A timeline of fashion

I love timelines showing changes of fashion through time. It’s a very interesting subject, and gives a very good overview of what types of garments were worn when. Especially silhouette has gone through a lot of changes. Although several such timelines exist, I decided to make my own! It’s focused on 19th century fashion, but with a slight expansion of +- 20 years in either direction to give a little context. I started off with +-10 year increments, but it switches to 5 years from the 1870’s on because I felt with 10 years some silhouettes would be skipped. I focused on day-wear. As I’m not a very good artist, I shamelessly traced all silhouettes from fashion plates. I chose fashion plates over extant examples or portraits because they show the ideal silhouette and shape of that time. The originals can be found here, all credit goes to the original artists of course.

And this is what it turned out like, click for full size!

Silhouette change timeline web

And, for those who are interested, a write-up of the changes.

1780-1791: During this time, the width of the skirts starts to narrow, transforming from a wide shape to a more rounded one with emphasis on the back. The general silhouette of the bodice stays largely the same, with fitted sleeves.

1791-1798: A time of a lot of turmoil, which is reflected in a dramatic change in silhouette. The waistline rises to just below the bust, bodices are generally gathered and where before the torso was a conical shape, the bust is now lifted. Skirts are gathered from the waistline, still quite full and sleeves stay fitted.

1798-1811: The waistline stays roughly where it is, but the gathered bodice disappears mostly in favor of a smooth fit. The skirts become less full, now gathered only at the center back. Although fitted sleeves still exist, puffed sleeves make an entrance.

1811-1823: From about 1820, waistlines start to drop, although still above the natural waist. The puffed sleeve is here to stay and growing bigger. Skirts become more A-lined, with more fullness at the bottom.

1823-1830: Waistlines slowly drop to the natural waist. Sleeves continue to grow, becoming epic in size. The onset of the sleeve is low on the shoulder. Skirts keep widening at the bottom, becoming fuller and a little shorter.

1830-1840: The giant sleeve disappears, but fullness at the lower sleeve still exists. Sleeves still start low on the shoulders. Skirts become a little longer again, and are full and bell-shaped.

1840-1852: Skirts continue to grow, with a bell-shaped form. The onset of the sleeves rises a bit back up the shoulders.

1852-1861: The cage crinoline is invented in 1855, allowing skirts to grow to epic proportions. By 1860 the skirts are becoming slightly elliptic in shape, with an emphasis on the back.

1861-1870: The emphasis on the back of the skirt continues to grow, while the circumference of the skirt starts to become less. 1870 marks start of the first bustle era. The waist is just a little above natural.

1870-1875: The bustle keeps growing for a while, but around 1875 it starts to drop into a low sloping line back from the waist marking the beginning of the natural form period. Trains are all-abundant.

1875-1881: The bustle keeps getting lower in the back, until it’s nearly gone in 1879. From that time on, a small new bustle starts to appear high at the back. The bodices start to become even curvier.

1881-1885: From about 1882, the second bustle era starts as the bustle keeps growing bigger. Around 1885 it’s at its largest.

1885-1890: During this period the bustle starts to shrink again, being nearly almost gone around 1890. While before sleeves for day-wear were fitted, a slight puff starts to appear.

1890-1895: The bustle disappears completely and skirts start to widen from the waist. The hourglass figure becomes exaggerated. Sleeves keep growing quickly until they’re huge in 1895.

1895-1900: The giant sleeves disappear again, although a slight puff still exists. Skirts become slimmer giving emphasis on the waist-hip ratio. The ‘pigeon-breast’ makes its appearance, the bustline is quite low but with a strong emphasis on the waist.

1900-1905: Not a lot of change happens. A slight puffed sleeve still appears and the pigeon-breast silhouette is at its peak.

1905-1910: Changes are happening again. The emphasis on the hourglass figure quickly disappears for a straight silhouette. Sleeves are fitted again, with a smooth skirt.

1910-1915: Waistlines rise slightly for just a bit, fit across the bodice is becoming looser. Skirts start to shorten.

1915-1920: Hemlines keep rising and the waist drops to the high hip. The silhouette becomes straighter and straighter, with very little waist emphasis.

1920-1925: Waistlines drop even more, and hemlines rise. The silhouette is almost perfectly straight in the late 1920’s.

