffragette movement also played a role in shaping women’s fashion during the 1890s. Women began to break away from the strict fashion norms that symbolized the female submissiveness of previous generations. This led to the adoption of looser clothing that allowed for greater freedom of movement.

The Advancements in Textile Technology

In addition to societal changes, advancements in textile technology also had a significant impact on the fashion scene of the 1890s. Synthetic dyes were invented, making it easier to produce and dye fabrics in a wider range of colors. This, combined with the introduction of the sewing machine, mass production, and ready-made clothing, allowed more women to participate in fashion trends.

The invention of the innerspring corset also marked a turning point in women’s fashion during the 1890s. This corset was lighter and more flexible than previous corsets, and it helped achieve the fashionable hourglass shape while providing more comfort to women who wore it.

Elements of Women’s Fashion in the 1890s

Women’s fashion in the 1890s was characterized by the elegance of long dresses, full skirts, and tight-fitting corsets that accentuated the natural curves of their bodies. Below are some of the most popular clothing items and accessories of the time that made women look stunning.

Clothing Items

During this time, dresses were the most common outfit for women, and they came in different styles and designs. The following are the variations that were popular in the 1890s:

  • The Shirtwaist dress – was a loosely-fitted dress that flattered the figure by creating a narrow waistline, thereby giving prominence to the bustline
  • The Gibson Girl Dress – also known as the “s” curve silhouette dress, was a popular design created by artist Charles Dana Gibson that emphasized the bust and hips and tapered at the waist
  • The Tea Gown – was a dress worn during tea parties and other informal occasions that featured loose, flowing sleeves and a long skirt with a train
  • The Princess Dress – was a long, fitted dress that had a seam at the waist that opened into a full skirt


Accessories were significant in complementing the elegant dresses worn by women during the 1890s. The following are the most common accessories that every fashionable woman must-have:

  • Corsets – were worn to create an hourglass shape and were tightened by laces to reduce the waistline.
  • Bustles – were used to create an illusion of a more prominent bottom part by adding padding to the back of the dress
  • Hats – were an essential accessory that depicted a woman’s social status, and the bigger the hat, the more prominent her social class
  • Gloves – were worn as a fashion statement and as a sign of good manners
  • Shoes – were high-heeled, pointed, and had a narrow toebox to give the feet an elegant look

In conclusion, women’s fashion in the 1890s was a mix of elegance and sophistication. The clothing items and accessories were designed to accentuate a woman’s natural curves and create an illusion of an hourglass shape. Today, many designers are bringing back the 1890s fashion trends, and we can see them on the fashion runways and the streets.

Reviving 1890s Women’s Fashion Today

As fashion trends continue to evolve and cyclical fashion continues to make a comeback in modern society, it’s no surprise that the glamour of 1890s women’s fashion has made a resurgence. With vintage and retro styles being all the rage, fashion enthusiasts around the world are now incorporating elements of 1890s fashion into their modern wardrobe to create a unique look that pays homage to the past while still staying updated for today’s society.

Why the 1890s?

The 1890s was a time of elegance, extravagance, and glamour in women’s fashion. The fashion of the time was heavily influenced by the Art Nouveau movement, which was characterized by intricate floral patterns, long flowing lines, and vibrant colors. Women’s clothing during the 1890s typically included corsets, bustles, long dresses, and plenty of ruffles and layers. This era marked a significant shift from the more restrictive Victorian era fashion, and this newfound sense of freedom and self-expression has made this era of fashion popular even today.

How to Incorporate 1890s Women’s Fashion into Your Modern Wardrobe

Whether you want to go all out and create a full 1890s outfit or simply incorporate a few elements of the fashion into your modern wardrobe, there are plenty of ways to embrace the 1890s women’s fashion trend.

  1. Corsets: Corsets were a staple of women’s fashion in the 1890s. While they may not be practical for everyday wear anymore, corsets can still be incorporated into modern outfits as a top or as a dress.
  2. Bustles: Bustles were a key part of 1890s fashion and added volume to women’s dresses at the back. Modern interpretations of this trend include adding a petticoat or skirt crinoline under a dress to add volume or wearing a draped skirt with ruffles at the back.
  3. Layers: The 1890s was a time of layered clothing, and this can still be adopted into modern fashion. Whether it’s through layering tops or wearing a dress over a blouse, experimenting with layers and textures can create a unique 1890s inspired outfit.

Accessories can also play a significant role in emulating the 1890s fashion. Incorporating a pair of lace gloves, a parasol, or a wide-brimmed hat into a modern outfit can give a nod to the fashion of the past without being too overwhelming.

Where to Purchase 1890s-inspired Clothing and Accessories

Are you fascinated by the stunning fashion trends of the 1890s era and looking for ways to add these timeless pieces to your wardrobe? Here are some tips on where to find authentic and reproduction pieces of 1890s women’s fashion:

Vintage Clothing Stores

If you want to own a piece of 1890s history, start your search at vintage clothing stores. These shops offer unique and rare finds that are original pieces from the 19th century, in addition to vintage reproduction pieces. You can find everything from undergarments, corsets, bustles, and dresses, to accessories such as gloves, hats, and jewelry.

Specialty Stores

Specialty stores that reproduce vintage clothing offers a comprehensive range of 1890s-inspired pieces. One of the leading specialty stores is Recollections. They create unique and beautiful pieces inspired by the fashion trends of the late 1800s. They’re popular for their historically accurate designs and use of high-quality fabrics. You can shop their collection online, or in-person at their Michigan-based boutique.

  • Recollections: A well-known specialty store that features vintage-inspired clothing.

