Fashion History Sessions: fashion history of the 1890s

This week, we will continue with our fashion history session by taking a look at the fashion of the 1890s.

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The 1890s saw a strong emphasis on individuality and expression in women’s clothing. Flowing skirts took the place of the petticoats and bustles of the earlier 1800s.

This change was a result of the additional liberties women had access to, such as those needed for sports and jobs, which called for a larger range of motion.

On occasion, ladies even wore bloomers instead of skirts, which was a brave choice given the debate surrounding women wearing trousers.

Corsets were frequently worn despite looser skirts allowing for more movement in order to create the desirable hourglass and S-shaped shapes.

Dresses and blouses frequently paired with jackets and typically had high necks and tight bodices. They had sleeves that reached the wrists as well.

The “leg-o-mutton sleeve,” a puffed sleeve, gained popularity in the early 1890s. Over time, this additional flare intensified, reaching its largest extent in 1895 before beginning to diminish in the late 1890s.

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Evening gowns kept the voluminous sleeves, but the elbow down left the arms naked. Necklines could be squared or rounded, and they were also lowered.

The larger Aesthetic Movement, which placed an emphasis on the artistic, graceful, and attractive, had an impact on these costumes.

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