Know your Victorian looks
I realize this is a bit outside my century of specialty, but it warrants a look nonetheless!
These are probably the three most well-known fashions of the Victorian period. In each of the decades of the Victorian era, one or two features was/were especially exaggerated.
The crinoline was a broad, bell-shaped style of hoop skirt; the skirt’s breadth was the exaggerated feature. Toward the middle of the 19th century, it had grown wider and more graduated, but then began to grow thin again by the mid-1860s. American Civil War buffs will recognize this style right away. For this particular gown, I tried to cram two styles together just for the purposes of demonstration. So you have the flouncy wide collar, but also the bell-sleeves with military-style knots. The flouncy collar was more typical of day or ball gowns, while the military stylings were more popular with outdoors wear, such as walking jackets and riding clothes, that would have been made of heavier fabric. The military stylings became very popular on such garments; some even went so far as to have lacing up the front and even stylized epaulets embroidered on the shoulders. Julia wears her hair in a very typical style, parted in the middle and rolled up into a fine hairnet in the back.
The crinolette was a somewhat short-lived style of half hoop skirt. It was as if they cut one side off the crinoline and put that in the front. If you’ve ever seen Anna and the King, the character Anna wears a crinoline and a crinolette at times. Note how the waist is beginning to grow longer and thinner. With the crinolette, the slope of the -ahem- backside was exaggerated.
And of course the crinolette led directly to the bustle. The one I’ve depicted here is called the Canfield style of bustle frame, but there were several different kinds, some of which were shaped like a bell jar with the middle actually curving inward before curving outward again at the bottom. Rolls of fabric were worn both under the skirts and on top of them, the latter in decorative folds and drapes. Note how long the torso has become and how thin the waist. The waist’s length and thinness, and the -ahem- backside were the exaggerated features in this style. The color of this dress is of particular notice; Julia is wearing a shade of magenta, a mauveine aniline, one of the first synthetic chemical dyes ever discovered (1856), which quickly became popular in ladies’ fabric.
Special thanks to juliassundial for allowing me to borrow her beautiful Victorian time-traveler, Julia Elderslie, as a model!