Edwardian / Titanic ClothingWhile the Victorian era which came before this one was buttoned-up collars and floor length dresses, the Edwardian / Titanic era was much more about beauty, about emphasizing the natural shape of a woman. The dresses curved along her aiming for an "S" shape. What is ironic is that these were supposedly more "healthy" for woman than the super-tight straight up and down corsets of the Victorian era. They were actually trying to give women a more "normal" shape so they could breathe and show off their form. The corsets were gentler, but they were still there.
Women were now expected to be more active and healthy - even playing tennis and doing other sports types of activities - so the clothing now let her show her shape. In the movie "A Room with A View" they even have scenes of the heroine playing tennis in her dress, enjoying life.
This trend of comfortable, active clothing continued and by the 1920s there were no corsets at all, dresses were loose and short!
To the left is an image done by John Singer Sargent, a famous painter of the era (who I adore!) of Lady Speyer. He painted this in 1907. You can see there is still the emphasis on lush fabric and texture from the Victorian era, but that is hardly an up-to-the-neck buttoned front!
Most of the dresses in this era were white - but there were of course exceptions to every rule. White was the formal evening wear color, but day outfits might be in a variety of other (mostly solid) colors.
Here's another dress from 1903. It is an off-white / yellow color. Click on the image to see the original notes from the English museum which has it.
As in many previous eras, during the day the dress would usually cover the chest to keep the woman warm. Only in the evening or on special occasions would the neckline be open.
Many dresses of this period were made with cotton lawn, which is a very finely wove, sily style of cotton weave. Fabrics also included linen, batiste (a very lightweight, opaque cotton fabric), silk, and lace. Where previous era clothes were stiff - like taffeta and wool - the Edwardian dresses were smooth, soft, flowing.
Edwardian / Titanic Era
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