University of Virginia Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

19th Century Dress and Shoes

Fashion Calls for Corsets and Bustles

19th Century Dress
Dress from the University of Virginia Drama Department.

19th Century shoes

Leather Shoes
Shoes from the private collection of Joshua Bond, Costume
Shop Supervisor, University of Virginia Drama Department.


From the 1820s to the 1920s, women’s clothing in Europe and the European parts of the Americas emphasized form-fitted clothing above the waist and ankle-length, full skirts.  The snugly fitted bodices relied on corsets to create the small waist and smooth shape required by fashion.

The 1880s dress, pictured above, consists of a bodice and skirt, which are worn over a bustle, pantaloons, corset cover and corset.  The high-buttoned leather shoes, pictured above, are typical of the period and belonged to Marion Robbins, the great-grandmother of Joshua Bond.

We are grateful to the University of Virginia Drama Department and Joshua Bond for loaning these items and preparing them for the exhibit.

Further Information