Online Retailers

Shopping online makes it easy to find a wide array of 1890s-inspired pieces. Many retailers offer dresses, corsets, jackets, and accessories that are perfect for a 1890s-inspired outfit. Some online stores cater specifically to vintage-inspired clothing, such as Unique Vintage and Victorian Trading Co.

  • Unique Vintage: Offers a wide variety of 1890s-inspired clothing, including dresses, tops, and skirts.
  • Victorian Trading Co: A vintage-inspired website that features clothing, home decor, and gifts from the 19th century.

DIY Reproduction

For those who are crafty, consider making your 1890s-inspired clothing and accessories. There are several resources available to guide you through the process of sewing your period pieces. You can purchase patterns for dresses, corsets, and undergarments at craft stores or online. Joining historical costume groups on Facebook will also be helpful and allow you to connect with others who share the same interest.

Reviving the glamour of the 1890s fashion era into your modern wardrobe is an exciting and creative way of expressing your eclectic style. With these tips, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the unique fashion trends of the time.

Caring for Your 1890s-inspired Clothing and Accessories

As delicate and vintage fabrics and materials were mainly used in 1890s-inspired clothing and accessories, you must be careful in handling and preserving them to ensure that they stay in good condition and last for many years to come. Here are some tips to help you care for your 1890s-inspired clothing and accessories:

1. Washing and Drying

When it comes to washing vintage clothing, hand-washing is always the safest bet. Avoid using harsh detergents and bleach. Instead, opt for a gentle detergent and soak the item in cool water for a few minutes before washing. Also, avoid wringing the item too hard or hanging it out to dry in direct sunlight. Instead, lay it flat to dry on a clean towel in a shaded area.

2. Ironing and Steaming

Ironing or steaming 1890s-inspired clothing and accessories requires a gentle touch. Always use a low or medium heat setting and a pressing cloth to avoid scorching or damaging the fabric. Avoid ironing or steaming lace, as it is extremely delicate and can easily warp or stretch.

3. Storing

The best way to store vintage clothing is by hanging it up in a cool, dry, and dark area. However, keep in mind that hanging items with delicate fabrics for too long can cause them to stretch out of shape. For that reason, you can also consider folding fragile clothing and storing it in padded acid-free boxes or drawers. Do not store vintage clothing in plastic bags, as it can cause moisture to build up and damage the fabric.

4. Cleaning and Restoration

If your 1890s-inspired clothing or accessories need cleaning or restoration, it is best to seek the help of a professional. They have the necessary training and skills to handle delicate fabrics, materials, and stitching, and will be able to ensure that the item remains in top condition.

5. Additional Care Tips

Here are some additional tips that will help you to preserve your 1890s-inspired clothing and accessories:

  • Always wear undergarments to protect the clothing from sweat and oils.
  • Avoid using hairspray or other products while wearing vintage accessories, as they can cause damage to the fabric or metal.
  • Use caution when removing or putting on vintage jewelry and accessories, as they can be fragile and easily damaged.

The Impact of 1890s Women’s Fashion on Today’s Society

The 1890s were a time for statement fashion, particularly for women. From corsets that accentuated the hourglass figure to voluminous skirts that required a bustle to maintain their shape, the fashion of that time was not for the faint of heart. However, despite the extreme nature of the clothing, it has had a lasting impact on modern-day fashion and society as a whole.

Reviving the Fashion of the 1890s

Reviving the fashion of the 1890s is an opportunity to pay homage to the women who bravely challenged societal norms and expectations. By embracing the voluminous skirts, intricate lace, and corseted waists, modern-day women can celebrate the strong women who came before them.

  • Make a Statement: Reviving the fashion of the 1890s is a way to make a statement about what is important to you. It’s a chance to stand for the empowerment of women, both then and now.
  • Bring Attention to Important Issues: Wearing the fashion of the 1890s can help bring attention to important issues facing women today. By dressing in a way that is reminiscent of the women who fought for their rights, we can keep their legacy alive and push for continued progress.
  • Embrace Your Feminine Side: The fashion of the 1890s was incredibly feminine, from the voluminous skirts to the delicate lace details. Embracing this style is a way to celebrate your femininity and feel confident in your own skin.

Overall, reviving the fashion of the 1890s is not just about wearing pretty clothes. It’s about honoring the women who came before us and continuing the fight for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The fashion of the 1890s was about more than just clothes. It was a statement of strength and empowerment for women, and reviving that fashion is a way to continue that legacy.” – Anonymous

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Answers
What was the fashion trend in the 1890s? The fashionable style for women in the 1890s was the Gibson Girl look which featured a high-necked blouse with a long, flowing skirt and a tailored jacket.
What were the materials used for women’s clothing in the 1890s? Women’s clothing in the 1890s was made of heavy materials such as wool, silk, and velvet. Lace was also commonly used to embellish the clothes.
How did women accessorize in the 1890s? Women accessorized their outfits with gloves, hats, and parasols. They also wore jewelry such as brooches, bracelets, and necklaces.
Was corset wearing popular in the 1890s? Yes, wearing a corset was popular in the 1890s as it was seen as essential for achieving the hourglass figure which was fashionable at the time.
Why is the fashion of the 1890s considered glamorous? The fashion of the 1890s is considered glamorous because of the emphasis on elegance and sophistication in women’s clothing, as well as the opulent materials and elaborate details used in the outfits.
Can women incorporate 1890s fashion into their wardrobe today? Yes, elements of 1890s fashion such as high-necked blouses, long flowing skirts, and tailored jackets can be incorporated into a modern wardrobe to create a chic and sophisticated look.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed exploring the glamorous world of 1890s women’s fashion! It’s fascinating to learn how such a fashionable epoch is still relevant in the fashion world today. Don’t hesitate to visit us again to learn more about fascinating topics related to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.

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