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Mondays at the Manor – Dressing through the Decades / The Edwardian Era


Welcome back to our walk through the history of clothing. It’s time to more into the Edwardian Era, also known as the “Belle Epoch” time period.

The end of the 19th century began a major change in clothing for ladies. Gone was the bustles, frames, and heavy fabrics and new lighter fabrics to allow for a new and more active lifestyle. With the common use of the sewing machine, and the more industrial production of fabric, pre-made, over the counter dresses became available.  Women also were entering the workforce in offices, and found the new lighter clothing moving around the office easier.

     Tailored jackets became the fashion with skirts fitting at the hips and flaring into a trumpet like shape. Blouses were created with full puffy sleeves; a style that only lasted in the first part of the 1890s. With the beginning of the 20th century, skirts became fuller, and toward the end of the first decade, the waist moved up to be set under the bustline.

      Even with the light clothing, ladies were still laced into corsets that were fitted from the bust to the hips. They boning stopped just below the waist to allow for sitting, but still keeping the back straight. 

     Men’s clothing also changed to a more casual look. For most day wear, the sack coat was still worn. Men added a waistcoat and the coat was single breasted. Blazers came into fashion for sports, sailing, and casual activities. For more formal occasions, the cutaway morning coat was still the fashion and full tails for very formal events and in upper class homes.

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