Fashion in the 1880s

The 1880s marks the Second Bustle Era.  A bustle is a cage or padding worn over the buttocks to make the rear of a dress project outward.  They were designed to help skirts maintain their shape throughout the day and help carry bulky fabric gathered at the back of a dress.  Bustles reached their largest proportions in the mid-1880s before falling out of fashion.

Let’s examine some other fashion trends from the 1880s.

Women’s Fashion Trends

  • Velvet was a popular fabric for winter dresses.
  • Women wore combinations, a camisole attached to drawers, under their corsets.
  • Hair was pulled back and worn with bangs.
  • Skirts narrowed.
  • Collars grew higher and more fitted.
  • Day dresses featured as many trimmings as evening gowns – lace, ribbons, bows, etc.
silk dress is from 1885

A silk dress from 1885 with a bustle

Men’s Fashion

Men wore three-piece suits – trousers, waistcoat and jacket – but their fashion choices were little changed from the decades that proceeded and would follow.  One exception is the introduction of sportswear.

“The blazer, in particular, became quite fashionable for wear at the seaside or for sports such as rowing, tennis, and cricket,” Fashion History Timeline says. “The blazer, a single-breasted lounge jacket, often made in brightly colored stripes, was usually paired with light colored flannel trousers for such occasions.”

Facial hair of all varieties was in style.

beard trimming chart from 1884.

Beard trimming chart from 1884.

Where to Purchase The Unmarriable Kind

The Unmarriable Kind by Melina Druga

The Unmarriable Kind by Melina Druga

This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s historical fiction novella, The Unmarriable Kind.

Lucretia, an opinionated school teacher, wants no part of marriage. The new headmaster champions change. Will they ever see eye to eye?  Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover.  Full list of retailers.