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Street style, circa 1940s
Cotton dress sold on Etsy | 1950s
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Day Dress | 1920s | auctioned
Ensemble | 1820-25 | Met Museum
Depres Day Dress | c. 1873-75 | Met Museum
La Mode Illustrée, September 1886
Day Dress | 1886 | Met Museum
I’m ending with the late bustle period, because it seems a good quitting place and is a fun juxtaposition with the requested early bustle period of the 1870s. Quite suddenly around 1883, bustles returned with a vengeance - but they were changed from the first bustle styles. These retained the slim, flat hips of the prior natural form period, creating a dramatic “shelf” at the back of a woman’s skirts that remained until the late 1880s, when it disappeared forever.
Day and Fancy Dress Costumes, 1881
Skirts collapsed in the late 1870s and remained slim and figure-fitted until the early 1880s. Here we see more focus on lacing corsets more tightly, since illusion from wide skirts is lost and bodices are tight. While there are no bustles, “bustled” fabric aprons and overskirts are extremely common. Trains are also widely worn and popular.
Printed Muslin Dress | c. 1837 (fabric: 1790-1818) | Bowes Museum
Following the example from the beginning of this decade, here we see the trends I mentioned evolving even more. The clearest change is how they’ve softened! Gone are the large sleeves requiring support of their own, lower and more natural is the waistline. The decoration (and all aspects of dress in general) have relaxed from the slightly outrageous styles of the late 1820s and early 1830s; however, you can see the early ’30s neckline and skirt shape has remained.