Italian Dress of the Late 1800s

Updated April 17, 2017

The late 1800s saw the revival of Italian fashion, which had declined after the 1600s. The end of the century saw the founding of many of the fashion houses that have become institutions in the 21st century, such as Bulgari. However, late 1800s Italian dress resembled the rest of Western Europe, with the French, English and Italian all melding their fashions into one that was more uniform.

Women's Bustle Silhouettes

Bustles were used to expand the back of the voluptuous dresses worn by women in the late 1800s in Italy. The late 1800s saw the shape of the bustle change from the popular bell-shape to flattening out on both the front and the sides. In the 1870s the bustle became an enlarged bump over the bottom of the wearer, allowing the dress to go over it and then fall straight to the floor.

Women's Bodices

Though the bodice was discarded in the first half of the 19th century, it re-emerged in the late 1800s. The bodice would hug the body from the chest to the top of the hips. The Princess Line bodices used in the late 1800s were longer than their predecessors, creating an elongated look to the waist while keeping it tiny. By the very end of the 19th century, bodices were reaching down to the upper parts of the thighs.

Men's Clothing

Men's clothing in the late 1800s changed to accommodate the Industrial Revolution. Disposable cuffs and collars became available and bows became replaced by ties that began to resemble those worn in the 20th century. The sack coats that began to appear in the late 1800s were defined by their boxy look, long nature and large sleeves. Trousers were the standard pant worn, and came in a variety of patterns and fell to the foot.

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About the Author

Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.