A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty

A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty

by Mimi Matthews
A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty

A Victorian Lady's Guide to Fashion and Beauty

by Mimi Matthews


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What did a Victorian lady wear for a walk in the park? How did she style her hair for an evening at the theater? And what products might she have used to soothe a sunburn or treat an unsightly blemish? Mimi Matthews answers these questions and more as she takes readers on a decade-by-decade journey through Victorian fashion and beauty history.

Women’s clothing changed dramatically during the course of the Victorian era. Necklines rose, waistlines dropped, and Gothic severity gave way to flounces, frills, and an abundance of trimmings. Sleeves ballooned up and skirts billowed out. The crinoline morphed into the bustle and steam-moulded corsets cinched women’s waists ever tighter.

As fashion was evolving, so too were trends in ladies’ hair care and cosmetics. An era which began by prizing natural, barefaced beauty ended with women purchasing lip and cheek rouge, false hairpieces and pomades, and fashionable perfumes made with expensive spice oils and animal essences.

Using research from nineteenth century beauty books, fashion magazines, and lady’s journals, Mimi Matthews brings the intricacies of a Victorian lady’s toilette into modern day focus. In the process, she gives readers a glimpse of the social issues that influenced women’s clothing and the societal outrage that was an all too frequent response to those bold females who used fashion and beauty as a means of asserting their individuality and independence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526705044
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 11/30/2018
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 953,340
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Mimi Matthews is the author of The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries (published by Pen & Sword Books) and The Lost Letter: A Victorian Romance. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine, New York. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney with both a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction viii

Part I Fashion

Chapter 1 The 1840s 3

Chapter 2 The 1850s 14

Chapter 3 The 1860s 32

Chapter 4 The 1870s 47

Chapter 5 The 1880s 58

Chapter 6 The 1890s 73

Part II Fashion Etiquette; or What to Wear and When to Wear It

Chapter 7 Victorian Ensembles for Every Occasion 86

Chapter 8 Victorian Riding Habits 90

Chapter 9 Holiday Fashion 95

Chapter 10 Victorian Sportswear 101

Chapter 11 Proper Dress for Marriage, Maternity, and Mourning 108

Part III Beauty

Chapter 12 Victorian Hair Care 114

Chapter 13 Victorian Hairstyles and Hairdressing 120

Chapter 14 Victorian Skin Care 132

Chapter 15 Victorian Cosmetics 140

The End of an Era 147

Sources 148

Notes 155

Index 158

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