Clothing and Fashion of the 1800s

Mention nineteenth-century fashion and most people think of hoop skirts, bustles, bloomers and bonnets. Few would think of blue jeans, yet riveted Levi”s were indeed part of the fashion scene from about midcentury. One might not think of turbans, either, but the fashionable nineteenth-century woman adored them, donning a wide variety from early in the period on.

Too, fashions came and went as fast as the mini-skirt, leg warmers and bell bottoms of today. Make sure your characters are at the height of fashion. Here are some examples of ”Popular Fashion” during this period:

  • adelaide boots: women”s fur-topped boots, popular from 1836 to 1837.
  • alberts: side-lacing half boots with cloth tops and faux mother of pearl buttons on the front
  • bang-up: an overcoat
  • bavolet: a frill attached to the back of a bonnet to protect a woman”s neck from the sun
  • caba: a small handbag
  • capote: a puff bonnet with stiff projecting brim around the face, from 1800 on
  • Eton jacket: a short coat worn by women, from 1862 on
  • gibus: a top hat capable of being squashed flat and carried under the arm, from the 1840s
  • limerick gloves: kid gloves, worn from 1870 on
  • pagoda: a popular parasol in 1818
  • rationals: women”s bicycle bloomers, from the 1890s
  • Zouave jacket: woman”s bolero-like jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves, fashionable from 1860s through 1870s.

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