Her Clothes


Good ready-to-wear clothes were becoming available by the late Victorian period. Women's clothes in the 1890s were becoming more simple and practical. The shape emphasised the waist, with curved 'cello' hips and a high rounded bosom.


Julia's underclothes are mostly made from cotton, rather than linen and flannel which are also available. Some of them have man-made lace inserts. For special occasions she has one or two each of chemises, drawers, camisoles and petticoats in silk or lawn.

For colder days, Julia wears knickerbockers; these are like breeches in shape, tight with a band at the knee. A flap at the back fastened with buttons helps with visits to the toilet. A chemise is knee length, sleeveless and edged with lace, looking much like a modern nightie. Drawers are full, decorated with ribbons and lace, or very plain. They are tied with a string at the waist.

As is universal, Julia wears a corset over the chemise and drawers. Julia has one made from satinized cotton, and another which is black with some red detailing. Her corsets are much like those her mother wore. Julia has in the past had a corset made from coutil, a biscuit-coloured cotton, like those her eldest daughter Constance is beginning to wear.

Over these, Julia wears an underskirt. She has three, one extravagantly striped.

Julia's stockings are made from wool or cotton. She would love a silk pair, but this would be an extravagance. They are always black except for special occasions. For an evening event, Julia may wear some of a bright colour and decorated by herself with embroidery. Her garters are either plain or decorated.


By 1890, the bustle is going out of fashion; Julia has a small one. Skirts have become shorter for daytime wear, more a walking length. Julia's fullest skirt is some 18 feet round at the hem. It has deep pockets at the side seams.

Julia likes the blouse-and-skirt combination. The day-to-day blouses have a high neck; two are very plain and her third very fussy. As is common, they all have 'leg of mutton' sleeves; wide from the shoulder, but then tight from the elbow to the wrist. Two of her blouses have a fancy 'fall' at the front.

Julia has some evening engagements each year. For these, her evening blouse drops low to reveal her cleavage, and the skirt has a frou-frou train at the back.

Julia has two dresses, one with 'bishop' sleeves. Both are boned, rather than with an internal belt, and are fastened with buttons, rather than hooks and eyes. One is dark green and the other is in gold.

The Arts and Crafts movement influenced women's fashions; Julia has one of the popular smock-style frocks. As is typical, this is made from linen and embroidered and edged with braid.

For the winter, for visiting, Julia wears a cape made from felted wool with the second, shorter layer being of lace. She has a single-layered 'mantle' for general outdoor use.

Sidney and his brother have recently bought a pair of bicycles to share; when out riding Julia wears bloomers, i.e. divided skirts. She has one of these.


Most of the time Julia wears one of her two pairs of boots. Both have a brogue patterning and 14 lace holes. She has one pair of shoes for smart occasions; these have a 2 inch Louis heel.


Julia wears her hair up; Florence helps to dress it in the morning and evening.


Julia has three hats. These are brimmed but not too wide, with a shallow crown. Her best hat is decorated with ribbons, feathers and silk flowers. She thinks that some hats with stuffed birds on are a bit much. One of her hats is a tricorne, copying the style of men's hats. She also has a sailor-style straw hat for the summer. Her mother, who lives in a village a few miles away, still wears a bonnet.

She usually wears a belt to highlight her waist. Her best one, made from leather rather than fabric, has a dramatic, ornamental buckle made from gilded metal. She would love a silver plated one.

Julia has one umbrella and one parasol. The latter has a handle decorated with a carved bird.

She always wears gloves in public. She has two cream pairs and another of fawn, typical light colours. Both are very tight to make her hands look small. As a result they are hard to put on. Her day gloves have three or four buttons to close the wrist but 10 for her evening pair. She also has one pair for mourning; these are all black.

With her one day dress, Julia often uses a drawstring pocket made of the same fabric, which she wears suspended from the wrist by the strings. With her evening dress, she has another, more lacy, and often accompanies it with a fan suspended on a string from the same wrist.

With skirts and blouses, Julia carries a small wicker basket with a velvet cover or wears a small leather purse suspended on her wrist.