Dressing the Victorian Girl of the 1890s

by Joanne Haug
Victorian dress

When the end of the nineteenth century approached, simplicity was the keynote in dresses for young girls. The large gigot sleeves of the mid-1890s were replaced with a sedate narrow sleeve. The two seam sleeve had a slight gathered fullness at the top. At times the design was given a dressy touch by fanciful sleeve-caps that stood out broadly from the shoulders. Bodice yokes were filled with insertion lace with a matching high collar. At times a double ruffled frill would outline the yoke. A popular style had an unadorned waist joined to a gored skirt, plain and smooth at the front and sides, but with a graceful gathered fullness at the back. In 1899, The Delineator recommended poplin, India silk, cashmere and dimity for a young girl's dress. Decorative trimmings noted were quillings of ribbon, lace or embroidered insertion, braid or lace frills.


1. A dress for a girl or young miss has a blousy bodice with a smooth square yoke outlined with a bertha collar. The three piece skirt has a gathered flounce sewed to it in tablier outline. The ruffles extend to a gathered center back. The Delineator, 1899.

2. A young girl is dressed in a frock with a five gored skirt that is gathered at the back. A silk sash encircles the waist with a large bow to the back. The V shaped yoke is outlined with oblong revers that flare on the shoulders. The Delineator, 1899.