Exploring the Fashions of Victorian Times: A Look Back at What People Wore

Exploring the Fashions of Victorian Times: A Look Back at What People Wore


The Victorian era, which spanned from 1837 to 1901, was a time of great change and innovation. It was also a time of elaborate fashion and clothing styles. In this article, we will explore the fashions of Victorian times, taking a look back at what people wore during this fascinating period in history.

Women’s Fashion

During the Victorian era, women’s fashion was characterized by its elaborate and restrictive nature. Women wore multiple layers of clothing, including chemises, corsets, petticoats, and hoop skirts. The hourglass silhouette was highly valued, with women cinching their waists tightly with corsets to achieve the desired shape.


Dresses during the Victorian era were often made of heavy fabrics such as silk, satin, and velvet. They featured intricate embellishments such as lace, ruffles, and embroidery. Necklines were typically high, covering the chest and collarbones.


Women accessorized their outfits with gloves, hats, parasols, and fans. Jewelry was also an important part of Victorian fashion, with women wearing necklaces, earrings, and brooches made of pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones.

Men’s Fashion

Men’s fashion during the Victorian era was more understated compared to women’s clothing. Men typically wore suits consisting of a coat, vest, shirt, and trousers. The suits were tailored to fit closely to the body and were often made of wool or tweed.


Hats were an essential accessory for Victorian men. Popular styles included top hats, bowler hats, and boater hats. Men would often wear their hats as they went about their daily activities.


Men also wore accessories such as pocket watches, gloves, and ties. Pocket watches were a symbol of status and were often passed down through generations as family heirlooms.

Children’s Fashion

Children’s fashion in the Victorian era followed similar trends to adult clothing. Young girls wore dresses with puffy sleeves and frilly skirts, while boys wore suits with short pants and jackets. Children’s clothing was often made of soft fabrics such as cotton and linen.


Footwear for children during the Victorian era consisted of sturdy leather shoes with low heels. Boots were also popular, especially for boys.


Hairstyles for children were often simple and practical. Girls’ hair was typically kept long and styled in braids or simple curls, while boys’ hair was short and neatly combed.

Social Influences on Fashion

Victorian fashion was heavily influenced by social norms and conventions. Women were expected to dress modestly and elegantly, while men were expected to present a respectable and polished appearance. The clothing choices of individuals were often seen as a reflection of their social class and status.

Changing Trends

As the Victorian era progressed, fashion trends began to shift. The emergence of new fabrics and technologies allowed for more varied and affordable clothing options. Women began to wear more practical and comfortable clothing, moving away from the restrictive corsets and hoop skirts of earlier decades.

Impact of the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution had a significant impact on Victorian fashion. Mass production of clothing became more widespread, making fashionable clothing more accessible to a larger portion of the population. This led to a democratization of fashion, as people from all social classes could now afford stylish clothing.


The fashions of Victorian times were elaborate, intricate, and highly influenced by social norms and conventions. Women’s clothing was characterized by its restrictive nature and elaborate embellishments, while men’s clothing was more understated and tailored. Children’s clothing followed similar trends to adult fashion, with an emphasis on comfort and practicality.

As the Victorian era progressed, fashion trends began to shift, reflecting the changing social and economic landscape of the time. The impact of the Industrial Revolution led to mass production of clothing, making fashionable clothing more accessible to a larger portion of the population.

In conclusion, the fashions of Victorian times offer a fascinating glimpse into the clothing styles and social influences of the era. From elaborate dresses to tailored suits, Victorian fashion remains a source of inspiration and fascination for fashion historians and enthusiasts alike.

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