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Fashion

Articles on the latest trends in fashion were a staple of every Victorian woman's magazine. These were often lavishly illustrated, and sometimes offered patterns for the seamstress. Many such articles go into detail describing the types of fabrics, designs and colors involved in the latest fashions, making them a gold-mine of information for the researcher. This section offers articles on contemporary fashion (organized by year), and retrospectives on fashions of the "past" (i.e., pre-Victorian).


FASHION YEAR BY YEAR

Twenty-Three Years of Victorian Fashion
A standard feature in every volume of The Girl's Own Paper was its monthly fashion article. This series ran under several different titles: The Dress of the Month; Seasonable Clothing and How it Should be Made; Dress: In Season and In Reason (the longest-running title); Frocks for To-Morrow; and so on. Though GOP never ran to color plates for its fashion section, its illustrations were lovely throughout the 1880's; they began to decline in the 1890's, and eventually appeared to be simply taken from pattern covers. But the series as a whole offers a wealth of detail for the fashion researcher, as it discusses not only design and fabric details, but how fashions evolved and changed from one month or year to the next.
1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902

VICTORIAN FASHION TRENDS

The Costumes of Hospital Nurses (GOP 1890)
An exhibition of dolls demonstrating the dress of hospital nurses/sisters throughout the empire.
A Danish Society for "The Promotion of Simplicity and Modesty in Dress" (GOP 1890)
Rule #3 of membership states: "Without attempting to enumerate the many absurd inventions and devices of the changing fashions, we presume that everyone entering the association will understand for herself that she should not submit to them."
Dresses of Strange Material, by Raymond T. Reid (GOP 1896)
Dresses of glass, asbestos, and spider silk.
Family Clothing: What It Is and How to Buy It, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1883)
Hints on an Inexpensive Trousseau, by Aunt Margaret (GOP 1891)
Mourning Attire, by S.F.A. Caulfield (GOP 1881)
Some of the history of mourning attire, what is appropriate, and how to provide for others.
On the Purchase of Outfits for India and the Colonies, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1890)
What to pack if one is about to live abroad.
Our Beautiful Furs, and Where They Come From, by A.T. Elwes (GOP 1898)
Noteworthy for the pictures of the beautiful animals that contribute our beautiful furs!
A Vexed "Woman's Question," by Isabelle Fyvie Mayo (GOP 1887)
Whether it is worse to care too much, or too little, about one's attire, that is the question...
A Victim to Fashion (cartoon) (GOP 1894)
What Should We Afford for Dress? by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1889)
How to dress well on a modest income.
What Writers Have Said About Dress (GOP 1894)
A selection of quotes from various writers on dress and fashion.
Winifred's Wardrobe, by Josepha Crane (GOP 1895)
An exploration of how to build one's wardrobe on modest means, told as a story.

DRESS REFORM

The late Victorian period saw a movement toward more hygienic fabrics, and healthier clothing (i.e., no more corsets!). I've arranged these chronologically to illustrate the movement in dress reform.

Reform in Underclothing, by The Lady Dressmaker (GOP 1888)
A lovely article on "modern," healthy and sanitary undergarments, with lots of illustrations.
Recent Ideas on Dress Reform, by The Lady Dressmaker (GOP 1891)
This article has some fascinating statistics on the amount of pressure exerted by corsets, and their effect upon women's health.
The Latest Ideas on Hygienic Clothing, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1893)
The connection between clothing, fabric and health.
Aglaia: The Grace of Dress, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1894)
More on fashion reform and the evils of the corset.
Practical Points About Clothing, by "The New Doctor" (GOP 1898)
On the dangers of boots and corsets.

SPECIFIC ARTICLES OF CLOTHING & PATTERNS

The Aprons of Today (GOP 1892)
A Propos de Bottes (GOP 1892)
The proper care of boots and shoes.
Caps, by B.C. Saward (GOP 1892)
A variety of pretty caps and how to make them.
A Child's Dress Made Out of a Yard of Print... (GOP 1891)
Collar of Steel Beads and Velvet (picture) (GOP 1900)
The Dress for Bicycling, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1896)
Fashionable Bags and Their Uses, by B.C. Saward (GOP 1888)
How to make a variety of fashionable bags.
Hats of Today (GOP 1897)
Home-Millinery Up to Date, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1896)
How to design and decorate one's own hats.
How Dressing Gowns Are Made; How to Make a Gentleman's Dressing Gown (GOP 1881)
Morning or Dressing Jackets in Flannel, Silk or Cashmere (GOP 1900)
A Pretty Zouave Jacket (GOP 1900)
A Seamless Bodice, by Cousin Lil (GOP 1897)
A Servant's Wedding Outfit, by Maude Robinson (GOP 1891)
The cost of putting together a complete trousseau for a servant.
Some Pretty Hats (picture) (GOP 1900)
The Trousseau of Today (GOP 1900)
Two Charming Evening Wraps (GOP 1900)
University Hoods and How to Make Them (GOP 1880)
Winter Clothes and How to Make Them, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1880)
What to Do with a Wedding Gown (GOP 1892)
Tips on turning a wedding gown into a fashionable evening dress.
A Young Servant's Outfit, and What to Buy for It (GOP 1896)
Include a complete breakdown of costs.
See also Crafts for the Nursery for instructions and patterns for baby garments.

FASHIONS OF THE PAST

All About Gloves, by Emma Brewer (GOP 1892)
Apotheosis of the Pocket Handkerchief, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1898)
Coronation Robes of Our English Queens, by the Rev. T.F. Thiselton-Dyer (GOP 1902)
Fashionable Costumes of Long Ago, by Arden Holt (GOP 1880)
In Busk and Sandal (GOP 1896)
A history of shoes and shoemaking.

Magazine Abbreviations:
C = Chatterbox   GOP = Girl's Own Paper   S = The Strand

Copyright © 2014 by Moira Allen. All rights reserved.