The Astrior Vintage Archives

Hello friends! 
Welcome back to the Astrior Newsletter. Today we’re dusting off the history books, placing our metaphorical spectacles at the end of our nose and opening up The Astrior Vintage Archives. This will be the first in a series of newsletters where we will take a journey through the past to discover the styles, trends and aesthetics of a time gone by as a way to cultivate a deeper understanding of how some of our favorite modern dresses came to be. My shop has always been vintage inspired but let’s take a closer look at what exactly that means. I want you to be able to pick up any Astrior piece and think about how the square neckline and ruched sleeves may remind you of a Georgian era fad whereas a flared hemline and bodice-hugging frock may be more reminiscent of the turn of the 20th century.






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.








  Among women of higher class, the day was divided into periods of dress with the morning calling for a milder look— perhaps a white blouse with a tailored, simple black skirt. The blouse would likely be decorated with abundant detail: as many as 15-20 buttons down the back, lace-trimmed cuffs and scalloped, high neck collars. The evening would call for a darker ensemble, but often levity came from beaded bodices, sparkling silhouettes that featured a distinct low V underlaid with modest, intricate lace or silks. 
But the afternoon featured the iconic “S-Shaped Silhouette” an emblem of the beauty ideal of the time which was essentially a kind of hourglass figure constructed by specific corseting and dress tailoring. Dresses were worn in gardens, teas, and other lively social events. Their lightweight materials and relatively looser tailoring allowed for a bit more room to move and wander. One hallmark of the era was emphasis on achieving the “S-Shaped Silhouette”. Edwardian dressers sought that head to toe curvature that made one resemble a posh pigeon with his chest puffed out and his body narrowing and tail jutting back with a dramatic flair.  This may be confusing if you imagine a figure from head on, but if you imagine a person’s profile, you can start to picture the large, tilted back hat followed by a protruding, puffed out chest, leading to a corseted, pulled back waist resulting in exaggerated, arched back hips. The result was something like this: 





















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,


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