 

Black bustles

Time for pretty pictures again, this time of black bustle dresses. I’d guess ranging from ca. 1875 to ca. 1885. All from La Mode Illustree. Beware of a very image-heavy post, because I’m bad at choosing. They’re placed chronologically, so you can see the progress in styles from big and fluffy to sleek to the revival of the bustle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration – Early bustle ball gowns

I’ve been looking at early bustle period (ca. 1870-1876) ball-gowns lately, inspired by the theme of next-years Victorian ball in Bath (organized by Prior Attire). Because even though I don’t exaclty live in the same country, I’d still very much like to go. Don’t know if it’ll happen, but looking at inspiration images is fun non the less! Most of the 1870’s ball gowns are a little too frothy for my taste, as I don’t particulary like the combination of pastels with loads of ruffles and frills, but there are some nice examples out there.

These fashion prints are from the Bunka Gakunen Library, and I really love the way these were coloured. They all seem hand-painted with watercolors, little art pieces.

Beware of loads of pictures! Clicking should give the full-size version.

 




























Inspiration – Regency bodices

Time for another inspiration post! In the past, I made a visual guide to regency sleeves which are more/different than the ‘short puffed’ style most commonly recreated. For necklines, the most commonly recreated are probably the plain square and round neckline, followed by an overlapping v shape. This seems right, as most originals also follow this paradigm, but there’s a lot of room in terms of decoration and details to make a dress more unique! Living in an age where clothes have decidedly less detailing than in previous era’s, we tend to gravitate towards putting on too little trim. If you’ve ever seen existent dresses from this era, you’ll notice that even though the silhouette and design are simpler than say Victorian, there’s still a great attention to detail. Of course, while the general shape is often determined by the pattern used, most pattern companies leave out options for trimming because there’s just too many. So you need to come up with your own details, which can be difficult. For me, looking at images ‘from that time’ always helps a lot, so I hope people can get a little inspired by this to create something ‘different’. All images are from the ‘Journal des Dames et des Modes’, between 1805 and 1810. I might do another one of these for 1810-1815 if people are interested. Source for the images is the online archive of the Bunka Gakuen Library.

Loads of variety, from trims, to collars, to ribbons, flowers, pleating, scarfs and even fur!

 

Mid 19th century girls

A lot of Victorian fashion plates show children along-side the women. This makes sense, as many mothers probably made clothing for their children as well as for themselves. I never really paid them much attention as I always focused on the adult dresses, but they’re actually rather nice! I don’t know of many historical seamstresses who sew for children, but there is just something about little girls with huge skirts. So for this post, girl’s clothing from the 1860’s.

Some fashion plates are even only for children:

10

11

12

13

14

 

But there’s loads more, in plates with adults. For this post, I sought them out.

1b

2b 3b

 

4b 5b

 

7b 8b

 

16 17

 

18 19

 

20 21

 

9b

22 23

24 25

26 29

 

27 28

 

Inspiration – Blue Natural Form

Another inspiration post. I started looking for images for this post with the idea of selecting any blue natural form fashion plate dress I liked. Apparently, that wasn’t specific enough, as I was finished with over 25 images. So for this post, my favorite dark-blue natural form fashion-plate dresses. Maybe I’ll do a light blue version later…

 

Inspiration – Blue bustle gowns

I’m busy working on my regency dress, and it’s actually starting to look like something! No pictures yet though, but working with the lovely blue fabric is amazing. It’s such a lovely shade, and it catches the light in a very sublte way which makes it change color, it made me think of the color of the sea. A bit blue, a bit gray and a hint of green somewhere.

So as I don’t have any pictures yet, I was inspired to do a post on blue dresses. And because there’s so many amazing blue bustle gowns, a focus on the 1880’s.

Some deep-blue dresses from the period:

Metmuseum

William Benton Museum of Art

 

Metmuseum

Metmuseum

 

And some blue/white seaside dresses in fashion plates:

 

And one extant example:

Metmuseum

Inspiration – Journal de la mode et du goût, 1790

I recently stumbled upon these lovely fashion plates from 1790, which appeared in the magazine ‘Journal de la mode et du goût’. Fashions from France, in the beginning of the revolution. You can clearly see this from the high amount of white/blue/red fabrics used, the colors of the revolution.

Now, pretty pictures!