Victorian Era Fashion | 1840-1855

As you may or may not have noticed I read too many historical romances. And being a reader you tend to develop a sort of attachment to what you are reading about. I mean not just the people, their surroundings as well. From Georgian era to World War period, I’ve read historicals from every setting but I’ve come to love the Victorian period most of all. It’s not just the clothing that I undoubtedly admire. It’s the time of boom, a time when the old and the new merged. New inventions, new discoveries. I think it’s the period that changed a lot of things for us.

Victorian Era refers to the years of Queen Victoria’s reign which lasted about six decades! She ruled from 1837 until her death in 1901 and a number of fashions came and went during that time. Historians have divided this era’s fashion into different time periods. Pre-Hoop Era, the first of them is what I present to you today.


Pre-Hoop Era 1840-1855

By this time, the ladies of the upper crust society were going through three different dresses each day-morning gown, day dress and the evening gown. And let’s not forget the riding habits and walking dresses! After all you can’t ruin the hems of your pretty gowns with mud and such.

Quilted petticoat 1840

Quilted Petticoat, c. 1840-45

Before the invention of crinoline, the  bell-shaped skirts of dresses were achieved by number of petticoats. Usually horsehair went into the making of these petticoats; cane and padding was also used for stiffening. According to reports, women wore about six petticoats at a time.

Muslin dress, c. 1845

Muslin Evening Dress, c. 1845


Silk Gauze Evening Dress, 1855

The morning dresses were a simple affair, NOT to be worn in public! The sleeves of the day dresses were narrow and the neckline high as compared to the alluring plunging necklines of the evening gowns that showed off the neck, shoulders and decolletage. Over the period there was a gradual change as the sleeves became wider and the skirts even more so with the additional help of flounces!

Jacket 1855

Canezou, c. 1855

Of course there were numerous added accessories.Like the sheer fabric canezou above, worn over the bodices. Or spencers, purses and parasols!

Wedding Dress 1830s

Ivory Satin Wedding Dress, 1830s

Wedding Gown 1838

Silk Wedding Gown, c. 1838

I know there was only a small society that enjoyed this kind of excess whereas the large part was suffering but since the focus is on the clothing let me just go on rhapsodising about it! I couldn’t help but add these two wedding dresses from the late thirties! Imagine the amount of silks, satin, laces and whatnots that must have gone into making all these gorgeous gowns! Those sleeves though!

I had a lot of fun looking for all the stuff I used here! It makes me wish to my heart’s core that I could time travel and experience all of it personally! I would also like to mention an amazing lady Carol Cork of Rakes and Rascals, whose post Victorian Fashions actually inspired me to do this post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. So until the next part! 🙂 Love,


Images Source: FIDM Museum & Galleries

Feature Image Source: Truly Victorian


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