11/24/2008

Fashion of the week - Ladies in walking dresses, 1883

(Yes, my last three posts, this included, has been in the wrong order - I hope you can forgive me. Sometimes I'm not more than human!)

This is a picture from the French fashion magazine La mode illustrée, printed in 1883, which shows two ladies in walking costumes - even though they are, for some odd reason, in an indoor setting.

These dresses are a part of the bustle-era, the time when the shape of the dresses were rather slim and narrow, except for the upper part of the skirt where the bustle made them wider than any other part of the clothing. This was achieved through both the skirt and its folds and excess fabric, but also through the undergarments that had special support to hold this up - literally. Later on the skirt would be somewhat wider, but they are at this stage still narrow, and could be somewhat hard to walk fast in - but since all proper ladies should walk in a proper pace it was not considered a real problem.

That it is walking costumes shown here is clearly shown by the cut of the upper half of the clothing, they are wearing jackets and head-wear that definitely signifies outdoor-wear. They are also wearing gloves, as any lady venturing outdoors should (well, there and when going out to parties too - as can be seen in one of the earliest chapters of Little Women when two young ladies are going to a party, but only have one proper pair of gloves between them - that scene was set earlier than this, but the habit had not died out).

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