There’s getting to be a slight chill in the air so it got me thinking about how my Victorian friends might have dressed to keep warm when they were outside. We’ve all seen pictures of women’s gowns with wide puffy sleeves. The sleeves were so big that they could not fit into the sleeve of a coat. So during the 1840s and 1850s Victorian women wore cloaks.
Sleeves were tailored to be sleeker by the 1870s. Dolman jackets, coats and capes gained popularity as outerwear. The 1880s required a high cut back to make room for the almighty corset and a long cut in the front to mimic a longer coat. On the longer coats, the center back was open from the waist to the hem to accommodate Victorian bustles. Ties were sewn into the back waist so the center back of the coat would fit snuggly. The large roomy sleeves were usually adorned with fringe or fur, and on occasion, feathers. By the 1890s, the jacket and sleeves became more form-fitting.
Women of the upper class often wore Kashmir shawls or Paisley shawls. These were often given as a wedding gift and were considered to be quite fashionable. They were made of wool or silk with patterns woven in or printed on them. Most shawls were embellished with long fringe.
Fur muffs were also very popular during the Victorian era. During the early part of the 19th century, ladies’ winter bonnets were often made of felt or animal fur. Stylish hats replaced bonnets by the late 1800s. These hats were typically decorated with fur. The fedora hat was also a popular style during the Victorian era.
Sources: Call Me Cordelia and High Victoriana