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July 31, 2020

40 Amazing Photos of Victorian Ladies in Evening Gowns From the 1850s

During the Victorian Era, clothes were seen as an expression of women’s place in society and were hence, differentiated in terms of social class.

Upper-class women, who did not need to work, often wore a tightly laced corset over a bodice or chemisette, and paired them with a skirt adorned with numerous embroideries and trims; over layers of petticoats.

Middle-class women exhibited similar dress styles; however, the decorations were not as extravagant. The layering of these garments make them very heavy. Corsets were also stiff and restricted movement.

Although the clothes were not comfortable, the type of fabrics and the numerous layers were worn as a symbol of wealth.

Here below is a collection of amazing photos that shows Victorian ladies wearing evening gowns in the 1850s.


  1. You obviously wouldn't know a Victorian "evening gown" if someone smacked you in the head with it. Only the very wealthy had specific gowns for formal evening occasions, most women only owned one dress (which was not at all the same thing as a gown), and they wore this dress every day.

  2. Why is the person who left the previous comment so angry and nasty? Maybe they are the dress police?

  3. Thanks for showing these great photographs! A point perhaps missed by the earlier contributor is that often the clothes were provided by the photographer as part of the service. Accordingly, many people of low or modest means could wear ornate and fashionable clothes in their photographs, and then went back to their limited wardrobe after. This can cause problems with photo recognition/dating: I have a photo of my great grandfather, a warehouseman, wearing a smart suit and his wife in a fashionable dress (but I suspect a few seasons old), clothes they could never afforded.




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