Fabulous Photos Depicting Women Fashion from the 1890s

Ever wondered what your great-great-grandmother wore to impress? The 1890s were a time of exciting changes in women’s fashion. It was an era of elegance, where ladies aimed to look both graceful and stylish. Let’s take a peek into their wardrobes!

The Hourglass Figure

The most striking thing about 1890s fashion was the emphasis on an hourglass figure. This meant a tiny waist, accentuated by full hips and a bust. Ladies achieved this look with a corset, a tight-fitting undergarment that shaped the body. It might not sound comfy today, but it was the key to the fashionable silhouette of the time.

The Shirtwaist

One of the most popular items in an 1890s lady’s closet was the shirtwaist. This was basically a blouse that looked a bit like a man’s shirt, but with feminine touches like lace or frills. It was practical for everyday wear and could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Think of it as the 1890s version of your favorite T-shirt!

Elegant Gowns for Special Occasions

For parties and other special events, women donned beautiful gowns. These were made of luxurious fabrics like silk or satin, and often featured elaborate details like embroidery or beading. The skirts were full and flowing, and the necklines were usually high. Imagine twirling around in one of these dresses – you’d feel like a princess!

No 1890s outfit was complete without a hat. Ladies wore all sorts of hats, from wide-brimmed ones adorned with feathers and flowers to smaller, more casual styles. The hat was not just a fashion accessory, but also a symbol of status. A well-dressed lady was expected to have a hat to match every outfit.

Hair, Makeup, and Accessories

In the 1890s, women preferred natural hairstyles and makeup. Hair was usually pulled back into a neat bun or chignon, with a few loose curls framing the face. Makeup was minimal, with just a touch of powder and rouge to add a healthy glow. It was all about enhancing natural beauty.

To complete their look, women added accessories like gloves, parasols, and handbags. Gloves were a must-have for any respectable lady, and they came in all sorts of materials and colors. Parasols were not just for shade – they were also a fashion statement. Handbags were small and dainty, often made of beaded fabric or leather.

The 1890s were a fascinating time for women’s fashion. It was a time of transition, with new styles emerging and old ones fading away. But one thing remained constant: the desire to look and feel beautiful.

#9 Lady with hair ornament. Identified on reverse as Edith May Smock, Fairfield, Iowa

#11 On the reverse “Annie Johnson”, G.H. Young studio, Chicago

#12 On the reverse “Mae Pearson”, Mercer, Pennsylvania

#14 Studio portrait of young woman, Chicago, Illinois

#18 Woman in fancy dress, Singhi Studio, Binghamton, New York

#19 Woman in winter attire, Sunbeam Gallery, Peoria, Illinois

#20 Woman with glasses, Providence, Rhode Island studio

#22 Young woman in springtime, Sunbeam Gallery, Peoria, Illinois

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Written by Rachel Mitchell

Rachel Mitchell is a vintage fashion enthusiast with a passion for all things retro. She is interested vintage fashion styles, trends, and accessories, and provides tips and tricks for incorporating vintage pieces into modern wardrobes.

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