Edwardian Era Fashion

Fashion History  Fashion Definitions  History of Fashion Industry

The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history spanned the reign of King Edward VII, 1901 to 1910, and is sometimes extended to the start of the First World War. The death of Queen Victoria in January 1901 marked the end of the Victorian era. Her son and successor, Edward VII, was already the leader of a fashionable elite that set a style influenced by the art and fashions of continental Europe.

The upper-classes embraced leisure sports, which resulted in rapid developments in fashion, as more mobile and flexible clothing styles were needed.  During the Edwardian era, women wore a very tight corset, or bodice, and dressed in long skirts. The Edwardian era was the last time women wore corsets in everyday life. According to Arthur Marwick, the most striking change of all the developments that occurred during the Great War was the modification in women's dress, "for, however far politicians were to put the clocks back in other steeples in the years after the war, no one ever put the lost inches back on the hems of women's skirts".

The 'Tea Gown' was one of the Fashion creations during the Edwardian era and when women starting to stop wearing corsets. More Afternoon and Tea parties were being held and for longer amongst the upper classes, thus the trend of the 'Tea Gown' was created. The Tea Gown was worn to receive guests. The fabric choices are usually sweet pea shades in chiffon, mousse line de sore, tulle with feather boas and lace. Lace was a 'must-have' in the Edwardian wardrobe. It represents femininity and wealth. ‘High and boned collars for the day; plugging off shoulder décolleté for the evening'. The Tea Gown's cut is relatively loose compared to the evening gown. The flow is quite feminine, usually decorated with lace. In which, Irish crochet was the more affordable alternative. Women often wore the tea gown un-corseted in order to create an atmosphere of daring intrigue in the afternoon. 

Fashion Accessories During Edwardian Era

Long kid gloves, a flat pancake hat and held laced parasols on hand were always the choice of women's Fashion accessories.

Over time, decorative ornaments became heavier, i.e. the hats, sleeves and hem. By the end of the Edwardian era, the hat is bigger in size, with more decorations like feathers and one or more plumes on top.

Clothing Design During Edwardian Fashion Era

The Edwardians developed new styles in clothing design.  While the Victorian Era is associated with large, ankle-length, heavy, dark velvet gowns and bustles for the classes that could afford them, the Edwardian era favored more tightly fitting skirts and dresses made of lightweight fabrics designed for a more active lifestyle.

A few of the Edwardian fashion trends of the era:

Samuel Hynes described the Edwardian era as a "leisurely time when women wore picture hats and did not vote, when the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously, and the sun really never set on the British flag."

You may want to learn more about Victorian fashion and Elizabethan fashion.

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