Girl's Historical Clothing: Chronological Listings--the 1890s

Figure 1.--This English portrait is undated, but we believe was taken in the 1890s, probably the late 1890s. It was taken at a summer vacation beach resort.

The corseted 'hourglass' look was very fashionable. Women's dresses had destinctive mutton-leg sleeves which become increasingly pronounced. The fashion sensation of the day was the shirtwaist. Instead of the voluminous dresses with hoop skirts or bustles as in earlier decades, young women began wearing comfortable cotton shirt waists and simole skirts, well above the ground. This was at the time a liberating look and the struggle for women's sufferage began in earnest in the 1890s. The look was imporalized by artist Charles Dana Gibson and his Gibson girls. Dana especially liked drawing them in shirtwaists. It is possible to date the style with considerable perscission, although of course not every women wore the latest fashion. Dress and shirtwaist sleeves at the beginning of the decde tended to be tight around the arm, but at the shoulder small, vertical, puff became popular. Lerger puffs extending to the upper arm appeared in 1892. Even wider puffs were used in 1893. The puff continued to grow in 1894-95.and becomes stiffer. The largest puffs were notted in 1896. Women's dress sleeves by 1897 had become quite narrow once more with only a light puff at the shoulder. Sleeves by 1898 were quite long and tight with a well rounded puff high up on the shoulder. Of coursre another complication was that other dress styles worn, not every woman wore dresses with puff sleeves. Another popular style was bishop sleeves. Shirtwaists became popular. Outfits had a full look in front, using both pleats or puffs. Older gils wore the tailor-made two-piece outfis with blouses. A reader tells us about "delineator-style" dresses, we assume that relates to the Delineator Magazine which carried patterns. The dresses have a tight-to-the-body waist starting near the hips and extending up just under the arms, loose frock-like sleeves and tight wrist bands. Their white gloves do not cover the wrist band portion of the dress. The skirt portion is loose and generous. They wear a hat that looks like it is made of a woven material, dark color, and somewhat shiny. The hat has a shallow rise over the head, is flat topped and has a flat brim of about 4 to 6 inches in width.


About 1890: Plain and plaid dress: American brothers and sister

1890s: Museum recreation of work house dress English boy and girl

1890s: Pinafores: English school children

1890s: Toddler dress: American girl or boy

1890s: Ringlet curls: American brother and sister

1890s: Little girl's print dress: German girl with her brother

1890s: Fashionable dresses: Austrian girls

Early 1890

Early 1890s: Sailor dress and suit: English brother and sister


1890: Checked pinafores and dresses: American twin sisters

1890: Dark dress and short hair: American girl

1890: Blue velvet dress: French girl


1891: Adult-styled dress: German girl



1893: Teenage dresses: American family


1894: Girl's print dress: German girl with her brother


1895: Girl's dress: American girl with her brother

About 1895: Suits and dresses: American youths

About 1895: Suit and baloon-sleeve dresses American children

1895: Dress and black collar: American girl


1896: Girls hats and dresses: Swedish children

1896: Girls scarves and dresses: Russian pessant children


1897: Children's stocking supporters: American catalog


1898: White smock dress: Canadian girl


1899: Folk costumesAlsatian styles

Late 1890s

Late 1890s: Pinafores and sailor outfits with ringlets: Canadian family


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Created: 8:03 AM 6/28/2004
Last updated: 5:42 AM 6/9/2016