Year 1880-1884


Jacket Fitted, narrow shoulders, single-breasted, high fastening, small collar, narrow lapels, fitted sleaves with or without cuffs, braided edges, piped pockets, patch pockets, wool cloths.
Waistcoat Fitted, single-breasted, collarless, high fastening, silk, plain wool cloths.
Trousers Narrow to hems; plain wool cloths.
Shirt Stiff stand collar and cuffs, plain fronts, linen and fine cotton.
Colour Dark and subdued,  blue,  grey, brown, green;  trousers jackets, and waistcoats matching.
Accessories Top hats, bowlers, caps, cravats, bow ties, and neck ties, gloves, ankle boots, lace up  shoes,  spats, walking canes.



1881:  "Paddock" jacket. Matching Waistcoat, trousers, and bowler hat. Fawn wool jacket with small collar over a  matching waistcoat, with medium-gray trousers and a bowler hat. Stand up shirt collar and ascot.     *







 4.       This woman wears a gown from the mid 1880s, it consists of a polonaise with a ruched front panel worn over a tiered skirt. There appears to be a hard line just below the knee, which may indicate that she is wearing a crinolette with an incorporated bustle to support her gown. The Hairstyle is typical of the 1880s. The use of rustic settings became very popular at this time. The opera, The Mikado produced in 1885, helped to popularise all things Japanese, hence the oriental parasol.

Comments By Kay Inverarity


13.     This woman is handsomely dressed in a beaded gown with a matching shoulder cape c1880-84. Note the long cuirass bodice and the very tubular shaped skirt with a minimal bustle and no train. Trains became unfashionable for daywear in 1880.

Comments By Kay Inverarity


16.  A young woman wearing a day gown from the early 1880s. The use of decorative ruched panels was a popular feature between 1878 and 1883.

Comments By Kay Inverarity


17.    Another early 1880s gown showing the popular long cuirass bodice and tied-back tubular skirt. This gown has an over drape edged with chenille fringing and a vertical ruched front panel on the under skirt. She wears a severe hairstyle that was common at the time. Lockets on heavy decorative chains are commonly seen in photos of the early1880s. The item in her left hand is the handle of a parasol.

Comments By Kay Inverarity


  15.      A woman in a gown dating from about 1883, the skirt is still very tubular. She now has a luxuriant fringe, a fashion that continued throughout the 1880s and 90s.

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-existant.

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.