As we already know, Victorian elements have been incorporated in Gothic fashion so much that the definition of "Victorian Goth" has been created.
But how much do you really know about proper 19th century Victorian fashion? Here are a few facts that can help you increase your knowledge about it:
Victorian women's clothing followed trends that emphasized elaborate dresses, skirts with wide volume created by the use of layered material such as crinolines, hoop skirt frames, and heavy fabrics. Because of the impracticality and health impact of the era's fashions, a reform movement began among women.
The ideal silhouette of the time demanded a narrow waist, which was accomplished by constricting the abdomen with a laced corset. While the silhouette was striking, and the dresses themselves were often exquisitely detailed creations, the fashions were cumbersome. At best, they restricted women's movements and at worst, they had a harmful effect on women's health. Physicians turned their attention to the use of corsets and determined that they caused several medical problems: compression of the thorax, restricted breathing, organ displacement, poor circulation, and prolapsed uterus.
In the 1840s and 1850s, women's gowns developed narrow and sloping shoulders, low and pointed waists, and bell-shaped skirts. Corsets, a knee-length chemise, and layers of flounced petticoats were worn under the gowns. By the 1850s the number of petticoats was reduced and the crinoline was worn; as such the size of the skirts expanded. Day dresses had a solid bodiceand evening gowns had a very low neckline and were worn off the shoulder with sheer shawls and opera-length gloves.
In the 1860s, the skirts became flatter at the front and projected out more behind the woman. Day dresses had wide pagoda sleeves and high necklines with lace or tatted collars. Evening dresses had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves or fingerless lace or crocheted mitts.
In the 1870s, uncorseted tea gowns were introduced for informal entertaining at home and steadily grew in popularity. Bustles were used to replace the crinoline to hold the skirts up behind the woman, even for "seaside dresses".
In the 1880s, riding habits had a matching jacket and skirt (without a bustle), a high-collared shirt or chemisette, and a top hat with a veil. Hunting costumes had draped ankle-length skirts worn with boots or gaiters. Clothing worn when out walking had a long jacket and skirt, worn with the bustle, and a small hat or bonnet. Travelers wore long coats like dusters.
In the 1890s, women's fashion became simpler and less extravagant; both bustles and crinoline fell out of use and dresses were not as tight as before. Corsets were still used but became slightly longer, giving women a slight S-curve silhouette. Skirts took on a trumpet shape, fitting closely over the hip with a wasp-waist cut and flaring just above the knee. High necks and puffed sleeves became popular. Sportswear for women, such as bicycling dresses, tennis dresses, and swimwear became popular.
In Britain, black is the colour traditionally associated with mourning for the dead. The customs and etiquette expected of men, and especially women, were rigid during much of the Victorian era. The expectations depended on a complex hierarchy of close or distant relationship with the deceased. The closer the relationship, the longer the mourning period and the wearing of black. The wearing of full black was known as First Mourning, which had its own expected attire, including fabrics, and an expected duration of 4 to 18 months. Following the initial period of First Mourning, the mourner would progress to Second Mourning, a transition period of wearing less black, which was followed by Ordinary Mourning, and then Half-mourning. Some of these stages of mourning were shortened or skipped completely if the mourner's relationship to the deceased was more distant. Half-mourning was a transition period when black was replaced by acceptable colours such as lavender and mauve, possibly considered acceptable transition colours because of the tradition of Church of England (and Catholic) clergy wearing lavender or mauve stoles for funeral services, to represent the Passion of Christ.
other interesting info can be found at: www.victorian-era.org