Fashions of the Edwardian Era


The Edwardian Era (1901-1910) was one of luxury, featuring beautiful clothing and fabrics made of expensive fibers. However, domestic and international tension rose dramatically as well. These events would ultimately lead to World War I.

Women were expected to dress formally for dinners and social events; even casual daywear needed to be trimmed with lace and worn with a hat.


Many people immediately associate the term “corset” with tight, organ-squishing garments women wore during the 18th and 19th centuries to achieve that alluring hourglass shape. This corset has been featured prominently in historical dramas like Bridgerton or worn by celebrities like Billie Eilish or Bella Hadid as examples of modern corset fashion.

However, most Edwardian women wore less restrictive undergarments than may appear at first glance. For example, those out running errands or visiting friends during the day often wore less structured muslin corsets, making her hips and torso appear slimmer than those worn at night for social occasions. Such corsets marked a significant departure from earlier stays that dominated clothing in this era of clothing design intended to make hips and torso appear thinner.

By the late 1800s, soft muslin dresses that became fashionable during Edwardian fashion clung to the body in ways that highlighted its natural outline. Curved stays from previous eras were replaced by straighter stays with less curvy backbones to sit higher on ribcage without compressing the stomach; corsets became longer in both body and hip length, allowing smoother lines beneath gowns or blouses and flat busks instead of spoon or curved busks were often preferred; pressure was released off stomachs while waist curves had previously been customary before these developments came along.

Corsetieres utilized steam molding techniques to produce corsets with permanent hourglass shapes. This involved mounting them on copper forms, starching them at high temperatures, and starch-steaming them at higher temperatures until a permanent hourglass form was embedded into its fabric – creating a lasting hourglass effect in its material.

Corsets can now be worn by women of all styles and occasions, whether tucked under dresses or worn as a layer over casual tops. There is also an extensive range of materials, from vegan leather to durable acetate, so anyone can find one that best fits them and their budget.


Gowns were popularly worn by both men and women throughout Europe from the early Middle Ages until the 17th century, continuing into today in certain professions. Dresses typically made of linen were usually embellished with embroidery or other ornamental trim to complete their look; worn over top of shirts, blouses, jackets, or even corsets, they provided warmth in times of cold weather. Modern gowns can often be made out of cotton or polyester material which allows multiple washes, cutting down on costs while being more comfortable than disposable gowns due to thicker layers allowing more warmth from inside.

Surgical gowns are sterile textile garments worn by healthcare providers during patient isolation situations to prevent the transfer of germs between patients and visitors. Depending on the risk involved in any given isolation situation, gowns may cover either all or only part of a person’s body depending on which area it needs to be worn over; such gowns can be found in both hospitals and private doctor’s offices.

After the stiff, restrictive Victorian styles, Edwardian fashion shifted towards lighter fabrics and more fluid designs influenced by Arts & Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, and Decadence styles. This fashion period marked by extravagance was most clearly seen among wealthy women who wore elaborate robes or dresses emblazoned with rich designs.

Edwardian women attended evening parties wearing elegant yet relaxed gauzy gowns adorned with beautiful embroidery or embellishments. Pastel colors became increasingly popular and broke from the traditional black-and-white palette.

One of the most popular styles in women’s Edwardian dresses was the pagoda sleeve, which featured a fuller top portion and tighter lower portion. Women also preferred large necklines with delicate details and short collars that made wearing corsets less cumbersome.

Film and television depictions of Edwardian times have increased demand for Edwardian costumes at events, dinners, and balls. Though finding an authentic Edwardian-inspired gown may be challenging, several companies provide dresses in various sizes and materials to complete the look. Women should wear pantyhose or thigh-high stockings to complete this ensemble look.


Hats were an essential fashion component during the Edwardian era. Large and often embellished with feathers, flowers, birds, bows, lace, or tulle, they were known as Gainsborough or Picture hats for how they framed women’s faces; many held onto by pompadour hairstyles and supported with decorative combs or hatpins; long sheer veils could even be tucked under such hats to facilitate sports or motoring activities.

Large department store catalogs offered an expansive selection of hats for middle-class women to shop from various designers than ever before. This was a revolutionary development and allowed middle-class ladies to gain access to more fashionable clothing than ever before.

This fashion plate depicts a spring 1902 outfit featuring a large straw hat adorned with interlaced rows of leaves, a high-necked white lace dress with a high collar, and black boots. Hat number 1, worn by the upper proper lady, is a dark brown hat trimmed with roses and green leaves; its crown boasts pink and green flowers, while its turned-up brim is embellished with black bows for decoration.

At this time, another popular style was the porkpie hat. A close relative to the fedora, this style features a small brim that curves downwards, creating an upside-down bucket shape; typically, this type of hat would be decorated with ribbon or bow and feather ornamentation and typically worn casually.


Edwardian England working classes found shoes indispensable. Lace-up dress shoes were popular choices among men and women during both daytime and evening activities; heel height options ranged from the sturdy Cuban heel for street use to delicate Louis heels for special events.

Heels could be made of kid leather, patent leather, suede, velvet, or silk/satin, decorated with jet beads, lace, and embroidery on both straps and toe boxes. Styles ranged from round to square and narrow to wide; strap sandals were trendy dressy shoes for women featuring one to five thin straps buttoned across vamp and over the top, some crossing in an X pattern while others went straight across shoe – some even featured plain black, brown or white straps featuring ribbon bows instead of buttons!

Men favored comfortable lace-up dress boots in black, brown, and two-tone colors to wear at work and leisure, but when dressing formally, they would switch to Oxford shoes that appeared like a hybrid between traditional mens oxford shoes and low-heeled dress shoes for women. These shoes featured rounded toes for wear with suits, skirt/blouse separates, or house dresses.

At night for casual activities, they wore leather slippers which were light on the feet and made a stylish addition to tea gowns. Some featured intricate embroidery of rosettes and beads, while others came crafted out of silk damask or lace-covered satin; these shoes were called slippers but more elegant than bedroom shoes since they would often accompany upper-class women while lounging before dinner in their tea gowns.

Young, independent women of the Edwardian era enjoyed outdoor activities like walking or hiking in summer, bicycle riding year-round, and ice skating during winter. To protect their legs from bicycle spokes and blades of skates and stay warm, they wore special footwear like high-heeled lace-up sports shoes with moderate or lower heel heights for walking or sports shoes with medium heels for protection and warmth.