Popular demand brought back the bustle in 1883, but with changes. It was now worn at a lower placement with a narrower width. Dresses worn over this new frame were sturdier, being constructed in heavier fabrics such as velvet, satin and wool. Colors were darker with bottle green, deep wine, navy blue and black coming to the fore. Mercifully cotton and linen were used for summer. Drapery was harder and considerably more rigid than in the 1870s.
1880 was a decade of severely tight and restrictive corsetry that was worn (or endured) under dresses with long boned bodices, tight sleeves and high necks. On the surface a very modest and even prudish look, this line was so torso defining that a woman’s shape could hardly go unnoticed. Dresses could weigh 15 – 20 pounds. Skirts were almost always layered and draped, often with an apron front and a trained back. Pleating was everywhere, both in skirt construction and in trimming.
Written by The Vintage Fashion Guild