by Allison Paul
from the Almonte Centennial Issue, July 30, 1980.
was the "bustle period" in ladies fashion.
hundred years ago was known as the bustle period in women's fashions.
The first bustles of
this period about
(1870-1890) was large
pads, stuffed with wool and worn behind, just below the waist, under the skirt.
The idea behind the bustle was to push the skirt out.
In the 1870's through
to the 1880's dresses consisted basically of tightly corsetted bodices with
skirts flattened in the front and puffed out behind.
However, there were
four years from 1878 to 1882 when dresses were tight all the way down with a
train at the back.
Elegant dresses were
heavily trimmed with ribbon, paste spangles, tinsel, lace, bows and flowers.
Dresses of this period
became extremely colourful. Often they were made of three or four different
Sleeves were plain or
puffed out above the elbow into what was called the leg-of-mutton sleeve.
During the day the
blouse and skirt were worn and in the
evening dresses were low-necked
with ballooned elbow sleeves or else sleeveless.
Laced or buttoned boots
were popular and black stockings were usually worn.
Women also wore long
white frilled .drawers which were quite inconvenient.
An outside patch pocket
in skirts became a new fashion during this period.
The Princess dress had
a fitting bodice which continued down like a tunic, making an over-skirt.
All fashionable skirts
were double or draped or
trimmed to imitate an
However, at the end of
the 19th century skirts
were plain or flared.
There was one
comfortable dress which was allowed indoors, the Teagown. Caps were imperative
Some skirts in the
1880's were designed for exercise and these were fully pleated behind and had no
coats were worn outdoors. Later on in this period knickerbockers became the new
fashion for ladies for exercise and sport. A short coat
and a small felt hat was
worn with them.
During this period hair
was piled up on the
head and hung down the
back of the neck,
Hats became more
fashionable than bonnets and from 1893 to 1897 decorative combs or ornaments
of osprey or heron feathers were worn in the evening.
Homburg hats were the
fashion for men during this period.
These hats were soft
with a dent in the
The waistcoat was also
a part of men's fashions. This was sleeveless except for the type worn by some
workers and later railway porters.
At first the waistcoat
had a collar and lapels but these were discarded in the 1870's and it was then
known as a straight waistcoat.
Like the coats, it
could be single-breasted or double-breasted;
but until the 1890's
evening-dress waistcoats were
single breasted; then the
double-breasted form became correct.
In the 1890's
especially for evening
dress waistcoats were
being replaced by the cummerbund.
In the 1860's shirt
collars were lowered and either turn-down or stand-up and neck ties were small
and tied in a bow and later a knot.
During this period men
wore the cut-away coat in the evening and for the daytime the frock coat was
Another possibility was
the morning coat. It was cut away in a curve over the hips and buttoned high
over the chest.
"reefer" jackets were worn especially for yachting.
For shooting men wore a
Norfolk jacket which had vertical pleats and loose knee-breeches.
In the 1890's a short
hair cut was proper and anyone whose hair was a trifle long was called a poet or
During this period
little boys were dressed like little girls until they were four years-old
and then they were
dressed in trousers.
Trousers were usually
buttoned on to a short coat and
this was called a skeleton
sailor suits were
popular for public
school and for formal wear tight
short black Eton jackets
with a large white starched collar were the rule.
Young girls followed
the fashions of their mothers except
that their dresses were
shorter and for the first half of the century the wearing of white frilled
drawers showing below the skirt was fashionable.
Boys and girls always
had to wear some kind of head gear out of doors and in the summer it was usually
a stiff straw hat.
of the Shipman family at the turn of the century. The Shipman's had a lumbering
enterprise in Almonte. (National Archives of Canada photo).
Posted: 17 September, 2005.