Victorian blouses are often seen in movies and television shows that are set in the late 1800s; however, they didn’t appear in regular dress during the entire Victorian era. In fact, Victorian blouses sprang up as a response to the Victorian Dress Reform movement. Women were tired of wearing the cumbersome and painful bustles and hoop skirts, and eventually the corset was refined into a model that was less excruciating that still gave ladies a flattering figure. Suffragists were the first women to adopt this improved corset, but its comfortable structure soon made it more appealing to women as a whole. Without this corset, women felt more liberated to begin wearing newer, looser clothes.

Victorian blouses were not in style at all until the reformed corset made these looser clothes more fashionable. Around this time, women were becoming more educated and adventurous job-seekers. Some women would even partake in what was traditionally men’s employment, like coal-mining or machine-working in factories. This work was dangerous because of the long skirts that society expected women to wear, but these women were able to wear trousers under their skirts and hike them up during work to move around better. Because no skin showed, while the trousers were unorthodox, they were not offensive.

Because women slowly but surely were making their way into the workforce, they needed a professional wardrobe to match. And that’s where the Victorian blouse first makes an appearance. These blouses were easy to wear, delicate and detailed, and also lightweight enough to take on potential business trips. Women could also modify their Victorian blouses to mirror a sort of men’s business suit, which appealed to women who wanted desperately to be a part of the men’s working world. By the 1900s, Victorian blouses had fully worked their way into the dress of most women and was far more acceptable every day dress than it was at the beginning of the Victorian era.

Recollections handcrafts Victorian blouses for every style. From beadwork to ribbons and lace, we have every style imaginable. We even have the matching hats and skirts, so you can make your Victorian fashion dreams come true. Begin your search for the perfect Victorian blouse here!

Post updated 9/10/2020