1890's1890's

Fashion in the 1890s in European and European-influenced countries is characterized by long elegant lines, tall collars, and the rise of sportswear. Fashionable women's clothing styles shed some of the extravagances of previous decades (so that skirts were neither crinolined as in the 1850s, nor protrudingly bustled in back as in the late 1860s and mid-1880s, nor tight as in the late 1870s), but corseting continued unmitigated, or even slightly increased in severity.

Fashion plate: evening gowns of 1892-1893 Madame Faydou and Her Children - 1897 Portrait of Catherine Vlasto - 1897 Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps-Stokes painted in 1897 by John Singer Sargent
Portrait - 1898 Fashion plate "La Mode Artistique" - 1899 "Bloomer Club Cigars": A somewhat silly 1890's cigar-box lid Portrait of Paul Wayland Bartlett by Charles Sprague Pearce - 1890

Early 1890s dresses consisted of a tight bodice with the skirt gathered at the waist and falling more naturally over the hips and undergarments than in previous years. The mid 1890s introduced leg o' mutton sleeves, which grew in size each year until they disappeared in about 1896. During the same period of the mid '90s, skirts took on an A-line silhouette that was almost bell-like. The late 1890s returned to the tighter sleeves often with small puffs or ruffles capping the shoulder but fitted to the wrist. Skirts took on a trumpet shape, fitting more closely over the hip and flaring just above the knee. Corsets in the 1890s helped define the hourglass figure as immortalized by artist Charles Dana Gibson. In the very late 1890s the corset elongated, giving the women a slight S-curve silhouette that would be popular well into the Edwardian era.

 

Changing attitudes about acceptable activities for women also made sportswear popular for women, with such notable examples as the bicycling dress and the tennis dress. For men's fashion, the overall silhouette of the 1890s was long, lean, and athletic. Hair was generally worn short, often with a pointed beard and generous moustache.