The Empire Cut

victorian dresses

The Empire Cut

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Victorian dresses evolved from the natural form dresses of the seventeenth century, designed by the French. The dress was specifically designed to cover the bodice and the sleeves with sleeves. It was originally worn by the upper class women of that time. The main difference between this type of dress and the modern-day Victorian dresses is that it has no sleeves and is generally a long sleeve dress with a gathered skirt.

Many people associate the design of full skirts with the age-old period of Victorian fashion. However, full skirts originated way before that, they were in fact developed for the suffragette movement, which sought the right for every woman to have an equal right to vote. Back then, in Victorian times, full skirts were in fact called Victorian dresses. The reason being that it was thought that back then, full skirts were considered appropriate for proper housekeeping.

simplicity, yet extravagant designs.

No matter how these styles progressed throughout the Victorian era, there was one thing that stood firm though. At the end of the Victorian era, the only true definition of a Victorian dress is a long sleeve, fitted bodice, usually sleeveless. No longer would the wearer show much skin. On top of this, the skirts would also never reach below the knee, as they had become so narrow at the time.

The bustles on Victorian dresses were always full, and there were very few, if any, patterns that allowed for pleats. If you have a blouse or a corset that is sleeveless or a V-neck, then you can bet that the bustles were often stuffed full. If you were lucky enough to avoid having your bustles stuffed, you may be able to pull them down, creating a sleeveless bodice or V-neck, which is the style that dominates in the late Victorian era.

The empire cut, in which the neckline meets the shoulders and flows in a V, was introduced in the late 1860s and remained until the end of the 19th century.

Victorian dresses became more elaborate as the Victorian era went on. The bustle packed one last punch in the late Victorian era, leaving forever at the end of, an empire cut. At the time, sleeve sizes became slightly narrower at the time, though not as tight as they became at the time, to fit to the natural shape of the wearer. Blouses were often lined with satin or velvet, and corsets became tighter, though not as snug as they became at the time. Victorian dresses, despite being known for being elaborate, were considered to be uncomfortable.