When fashion historian Mimi Matthews gets “the blues,” the result is an amazing in-depth look at trends in women’s clothing throughout the 19th century. I’m really interested in fashion history but I don’t know much about it and it’s not something I do, which is why I read Mimi’s excellent blog. The analysis here as well as the stunning photos really give a great sense of the use of blue in 19th century fashion. Please do check out the full article!
During the nineteenth century, blue was considered a versatile color, as suitable for elegant evening gowns and demure day dresses as it was for fashionable bonnets, slippers, and parasols. In shades ranging from the palest cerulean blue to the deepest navy, it adorned women of every age and every station, harmonizing with a wide range of hair colors and complexions. In today’s article, we look at some of the loveliest examples of the color blue in Victorian fashion.
*Please note: Deep blues were generally achieved with aniline dye. Invented in 1856, aniline dye produced a wider range of color than natural blue dyes like indigo.
In his 1870 book Color in Dress, author George Audsley describes blue as “a cold and retiring color…symbolical of divinity, intelligence, sincerity, and tenderness.” It could be worn in any season and, in its deepest and richest shades, was thought to be particularly flattering to ruddy blondes (i.e. those which Audsley describes as having “dark blue or brown eyes and brown hair”)…