It appears that 1898 continued a change in fashion begun in 1897, when the huge leg o’ mutton sleeves disappeared, along with clashing colors. C. C. Willett Cunnington, in English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century tells us:
“The new conception was that the dress should be fluffy and frilly, undulating in movement with ripples of soft foam appearing at the feet; colours harmonizing with each other, surfaces broken with flimsy trimmings and revealing submerged depths of tone. The softened outlines, willowy and slender, created the illusion that these aery habitations must be occupied by beings composed of stuff less solid than flesh and blood. ... This style survived well into the present [20th] century and during the last years of the nineteenth century did not arrive at its maturity.”
|1898 visiting dresses|
According to the book, “The emancipatory movement associated with the nickname ‘the New Woman’” along with the personal freedom the bicycle offered women, explains the change. “The alarm created by such innovations created, as it usually does, an apparent swing-back to the ultra-feminine in fashion. By such devices the pace of progress is seemingly checked and the male sex reassured. After a stride forward woman will affect to mark time by a return to fluffiness.”
|1898 fashion description|
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