A fashion plate from 1875 showing styles of dress for a Christmas and New Year’s party.
Sheet music cover for “I Could Learn to Love You, If Only You Would Let Me Try,” circa 1906, by Harry Armstrong.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (the daughter of Lord Byron and his legal wife Anna) was born on December 10, 1815 and died November 27, 1852. Most know her as Ada Lovelace. Ada was a mathematician and she wrote the first computer algorithm for Charles Babbages’ Analytical Machine, thus making her the world’s first computer programmer.
Ball Gown | c. 1861
I love the drama in Victorian clothes. Look at those colours and patterns.
Auxiliaries Ruth Wade and Lucille Mayo (left to right) further demonstrate their ability to service trucks as taught them during the processing period at Fort Des Moines and put into practice at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 12/08/1942
Published in Dutch magazine “De Gracieuse” on April 1 1911.
Tu t’en repentiras, Colin.
George du Maurier, from Wives and daughters : an every-day story, by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, London, 1866.
Gosh, this is going to be all over the place, so please bear with me.
It depends on what kind of work they were doing. An everyday work dress was generally plain, but in the cut of the time period. For instance, during the 1880s, a woman would not have worn a bustle while doing the laundry, obviously, but it still had a high neckline. A plain dress, front buttoning, of a washable material seems to be the most common element.
One very versatile dress style that was also common was a “wrapper.” Women in rural areas of the U.S. were particularly fond of this loose style. It was a one piece dress, front buttoning and not fitted in the bodice, although there was generally an under bodice that was very fitted. The material was usually gathered into a yoke and the waist was belted (if it was your Sunday Best) or you tied an apron on over it if you were working.
Women also wore sleeve protectors (I’ve heard them referred to as kitchen sleeves) which slipped over the forearms and protected the sleeves from wrist to elbow. Of course aprons were used in just about any kind of work. A woman doing heavy cleaning also covered her head with either a kerchief or plain cap. Working outside of course meant that you wore some sort of sun bonnet to protect your face and neck. Shoes were sensible and low heeled.
Many women had jobs that required a uniform, so that would depend on the job. Did you have a particular type of work in mind? I can probably find some illustrations to help. I’m including the one below because I think it is a good idea of the general type of clothing used for hard work.
Yes, I know. This is a Victorian themed blog that occasionally edges over into the Edwardian Era, the 1920s at the very latest, but this thing was so hilarious, I could NOT help myself. Join me in snickering over How to Get Your Man and Hold Him by Grace Mack, 1936. This is the first chapter, “Basic Rules for Finding a Party of the Second Part.”
I can scan more chapters if anyone is interested in reading the entire book. It’s very short, but I don’t want to spam my Victorian followers with things they won’t really enjoy.