Cosmetics of different sorts havebeen in practice since early human history, but became more known throughoutthe 1800s.
By the ending of the 19th century, beauty was huge, with cosmeticcounters opening within department stores promoting rouges, lip balms and finepowders. Tinted foundations were accessible, but were not favoured, particularlyamong women of a fine reputation. Powder, often made from rice flour, was wornby women of the superior classes and was considered acceptable. Priceyadditions were sometimes added to powders, like compressed pearl. The use of heavymakeup was most commonly related with prostitutes. Rosy cheeks were regarded asa sign of good health and women regularly used blush or rouge to add colour totheir cheeks. This was the most popular makeup of the 19th century.
Blusheswere available in liquids, powders and creams. Several different shades weresold, most tinted with a colouring called carmine. Some women also made theirown, using flowers and other natural pigments to create blush at home. Eye and lips weresome of the less common cosmetics. Lamp black, or soot, was sometimes lacedwith oil or water to form a black product that could be used as eyeliner,shadow or mascara. The effect was unnatural and not as commonly used.
Rougecould darken lips with pink or red hue. Embellishments were pastes, powders and paints, used to adjustappearance, Zinc oxide became widely used as a facial powder, replacing leadand copper. Hair styles in the 19th century included the forehead jewel, feathersand faux flowers. The Apollo knot was a hairstyle introduced that gave the hairstature and was popular. To achieve the complex confection, hair was centrallyparted and brushed up to the crown, where it was embellished in plaits and loopedinto bows. Occasionally false hair plaits were used to help it stay in place. Men of fashion began to wear their hair short and natural,sporting cropped curls and extended sideburns. The elaborate and expensive wigslent an air of perception and ascendancy to wearers.
At the beginning of the period, dresses were simplewith small puffed sleeves and some embellishment around the hem of the fullskirt. By the end of the decade they became shorter and puffed sleeves enlarged,balancing the bell-shaped skirt, emphasizing the small corseted waist.The fashion of 19th century is known by corsets, bonnets, top hats, bustles andpetticoats. Women’s fashion during the Victorian period was largely dominatedby full skirts, which moderately moved to the back of the silhouette. However,towards the end of the century, the less restrictive style began to emerge. Forthose who could afford new outfits regularly, woman’s fashion changed swiftly.
The point of crinoline was to create an hourglass imageby highlighting the hips, and giving the illusion of a small waist with thecorset. The cage crinoline was assembled by joining thin metal strips togetherto create a structure that could solely support the sizeable width of theskirt. Men wore a frock coat, with a slim fitted waist. A waistcoat, alsoknown as a vest, along with their shirt, trousers, tie and hat. The hats weretall black top hats and removable collars and cuffs were worn.
Clothes during the 19th Century were madeof cotton, cotton muslin, line and silk and superfine fabrics. Shoes were made from silk, twilled cotton andleather. Drapers, haberdashers, hosiers and mercers supplied fine materialslike gauze and trimmings for dressmakers and ladies who liked to trim their owndresses and bonnets. When Queen Victoria arisedto the throne, everybody looked up to the young royal for more than parliamentaryreasons. Victoria represented a new era for fashion and inspired everyone fromthe court to the common woman. When Prince Albert passed away, Victoria wore blackas she was mourning. In aid of this, the public united wearing black and it begana statement.
Necklines got higher, increasing the size of collars. Wealthy women wore corsets under their dresses. At the beginning of Victoria’s reign it was popular towear a crinoline undera skirt. These hoops andpetticoats made skirts veryspacious. Later in the period skirts wererestricted with a shape at the back called a bustle. The Victorian boy wouldalso often wear a sailor’s suit. Poor Victorian children wore second handstitched up, mended clothes.
Corsets were also stiff andrestricted movement. Although the clothes were not comfortable, the typeof materials and coatingsworn were a symbol of wealth. However, the exposure of neckline was onlyrestricted to the upper and middle class. Working class women were not permittedto show so much skin.