This time, we’ll be highlighting the Edwardian day dress. The Edwardian Era was the last time period in England named after the monarchy that reigned over it. It took place between 1901 and 1910 but the period functionally ended at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Thus, historians and fashion enthusiasts regard this period with an especially tender, nostalgic eye for being the last era of it’s kind both politically and aesthetically. This was an time in fashion that truly embodied the defiantly delicate spirit as it marked a notable shift from stuffy, opulent, highly structured and weighty garments of the Victorian age in favor of fresh, lightweight, brightly colored and frill-centric frocks that were both easier to move in and more “feminine” as they were adorned with lace, beads and ribbons galore.
When you think of turn the of the century elegance, billowy bust-lines, ostentatious hats, impossibly cinched waists, high lace collars, flared tiered skirts—these are all hallmarks of Edwardian period dressing. When I think of this era, I think of deep V’s sewn into bust-lines overlaid with delicate lace, pearl and silk details. I think about corseted waists that not only emphasized a smaller middle, but also a large, full breast and pushed back, wide hips. There’s a subtle swankiness to these silhouettes, a general air of fae-like flounceiness and subtle flamboyance that reflected the changing ideals in larger society during this pre-war time.
In popular culture, examples of dress from this period are featured in movies like Titanic and Mary Poppins. These films do much to highlight the striking, feature-framing magic of this period of style.
Though modern norms have perhaps begun to stray from emphasizing minuscule waistlines and we are less interested in pearl clutching over a bit of décolletage, it can be fun and even subtly subversive to experience our modern world in a timeless silhouette like this Edwardian style. In a way, fashion can operate as a way to measure time against modern values and aesthetics. Though this period marked a time that heralded monarchy and prestige, it also valued nature-inspired color palettes, and an Astrior special, a dash of defiance in the everyday merely for the sake of looking and feeling your best.
I love bringing you vintage inspired pieces, and I’m so grateful that we have this newsletter space to deepen our collective understanding of how past fashion informs our current tastes and how these pieces came to be. Hopefully now, when you put on a dress etched with a deep V embroidered across the chest or a brightly colored gown that features billowy, intricate sleeves and a fan-like flared hem, you’ll not only feel definitely delicate, you’ll also be empowered to prance around with the knowledge of where this aesthetic derives.
Musette Dress (right): Those lace cuffs? Screaming Edwardian Era. That intricate, lace-laid bust? Forget it. Edward himself would be besotted.
Primrose Dress (left): Perhaps a controversial choice, but the bows reminded me of the Edwardian turn towards more “feminine” detail compared with the more austere, severe details of the previous period.
Adamina Dress (center): This full busted dress gives an ethereal, feathery appearance that’s just gorgeous.
Until next time my loves,