Year 1870-1874


Coat/Jacket Semi-fitted, thigh-length, single or duble-breasted, high fastenings, narrow lapels, sleaves cuff or cuff less, flap and welt pockets, breast pocket, wool cloth.
Waistcoat Fitted, single-breasted, collarless, high fastening, welt pockets, silk or velvet, matching jacket.
Trousers Narrow, wool cloths.
Shirt High stiff collar and cuffs, wing collars, plain fronts, linen and fine cotton.
Colour Dark and subdued,  blue,  grey, brown, green,  black popular;  trousers jackets, and waistcoats often matching.
Accessories Top hats, bowlers, homburgs, cravats, bow ties, and neck ties, gloves, short boots, lace up  shoes, some spats, walking canes.


1872:  Sports and leisure wear. British. Country wear. two piece wool suit: single breasted jacket, fastening with self-fabric buttons from waist to under wide revers, hand stitched edges matching flap pockets and sleave hems: breeches gathered into a band under the knee. striped shirt, cravat. Short brown leather boots worn with beige leather gaiters. Brown bowler hat , leather gloves. (JP)






1871, Older girl's Skating suit. Lined heavy silk trimmed with Persian lamb and silk braiding. The overskirt which is pulled back in a bustle, is edged with petal shape scalloping called dagging.     * 1873 , Boy' skating suit wool trimmed with bands of Marten fur and silk braid. High boots trimmed with fur and a fur cap.    *


 1873,  Girl's pinafore and print dress.     *

 1873 Boy's  Outfit trimmed with silk braid consisting of  tweed jacket, vest, pantaloons and tam.  The tam is trimmed with plaid ribbon. Scottish plaids were highly popular  for both girl's and boys.      *






7.        An early 1870s gown featuring wide bell shaped sleeves worn with undersleeves that have a wide cuff. This day gown probably consists of three pieces, A skirt, bodice, and over skirt drawn up to form the bustle at the back. Her hairstyle is typical for this time. The hair was piled up on the top of the head and hairpieces were often used to provide extra bulk.

Comments By Kay Inverarity


1869 - 1889: Draped Skirts and Bustles

Skirts: very often in two layers: underskirt often trimmed at hem, overskirt is shorter and draped. Overskirt can be like an apron or divided like 18thC panniers.

1869 - 1874: simple knee length apron shaped draped overskirt. Occasional divided overskirts. Bustle silhouette is round ‘69-’72 and angular ‘73-’74.

1875 - 1876: silhouette narrows from hips down. Skirts usually one layer, trimmed to imitate two layers. Asymmetric drapery and trains common. Bustle slipping down.

1877 - 1879: slim silhouette. May be made in one piece to emphasise slim line. Drapery limited to back and at thigh level. Trains common and almost no bustle.

1880 - 1882: slim, two piece dresses with no train. Symmetrical drapery and pannier effect. No bustle. Fancy puffs and shirring common decorations.

1883 - 1886: bustle returns and grows larger. Asymmetric apron draping for overskirts.

1887 - 1889: large, horizontal bustle, reduces in 1889. Simple vertical effects, created of panels of contrast fabric or trim.

Skirts are fully lined throughout, occasional princess styles only lined to knee level.

Bayaleuse (dust ruffle) underneath hem, especially on trained skirts. Gored panels at front can be straight or gored at back depending on style.

Bodices: in 1869 they are short waisted but get longer through the 1870s, to where they extend over the hips (cuirasse bodice). From 1877 to 1882, bodices are long enough to form a tunic overskirt. Some are princess cut in the late 1870s. Bodices are close fitting and the front darts are far apart. A CB seam is introduced in the mid ‘70s to help create the close fitting shape. The curved back seams are less curved. From 1877 to 1882, the curved back seams butt the shoulder seam. Only armholes and edges are piped, piping as a rule ending around 1880. After 1882, 2 back seams curve into the armhole. Front fastening with large domed buttons in the early to mid ‘70s, then crochet covered or flat buttons late ‘70s. Small buttons in the 1880s. Boning on CF, front darts, side seams in the 70s, extending to the back seams in the 1880s. Petersham band attached to CB seam and fastening in front to help the fit. All bodices are interlined, with some princess dresses only lined to the hip.

Sleeves: coat style throughout period, having 2 seams. Moderately loose in the early 1870s with wrist trim. Large ruffles out of fashion by 1875. Get tighter through the late ‘70s into the ‘80s with small trim at the wrist. In the 1880s, "long" sleeves are actually 3/4 length, ending a couple of inches above the wrist. By 1889, the sleeve head starts to rise. Evening sleeves can be quite small to non-existent.

Deborah V. McKeown 1997



Where marked (JP) the Drawings and text by John Peacock from his book Men's Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook, 1996 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London. Reproduced by kind permission of Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Where marked * Picture and notes are based on notes from Dover Publications.