The photos I share with you today show the progression of women’s fashions during the 1870’s. This was a decade of taking the very full skirts worn by women for 40 years, and narrowing that skirt to fit more closely to the body, which was then eventually gathered into a bustle at the back, sometimes with a train. Multiple types of fabrics were sometimes used, and many decorations.
In our first photo the lady still wears the very full skirts familiar from the 1860’s, with possibly a hoop or crinoline skirts underneath. But notice the over-skirt, better known as a peplume. It is ruffled and fringed to match the bodice and sleeves of the dress.
In our second photo you can see quite a change – the large, bell-shaped sleeves have given way to modest sleeves. Our subject is handsome, her hair neatly braided, circling her head. She wears nice jewelry and carelessly holds her fan.
Photo number three is of a relatively young woman, but is a great example of the skirt pulled towards the back. It is narrow in the front (compared to the 1860’s – it still took 3-5 yards of material to make), and you can just see the gathering down the front, next to the chair.
Our fourth photo gives yet another example of the much narrower skirt. She wears a very warm fur jacket.
This photo has two great examples of bustles. I believe all that material gathered in back would make sitting difficult. Perhaps that’s why the two women appear to lean against the table.
A long train was adopted in the 1870’s. It was an objectionable fashion, as women complained it was inconvenient. But it was known for its gracefulness and beauty and thus it was worn.
How do you think the fashions of the 1870’s compare to those of the 1860’s? Which would you wear?
Categories: Old Photos