Victorian Dresses and Accessories

Laura Tolentino

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Victorian dresses are a great choice for women who wish to look their best. You can find a variety of styles to choose from. They range from those that are formal and regal to ones that are more casual and comfortable. The type of dress you select can have a major impact on how you feel about yourself, so take the time to consider the style of dress that is right for you. This will ensure that you look your very best when you attend a social gathering.


In the Victorian era, crinoline was the term used to describe the petticoats used to provide the fullness of the skirt. This garment was a type of stiff fabric, typically horsehair, linen, or cotton thread. Crinolines were made in different sizes, and were used to create the large, billowing skirts worn by women.

In the early 1800s, crinoline was a popular fashion item. It was also used to describe the hoop skirts worn by children.

The first petticoats were made of cotton or linen thread and horsehair. The fabric was shaped to fit around the wearer’s body and was layered. These petticoats could be heavy and uncomfortable. Some women would wear as many as six petticoats.


Gathers on Victorian dresses like from Salelolita were used as trimmings to give an elegant look. They were made using a ruched panel, a technique of assembling a band of fabric to make decorative frills.

These types of dresses were popular during the mid-1800s. They were often made in England, but were also popular in North America.

Gathers on Victorian dresses were used to create the illusion of a full skirt. Many dresses had a full hemline, or they had several layers of under sleeves. Some dresses had a v-neck.

Victorian dresses were made with a petticoat that was decorated at the bottom with embroidery or ribbon. A drawstring was attached to the waistband. It was usually finished with a button at the back.


Victorian dresses with fringes were traditionally elegant and refined. They were characterized by tight, well-fitted bodices. Many of them were trimmed with lace, braid, and fringe. The hemline would be long enough to touch the knees.

These eras also featured layered petticoats. A full skirt would be supported by a rigid frame called a crinoline. Some were even worn underneath doublets.

Victorian ladies wore gloves, hats, and fans. Purses were also common. These were usually made from colorful silks and cut-steel beads. Most were also embroidered.

Pagoda sleeves were wide at the elbow and wrist, and often had tassels. They were sometimes thought to be outdated. However, in the late 1840s, they became popular.


During the Victorian era, women’s hair was taken seriously. They wore elaborate combs and coiffures. Braids were used as a flourish. The style was inspired by Queen Victoria’s reign.

Until the 1870s, simple hairstyles were common. Updos were often braided and crimped. During the early 1870s, the first bustles were introduced. This raised the hair higher and the resulting look was a bit more dramatic.

In the late 1860s, more complicated styles appeared. Fancier dresses often included long decorative panels at the back. These were often trimmed with a silk braid.

Several updos were in fashion during this period, including the “Marcel Wave” which involved using a hot iron to curl the hair into a wavy updo. Bangs were also in style during this time.


If you are a fashion aficionado then you are probably familiar with the eponymous pelerine. Originally sported by both men and women, it is a short tuxedo style cape with a matching bolero jacket. As with many capes of the period, the fabric was loosely woven, resulting in a softly billowed, flowing silhouette.

While most pelerines today come in the form of a tuxedo style garment, the heyday of the era was a time when women strutted their stuff in a variety of dresses. The dress of yore was a thing of beauty, with the most popular styles being fitted and gathered bodices, bell shaped skirts, and voluminous sleeves. These were often finished off with the most laudable of lacings.


Victorian hats were a part of the clothing worn during this time period. Hats were important for a woman’s appearance as they could make or break a hairstyle. During the Victorian era, women’s hats were often trimmed with flowers, feathers, or ribbons.

Hats were also used as sun protection. The brim of a hat would usually be wide enough to protect a person from the sun. After the Civil War, sunbonnets became popular. They were especially useful for those who wanted to preserve a pale complexion.

Besides hats, women of the Victorian Era also wore bonnets. Bonnets were typically covered with netting or fabric to keep them on. These were not as elaborate as the fashions of the early 1800s, but they did feature a wide brim.