The Influence of Victorian Fashion on Modern Day Clothing
Women during the Victorian Era were known for wearing heavy, modest dresses that covered them completely. These stiff, voluminous frocks were incredibly restrictive, and certainly weren’t designed with the comfort of the wearer in mind. Although it’s difficult to imagine wearing such clothing in today’s fast-paced world, there are still distinct and prevalent ways in which Victorian fashion has influenced modern clothing. From elegant fabrics to daring design details, you can still find influences from the Victorian era in today’s fashions.
Clothing created for high-society women during the Victorian era was manufactured from some of the world’s most opulent and luxurious fabrics, such as silk, satin, velvet, and lace. Today, the runways of many high-end fashion designers are still dotted with these decadent, expensive fabrics. The famous fashion houses of Alexander Wang, Oscar de la Renta, and Viktor & Rolf even used velvets and duchesse satins as a staple in some of their most recent collections. These fabrics are also prevalent in mainstream streetwear. A velvet blazer or a flouncy lace blouse are pieces that would made any modern woman look decidedly on-trend. However they also maintain a Victorian elegance. Even after all of these years, women still feel beautiful when wearing opulent fabrics.
Corsets and Boned Bodices
During the Victorian Era, women wore corsets under their clothing to create the appearance of an exaggerated hourglass silhouette. Made of stiff “stays,” these undergarments were tightly laced to cinch a woman’s waist to make it look as small as possible. While modern women are no longer required to wear these oppressive and restrictive pieces, the concept of the corset is still a mainstay in many modern garments. Now, designers often use “boning” to create structured bodices. Although they are currently made of plastics and other synthetic materials that were not around in the mid-19th century, you’ll still find highly structured bodices on ballgowns, wedding dresses, and other high-end eveningwear. Lace-up panels are also frequently used in ready-to-wear collections and are reminiscent of the lace-up detail that first appeared in Victorian corsets.
Wedding Dress Designs
Perhaps the most obvious place that Victorian Fashion has an influence on modern fashion choices is when it comes to bridal gowns. Before the wedding of Queen Victoria in February of 1840, women rarely wore white or ivory on their wedding day. After the young Queen walked down the aisle and married her prince, however, everything changed. Suddenly, Victorian women wanted their wedding day looks to resemble that of this fashionable member of the royal family. The tradition of brides wearing white began and remains an important component of modern bridal fashion. Queen Victoria’s wedding dress was a billowing satin ballgown with lace appliques and dazzling details. The open neckline, full skirt, and long train are still prevalent in many bridal designs that brides shop for and wear in the modern era. Even her accessories - a long veil and a glittering tiara - are still popular elements. Although her wedding took place nearly 200 years ago, Queen Victoria’s wedding dress still remains relevant and influential.
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