Period Fashions Reference Library

Fashions of the 1880s: Evening Dress

Miscellaneous fashion plates
No descriptions available (click on picture for larger view)

1880 1882
1882 1883 1888
1884 1885

Contemporary Descriptions of
Ladies’ 1880s Evening Dress and Accessories
arranged chronologically

Evening Dress.

Figure 1: Evening dress of white and pink; the underskirt is of white satin, kilted in front, and trimmed with Mechlin lace, and a garland of pink roses. The overdress is of pink silk, is made like a polonaise, low neck and short sleeves, and is trimmed to correspond with underskirt with lace and flowers. Low corsage and short sleeves, with bertha of lace and flowers. Flowers on dress to match those on hair.

March 1880, Godey's Lady's Book.
1880, December
Evening Dresses

Evening and Dinner Dresses.

Figure 1: Evening dress of blue silk made in the princesse shape, low corsage and short sleeves, the skirt is trimmed with four knife plaitings. Drapery over the skirt of white satin de Lyon, made to fall in a very long train in the back, with roses scattered over it, bouquets of roses and foliage loop the skirt up. Berthe of white lace with roses between. Hair arranged in chatelaine braids fastened by a large bouquet of roses.
Figure 3: Dinner dress of pink silk made in the princess shape, with bodice cut V shape, and elbow sleeves. The skirt has three draperies upon it of striped silk and satin gauze edged with Mechlin lace, a plastron of lace up the front of skirt with large ribbon bows between it; ribbon bows also loop the skirt at intervals. The trimming on bodice sleeves and upper part of skirt is composed of white crape embroidered with roses, and edged with Mechlin lace.

May 1880, Godey's Lady's Book.
1880, December

Evening and Dinner Dresses.

Figure 1: Evening dress made of plain pink silk and striped satin. The underskirt is of the plain silk with a pleating around it, and fans of lace and pleated silk heading it. The front breadth is of the striped silk, with scarf drapery also of the striped, fastened with bouquets of flowers. Short apron overskirt trimmed with duchess lace. Basque bodice, low square neck, with vest of the striped silk, and white lace trimming neck and sleeves; bouquet of flowers on left side, flowers in hair to match those on skirt.
Figure 2: Dinner dress of gendarme green silk. The underskirt is trimmed with two narrow pleatings, and a flounce of white satin embroidered in silk headed by a puffing. The overdress is trimmed with the same kind of ruffles. Basque bodice cut square neck, trimmed with the white embroidered ruffles to match the skirt, elbow sleeves trimmed to correspond, bouquet of roses upon the left side of square neck.

December 1880, Godey's Lady's Book.
1880, December

Evening Fashions.

Figure 1: The skirt and bodice are of pale shell-pink brocade, trimmed with narrow kiltings and ruche of surah; the lower part of the tunic is cream-coloured Spanish lace; the upper part and the back drapery are of pink Ottoman silk; the bodice is trimmed with lace.
Figure 2: Evening dress for a middle-aged lady. The dress is of rich black silk (cashmere Oriental is very handsome), trimmed with puffings and kiltings of the same, and flounces of Indian embroidery; scarf drapery of broche with large bow of ottoman ribbon; trail of yellow roses with shaded foliage at the left side of the skirt.

December 1, 1883, The Young Ladies' Journal.

Evening Dresses.

Figure 1: Evening dress of white nun's-veiling, with round skirt, dancing length. The skirt is full in front, and trimmed with three flounces in front and four at the back, and above the front flounces is a large full trimming of white daisies. Loose panniers and drapery at the back, of white nun's-veiling. The bodice is plaited in front, which forms a kind of vest, is jacket-shaped at the sides and back, where it is laid in habit plaits. It is square and half-high back and front, and is trimmed on the front and left shoulder with a wreath of daisies. The sleeves are high and full. Daisies in the hair.
Figure 2: Evening dress of primrose-colored surah, with round skirt, made dancing length. The skirt is trimmed with seven lace flounces, which are ornamented with loops of primrose-colored satin ribbon. The panniers and back drapery are made of lace in the piece. The bodice is of the surah silk, with a kind of fichu front-bodice of the lace. The sleeves are of the lace, puffed and trimmed with satin ribbon.

January 1885, Peterson's Magazine.

Evening Toilette

The trained skirt and the round-necked sleeveless corsage of this dress are of mauve satin. Two flounces of cream Valenciennes lace form a tablier on the front of the skirt, falling upon a box-plaited flounce at the foot. A scarf drapery of mauve dotted net is arranged on the skirt, forming a deep pouf on the back, and hanging in a sash end at the left side of the front. A narrow pleated plastron of the net is in the front of the corsage, tied across with mauve ribbon bows, and there are ribbon bows on the shoulders above the narrow lace ruffle which forms the sleeve.

March 5,1887, Harper's Bazar.
Evening Toilette

Evening Fans


The slender oval fan at the left of this group is of straw-colored crape, with a lacquered white frame. The edge is surrounded with an applique border of cream lace, the net ground of which has been cut away. A painted decoration of flowers and butterflies is at the centre. The middle fan is of orange gauze, with floral ornamentation in water- colors. The sticks are of gilded wood. To the right is a large fan of bronze-colored ostrich feathers attached to gilt sticks. A ribbon bow trims the frame.

December 24, 1887, Harper's Bazar.



hairstyles from 1884



1884 corset cover and drawers


1884 bustle petticoat


1883 petticoat


1882 ruffled petticoat



Comic from Harpe’s Bazar, 11 February 1888.
Click on picture for a larger view



Detail of above picture, Gentlemen in evening dress ca. 1888. The gentleman on the left has a tailcoat with half faced lapels, low vee shield shaped opening on his white waistcoat, white necktie and standing collar curving open at the throat. The gentleman on the left has a tailcoat with lapels that may be fully faced but are difficult to see in detail, a rounded scoop waistcoat in white. Details of the necktie and collar are difficult to see. The lower front of the waistcoat does not show beneath the front of the coat.


Gentlemen in a detail from a comic in Harper's Bazar, June 15, 1889. Notice that the waistcoat can be either white or black.

Vintage Victorian
P.O. Box 9, Nahant, Massachusetts 01908
phone: (781) 49-WALTZ (781-499-2589)

© 2011, Vintage Victorian, All rights reserved

Join Our Mailing List


now available

coming soon
coming soon

attend our ball
Nahant Dancers

Visit the Library
Godey's January 1860
Visit the:
Period Fashions Reference Library

last updated 24 jul 2014/csb