Throughout the Victorian era, somewhere around the 1830s to 1900s, the Victorian inspired fashion consisted of different trends in the British culture that emerged and developed in the United Kingdom and the British Empire. It was a period that consisted in many fashion changes, but not only: architecture, visual arts and literature also changed.

Starting with 1905, custom and home sewing declined because clothes started to be made in factories while new machinery and textiles developed the industry.  The lock-stitch sewing machine enabled many applications that would have taken a large amount of time if done manually. It simplified the dressmaking.

Women’s Fashion In The Victorian Period

We all know how women used to wear gowns and dresses in the Victorian period. They had puffed sleeves, had simple forms and pale shades of colors. Corsets, petticoats and after, crinoline, were worn under the dresses to expand the size of skirts and dresses. The day dresses had high necklines and a solid bodice while the evening gowns were worn off the shoulders and had a very low neckline. Here’s a short timeline.

  • 1850s: The day dresses had a solid bodice while the evening gowns were worn off the shoulders and had a very low neckline.

  • 1860s: The day dresses had a high neckline with lace and pagoda sleeves while the evening gowns had low necklines and short sleeves. They were worn together with short gloves. Skirts started to be flatter at the front.

  • 1870s: Uncorseted tea gowns started to be worn at informal gatherings and crinoline was replaced by bustles. Women were now interested in slimmer dresses and style. They started to wear small hats over the forehead, styled with curls and hair volume.

  • 1880s: By the time women started to engage in manly activities such as riding and hunting, their style changed a bit. They wore matching jackets and skirts, a collared shirt and top hats with veils. When they went our for walks, they had long jackets and skirts and a small hat or bonnet.

  • 1890s: The last period of the Victorian era, women wanted tiny waist so they stopped wearing crinolines or bustles, which were replaced with “high collars, held in place by  collar stays and stiff steel boning in long line bodices”.
victorian inspired fashion


At that time, designers made real efforts in order to exaggerate the structure of gown and put an emphasize on silhouettes. While voluminous skirts and dresses held up with crinolines, worn with small hats and bonnets were then a focal point of the silhouette in the beginning, at the end of that era, the female body shape was an inverted triangle: large and wide-brimmed hats, puffed sleeves, flat skirts.


 How To Embrace The Victorian Inspired Fashion Trend

This historic period had a major impact on fashion around the world, and, speaking from today’s point of view, I can say that some essential statement elements from that period stuck throughout the years.  Keep one particular piece of the Victorian inspired fashion trend from this period and relate the rest of your outfit with this year’s trends. Let’s see which are the must-have Victorian inspired fashion elements to own!

#1 High-Collar Love

One of the Victorian inspired fashion’s most compelling fashion item is the high collar, a feminine, slightly elegant piece that offers both day and night options.  You can capture the Victoriana vibe by wearing a high collar shirt with a military buttoned jacket or with a fake embellished fur. Dresses with high collars are a lovely option for evening events.

Women’s Lanvin Ruffle Washed Techno Crepe Top 

“Frayed, raw edges add a sense of undone elegance to an Italian-crepe top fashioned with fluttery ruffles cascading down the front and back. A high stand collar and trailing neck-tie complete the look with graceful femininity.”

Lace-Panel Turtleneck Blouse

Guipure Lace & Jacquard Fit-And-Flare Dress

#2 Romantic Ruffles 

The return of the romantic ruffles: soft or dark tones on ladylike shapes. The perfect way to go vintage and Victorian, if you ask me. You can go casual and wear a serenity ruffled long-sleeve shirt with a simple pair of jeans, or you can go all chic and stylish by wearing a sheer ruffled black blouse like that of RED Valentino’s.

Blouse with Ruffles

“Straight-cut, long-sleeved blouse in woven cotton fabric. Stand-up collar, yoke with ruffle trim and rounded hem with slits at sides. Slightly longer at back.”


Women’s Rebecca Minkoff ‘Vibkeke’ Ruffle Tie Neck Dress 

“Sheer bishop sleeves and fluttery ruffles add feminine appeal to a dramatic, leg-flaunting dress that makes a high-fashion statement. Style the generous neck tie with a prim bow or leave the ends hanging for a cool-girl undone look.”

victorian inspired fashion


Stevie May Long sleeve High Collar Mini Dress in White

#3 Untouched Lace 

Another distinctive feature of the Victorian inspired fashion trend is the white and dark lace. The all-black lace clothes present Queen Victoria’s mourning period over her husband while the all-white looks present pure innocent women ready to wear their bridal gowns. Wear lace to express your purest feelings.

Valentino Lace Shirt

“Valentino’s lace shirt is brought to life in a mouth-watering shade of lime green. A pop of paper white at the collar and cuffs make it a fresh choice for summer”.

Petite Women’s Eliza J Bell Sleeve Fit & Flare Dress 

“An intricate lace overlay and dramatic ruffled bell sleeves add statement-making vintage style to a standout dress cast in a fit-and-flare silhouette.”

victorian inspired fashion


Reclaimed Vintage Long Sleeve Lace Shirt Dress

How to enjoy a romantic morbidity look? Wear an all-black lace outfit with dark lips and nails.

#4 Royal Rings

Sapphires, diamonds, gemstones, gold. This is how to commemorate a major Victorian inspired life event: wear it on your finger(s). For example, Victorian inspired fashion engagement rings feature a romantic sensibility and are considered to be true treasures. I am fascinated with them.

victorian inspired fashion


Treasure Box Ring

A gorgeous black gemstone detail, gold-tone finish, set on a slim shank is ready to be worn and treat you like royalty.

victorian inspired fashion


New Look Jewelled Ring Pack

Here are some eye-catching stones that sparkle on intricate queen-inspired rings for statement-making style.

victorian inspired fashion


Oasis Rose Quartz Pave Surround Ring

How about a rose quartz gold-tone finish, embellished with precious stones and diamante, set on a smooth shank? You will surely catch a fashionista’s eye with this one.


#5 Prints

Wether they are flower prints or some polka dots on a ruffled dress, they take you somehow to the Victorian inspired fashion period. This is one feminine trend that is framed on details and textiles. Included in these details are also some manners and virtue. A woman has to have them, don’t you agree?

victorian inspired fashion


Reclaimed Vintage Dress With Bell Sleeves & Frill Bottom In Ditsy Floral Print 

victorian inspired fashion


Reclaimed Vintage Maxi Tea Dress With Wrap Front In Organic Floral Print 

victorian inspired fashion


Reclaimed Vintage Ruffle Maxi Dress With Lace Up Front In Polka Dot 

These Victorian moods and vibes have collapsed on every major catwalk from Paris to New York. Think about the dark goddesses in Alexander McQueen‘s presentations (two words: Savage Beauty), or the romantic ruffles of RED Valentino‘s shirts and dresses, that evoke a more sensual side of the Victoriana. So, we’ve got the dark side queen and the romantic one. You can choose a side or you can be both.

The Victorian inspired fashion era was and still is filled with sensibility and beauty, even on darker shades, and adds a sense of aristocracy to every look inspired from this period. That being said, God save the Queen!

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Feature image: pixabay.com

By | 2021-02-24T21:50:58+02:00 February 25th, 2016|Style|

About the Author:

Always an optimist. ♥ to travel, the sun, the sound of waves colliding, the smell of old books, unusual bright colors, reading in bed, black & white photography and vintage decorations. Hate mediocrity.