The styles of the Victorian era had dominated for many years and many women considered this style were passe in 1890.
During the Victorian Era, the skirt always literally stood out due to crinolines and bustles. This trend came to an end at 1890s, because skirts took on a much slimmer silhouette. Skirts were cut slim at the top while flaring at the bottom. While skirts were flat and simple in the front, certain styles had one or two pleats in the back. The pleats were located in the spot where the bustle would have been and served as a transition out of that style.
The focus were from the skirt to the top, in particular the sleeves. One of the hottest trends of the 1890s was the mutton-leg sleeve. This style consisted of a long sleeve that was narrow at the wrist and along the forearm, then expanded into a puffy sleeve on the upper arm that stood high off the shoulder. The look got its name due to its resemblance to a leg of mutton.
Tailored Jackets and Blouses
Different blouses could be worn with just a few skirts, women didn’t have to purchase a whole new dress in order to get a new look. Tailored jackets that were bolero or waist-length and very fitted came into vogue, and this enabled women to wear separate pieces, or suits, consisting of a skirt, blouse and jacket. Blouses and jackets were often styled with the puffy mutton-leg sleeve.
Beading and embroidery designs were often seen on the bodice of a dress. Giant sleeves worked to offset the narrow waist of a dress. Bodices had bones sewn into them, vertical stays that held a woman in like a corset. Waists of dresses were worn as tight as possible.