Shop Victorian Dresses
The reign of Queen Victoria spanned 64 years. During that time frame, much like a Hollywood celebrity of today, she set the style standards. Whatever the Queen wore, everyone else wore. Throughout this period, many styles were in and out of fashion. Just as a pendulum swings, styles went from one extreme to the next. This was especially evident in Victorian era dresses.
In the beginning of Victoria's reign, dresses were characterized by their restrictive elements. A limited range of movement was available to the wearer, as tight sleeves and low boned bodices. Sleeve and skirt size gradually began to increase. In the mid-1850s, when the crinoline was reinvented, skirt sizes reached massive proportions. Hoop skirts proved to be a hindrance and were considered unpopular by the end of the 1860s.
In the late 1860s, the first bustle skirt was introduced. Skirts were narrow in the front. The excess fabric of the hoop skirt era was piled up atop the bottom. Sleeves became slightly narrower at the time, though not as tight as previously. As the era progressed, skirts and sleeves became increasingly narrower to fit to the natural form of the wearer. The bustle packed one last punch in the 1880s, leaving forever at the end of Victoria's reign.
Mourning dresses were a large part of Queen Victoria's reign. After her beloved husband Prince Albert died in 1861, Victoria wore black mourning dresses for the rest of her life. She set the standard for other women in mourning. It was the duty of a woman to represent the loss through her dress and customary for a widow to mourn for 2 years. Mourning dress didn't just involve the dress, but all aspects of the ensemble. A mourning veil would be worn to cover the face, while black jet jewelry decorated the neck, wrists and ears.
Here at Recollections, we have Victorian dresses for every trend of the era. We have mourning bustle dresses, calico hoop skirt dresses and natural form dresses. All of our dresses are available in sizes XS to XXXXL and made in the USA. Our associates are available to answer any questions you have about fit or historical accuracy. We can't wait to make your first (or next) Victorian dress!