37 Beautiful Vintage Photos of Victorian Ladies From the 1840s to 1860s


Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

LoriAnn

Retired User
Joined
Oct 9, 2015
Messages
6,473
#3
How in the world did those women get around with dresses that full? They take up a lot of space.
I bet they knocked stuff over left and right. That's what I'd do, I'm sure. Vases, chairs, children.

Interesting music selection. :thumbsup: I feel like the thread title should be read in an exaggerated smooth jazz voice:

"Beauuuuutiful vintaaaaage photooooozzzzz..."
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
2,148
Location
Boonville, MO
#5
I bet they knocked stuff over left and right. That's what I'd do, I'm sure. Vases, chairs, children......../QUOTE]

I thought the same thing, that's why the furniture was massive, so the dresses wouldn't bulldoze them out of the way.

When did the bussel, (bustle? What ever gave the women the rather prominent rear end), come into fashion. I thought it came into fashion after the CW.
 

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
10,698
#9
Do the bustle! (do do do dodo dodo do do...)

Adding to what Lorna said, here's an 1880s wire bustle:

1880bustle.jpg
1880sbustle.jpg


Source

I've worn one for a day, but I didn't have support like what's pictured here. My back was very sore the next day. I wonder if this little wire number would have helped.
I think if you were wearing a tightly laced corset, that might have taken the strain off you back. You probably weren't laced tight enough.:eek:
duo.jpg
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 4, 2015
Messages
2,148
Location
Boonville, MO
#10
I think if you were wearing a tightly laced corset, that might have taken the strain off you back. You probably weren't laced tight enough.:eek:
duo.jpg
No wonder every house had a fainting couch.
So when a woman ate..........did she gave to unlace the corset?

There's just so much wrong with that fashion.
 

Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
10,698
#11
No wonder every house had a fainting couch.
So when a woman ate..........did she gave to unlace the corset?

There's just so much wrong with that fashion.
There is a lot wrong with that fashion and it caused all kinds of physical problems, from circulatory to childbearing to distortion bones and more. I am sure it probably caused emotional issues as well, if you couldn't get your figure to the desired shape. As to eating, women were not encouraged to eat much, at least until they were married. They would go to those ten course dinners and perhaps eat a spoonful of each course.
 
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
3,148
Location
Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
#12
The above corset photo is extremely exaggerated, but the corset did perform the function of transferring the weight of petticoats and hoops to the pelvic girdle instead of the waist. The modern backpack does the same with its wide padded hip belt and back stays, transferring the pack weight almost completely from the shoulders and upper back to the hips. For more info see http://www.originals-by-kay.com/corsetry/

In the collection were some 1840s (tight sleeves, low waist) and 1850s (over all very fancifully decorated with lots of ruching and wide collars) dresses, too. The pagoda sleeve was very fashionable in the 50s but continued into the early 60s. The dresses with coat sleeves and narrow collars were definitely Civil War era. About 1864-65, skirts became fuller at the back, and by 1865 the gored skirt came "in." By the end of the war, those of us with wide hips and too much tummy started having fitting problems! Within a year or two, skirts tight across the front and with "butt bows" (modern term) in the rear became popular, closely followed by the first bustle era in the late 1860s. Anyone my age who remembers how fashion went wild just after World War II--well, the same happened after the Civil War.

All the above information is thanks to a local workshop I attended a few years ago.

Those were all dressy dresses--nothing utilitarian about them. Those ladies were probably quite rich and had dresses with less full skirts (and smaller hoops) for things like supervising the servants at housework, which is probably as grubby as they would get. Women who had to do their own housework/farm chores couldn't have afforded these lovely dresses anyway. Their newest dress would be for Sundays and social occasions; they might have an older one for daytime at home, and their oldest dress would be for really messy chores. The poorest women felt lucky to have one dress at a time.

Thank you, Belle, for finding this!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Messages
663
Location
Manassas VA
#14
Somewhere here on CWT (maybe I found it somewhere else) is a contemporary video of a woman showing how ladies back then used a chamber pot all gowned up in hoop skirts, bustles and petticoats. There was a real trick to doing it properly with out having to remove the major garment parts. It's really entertaining.
 

LoriAnn

Retired User
Joined
Oct 9, 2015
Messages
6,473
#15
Somewhere here on CWT (maybe I found it somewhere else) is a contemporary video of a woman showing how ladies back then used a chamber pot all gowned up in hoop skirts, bustles and petticoats. There was a real trick to doing it properly with out having to remove the major garment parts. It's really entertaining.
You are correct ~ it was here. :smile: It's probably somewhere in the Ladies Tea forum.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Messages
663
Location
Manassas VA
#18
Here are some Southern ladies pictured with me at the most recent "Civil War Days" in Manassas City two years ago. This annual event was not held last year due to public outcry and the regretful decision the Manassas City manager had to make to cancel it. Hopefully it will happen again this August. It's a fantastic 3 day event and there's always a huge turn-out. And plenty of port-o-potties for all!!! It's held on the grounds of the Manassas Museum at the end of August. P4020002.JPG P4020003.JPG P4020005.JPG P4020007.JPG P4020008.JPG P4020012.JPG P4020013.JPG If you click on the images they will enlarge
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
2,243
Location
44022
#20
Here are some Southern ladies pictured with me at the most recent "Civil War Days" in Manassas City two years ago. This annual event was not held last year due to public outcry and the regretful decision the Manassas City manager had to make to cancel it. Hopefully it will happen again this August. It's a fantastic 3 day event and there's always a huge turn-out. And plenty of port-o-potties for all!!! It's held on the grounds of the Manassas Museum at the end of August. View attachment 186105 View attachment 186106 View attachment 186107 View attachment 186108 View attachment 186111 View attachment 186112 View attachment 186113 If you click on the images they will enlarge
Those are beautiful! Hopefully they will have it this year. Too bad some Americans have somehow twisted the war between the states as "offensive" when there is still SO much to be learned from it...especially today!
 



Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top