Clothing of the 1880’s
By: Ben M., Eva P., Kristen S., and Marcus S.

 The Tappmeyer house was built in the 1880’s.  The clothing style back then was very different than it is today. Everyone dressed very different than we do now.  Not just the men and women, but the children, too.  This time period had its own “trends” and styles.  For example, the women wore very large hats and the overall dress was a lot more formal in the 1880’s than now (Black).  Today people usually just dress up for special occasions.  Back in the 1880’s people dressed like that all the time (Black).  Over the years clothing has come a long way.  Probably within the next 50 years the style will change again.  Styles and trends always change with the times.  Now let's focus in on the clothing of 1880!

 The children's clothing in the 1880’s was very simple until they where the age of five years (Kalman). When the children went to school they wore a uniform. The girls always wore dress and the boys were dress alike (Kalman). When the girls reached a certain age, they started to dress like their mothers, in fancy dress and big layers of clothing. The boys dress the same as little kids until they where about the age of ten (Black). The only time the children dress up fancy is when they went to parties and other functions.


 Women's clothing of the 1880’s was a lot more elaborate than it is today.  The clothing was meant to shape everyone the same way, and drapery was very important (Laver). The bustle which was a cushion put in the back of the dress was essential well as the corset . The women never wore pants or short skirts. They usually wore long dresses (Black).  Accessories were also very important to fashion in 1880.  All of the women wore hats and gloves, and long sleeves were common, even in hot weather!

 Men's clothing of the 1880’s varies between the way a person lived.  For example, if you were a farmer, typical day to day clothing would be your work clothes and your Sunday clothes for church (Black).   If you were a more wealthy man you would wear a suit and tie almost every day, and a very nice suit for church.  The middle class was more formal than the farmers, but not as formal as the upper class such as the newspaper owners.  The middle class usually wore something like a coat and tie to work and also a nice suit to church (Black).


          Besides just the clothing being different in the 19th century, the shoes were also different.  If people
  lived in a small village or in the country they normally wore leather shoes (Kylabora).  The shoes were usually
  made by a traveling shoemaker.  Both the left and right shoes were identical (Laver).  People mostly bought
  shoes a few sizes to big so more than one family member could wear them.  Since the shoes would be to
  large paper or cloth was stuffed in the toe to make them fit better.  Some people in the 19th century wore
  gaiters (Black).  Gaiters were leggings that covered the tops of shoes and calves.  They were made of canvas and
  buttoned on the side or front of the leg.  In bad weather, people of the 1880’s wore thick soles that
  fit under their shoes called clogs (Black).  They also wore patens, a metal ring placed on the bottom of a shoe
  to keep it above the mud.

A Shoe (Kalman)


  Hats, Hair, and Hygiene

          In the 1880’s almost all people wore some kind of hat.  The most popular men's hat was a top hat.  They
  were mostly made of silk or beaver and were gray, tan, black, or white ("The Textile Revolution").  Women of the 19th century wore bonnets which tied under the chin.  Bonnets were made of fur, velvet, satin, wool, or cotton (Black).
          The hair styles were also very different in the 19th century.  Women had long hair that was mostly worn up
  in a bun (Laver).  Sometimes the women would have a face frame of tiny curls.  Even though people back then only
  bathed about once a month they brushed their hair very often (Laver).  Men's hair was kept short.  Many men had
  facial hair.
          People in the 1800’s didn't have as good of hygiene as we do today.  Usually people bathed about once or
  twice each month .  They believed that their natural body oils would protect them from disease (Kybalora).  Later in
  the 1800’s the “Saturday night  bath” became a tradition (Laver).

Works Cited

Black J. Anderson, A History of Fashion, William Morrow and Company Inc., New   York, 1975.

“Clothing Industry”  Grolier Online. 2003 Parkway School Libraries, Chesterfield, MO, March, 1, 2003
2003 <>.

“A Guideline for Ladies Clothing in the Victorian Era” <>.

Kalman, Bobbie, 19th Century Clothing, Crabtree Publishing Company, New York, 1947.

Ludmila, Pictorial Encyclopedia of Fashion, p. 281-291, “Mixed Styles During   the Late 19th Century.”

Laver, James, The Concise History of Costume and Fashion,  Harry N. Abrams Inc.,   New York, 1921.

“The Textile Revolution." Proquest Online. 2003 Parkway School Libraries, Chesterfield, MO, March, 1, 2003