Victorian Fashion and Costumes From Harper’s Bazar: 1867-1898

Thursday’s Book Review: Victorian Fashion and Costumes From Harper’s Bazar: 1867-1898, by Stella Blum

Book Cover

Victorian Fashions and Costumes From Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 ~ © Dover Publications, 1974

5 = Shiny!

This book is filled with fashion plates from the 19th century Harper’s Bazar magazine. It’s divided into sections according to the major fashion silhouettes: Bustles and Puffs (1867-1874); Natural Form and Cuirass Body (1875-1882); Return of the Bustle (1883-1890); and Hourglass Figure (1891-1898). The images are black-and-white engravings, but they’re very detailed. Beneath most of the illustrations are brief descriptions taken directly from the original magazine. If you’re studying the history of fashion, this book is a must-have.

Street Dress, 1868

1868 Street Dress ~ © Dover Publications, 1974

This was the first historical costuming book I purchased, so it holds a special place in my heart. Besides the sentiment, it’s absolutely drool-worthy. More than a thousand Victorian fashion plates! And not just dresses, but bathing suits, sportswear, undergarments, outer garments, and accessories, like shoes, hats, parasols, and jewelry. There are even illustrations of hairstyles!

I also love the fact that the images are copyright-free. You’re permitted to use up to ten of them per project or publication. If you need more than that, you can write to Dover Publications for permission.

Hat, 1876

1876 Hat ~ © Dover Publications, 1974

There’s very little to complain about in a book like this. Really, the only thing that might have improved the book would have been some color plates. It also would have been nice if they’d included more images from certain years. (There’s only two plates from 1874, for instance.)

Whether you’re a student of fashion history or just a costume buff, you’ll want to add this book to your wish list. You will learn a great deal from studying the fashion plates. And who knows? You may be inspired to try sewing a particular dress that catches your eye.

Buy it Now: Victorian Fashions and Costumes From Harper’s Bazar, 1867-1898

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About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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2 Responses to Victorian Fashion and Costumes From Harper’s Bazar: 1867-1898

  1. Paula says:

    I love this book – but I love Victorian dresses and fashion and so I guess I’m biased :) I agree totally with your review, Stella.

    • Lisha Vidler says:

      Thanks for commenting! There are a few different books out there on Victorian fashion, but this one remains my favorite. I even have it for my Kindle, which is kinda weird, but you never know when the mood to browse through historical fashions will strike!

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