In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

1870-1890

(Page 2 of 4) Print Version 

Between 1860 and 1890, the transitions of skirt style provides a recognizable example of evolving fashions. Early examples include a blueish purple 1860s highly trimmed walking dress with a short basque (a fitted jacket-like bodice) and flat fronted skirt flaring out at the back. An early 1870s short gray-green basque dress also features a flat front skirt, with an overdress creating a heavy double layered skirt at the back, which could be gathered into a polonaise (looped bustle effect.) Some period dresses featured a front ‘apron’ style overdress and a double skirt at the back. For the next twenty years, 1870-1890, fashionable dress comprised basques--fitted bodices, some short and some extending well over the hips--and skirts with various forms of back interest, known as bustles.

Trimmed walking dress, ca. 1865
Trimmed walking dress, ca. 1865Maine Historical Society
Basque example, ca. 1865
Basque example, ca. 1865
Short basque dress, ca. 1872
Short basque dress, ca. 1872Maine Historical Society
Double layer skirt detail, ca. 1872
Double layer skirt detail, ca. 1872