Despite the prim and proper feminine ideal of the day, fashions of the Victorian period created an often exaggerated, ostentatious look. Tight corsets, gigantic hoop-skirts, and outrageous bustles make today’s fashion trends look sedate by comparison.
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Clothing styles were dictated by propriety, and stylish garments were a sign of respectability. The copious amounts of fabric used in the creation of Victorian skirts usually meant that most women owned few outfits.
Detachable collars and cuffs enabled a woman to change the look of a garment for a bit of variety. Of course, wealthier women owned more garments that were made of finer fabrics and used more material and embellishments.
Women’s hair was generally worn long, caught up in a chignon or bun. In the 1840s, ringlets of curls hung on either side of the head. In the mid-19th century, women drew up the side hair but let it hang in long, loose curls in back, and crimping became popular in this period.
Here is a set of amazing daguerreotypes that shows styles of Victorian girls from the mid-19th century.