Victorian Dress 1855-1860

Victorian dressThe mid-nineteenth century lady was a vision of elegance and grace in a beautiful Victorian dress lavishly trimmed with frills, flounces, lace, braid, fringe, ruche and ribbons. The fashion conscious Victorian lady created this appearance with a mysterious combination of the "uncomfortable and inconvenient" with the "frivolous and decorative." Numerous heavy petticoats, layers of underclothes, a metal hoop skirt, tight corsets worn under-pointed boned bodices of whalebone and steel were hidden by an array of ornately accented undersleeves, collars, pelerines, fans, gloves, hats, and parasols. The finished look was of elegance and grace with an illusion of ease and comfort.




This 1850s silk Victorian dress has the sloping shoulders and wide pagoda sleeves typical of Victorian era clothing. The full skirt measures over three yards around.


Victorian Shoes

Soft kid side-lace boots were worn outdoors. While indoors, Victorian ladies wore heeled flat shoes or slippers. These ivory kid boots, a style of Victorian shoes, have a Philadelphia label.



Victorian crinoline

Layers of Victorian underwear, including a chemise, drawers, corset and several petticoats, were worn by mid-19th century women. Before the invention of the “cage” crinoline, a lady would wear as many as a dozen starched and flounced muslin petticoats to support the full skirts of her Victorian dress. Later, to accommodate the growing wide skirts of her Victorian gown ladies donned a wired cage or hoopskirt.







Chemisettes, trimmed with handmade lace and embroidery, were worn as an ornamental under-bodice in the mid-Victorian era. The front and back were unconnected at the sides.


victorian dress

Separate undersleeves, often decorated with lace or broderie anglais, were worn with the wide pagoda or bell-shaped Victorian dress sleeves of the mid-nineteenth century.


Victorian shoes


Slipper Patterns

Time and again ladies’ fashion magazines, such as Godey’s, printed color patterns for day or evening slippers secretly hidden beneath the flounces of a Victorian dress.

victorian hat

Victorian Hats & Bonnets:

During the mid-19th century ladies’ Victorian hats were made in every imaginable color. Below a silk bonnet is created with brown silk and decorated with purple silk ribbons; added red and yellow flowers complete the colorful Victorian hat.

victorian hat



In the Victorian era, silk parasols were popular for strolling. Often they were decorated with lace, fringe, and tassels. This silk parasol has a folding or "carriage" handle.



reticuleVictorian Purses:

The fashionable lady during the Victorian era carried a small reticule or purse, often made with colorful glass beads or cut-steel beads. This very unusual French purse or reticule is knitted with colorful silks and decorated with silver cut-steel beads.



Antique Shawls:

Large colorful cashmere shawls or black lace mantillas were fashionable in the Victorian era.  They were cut full in order to accommodate the wide skirts of a Victorian dress; some could measure nearly 11 feet wide.



victorian men
edwardian clothing
1920s Clothing
regency clothing