Natural Form 1877-1882

By 1877, the bustle had diminished from the wire frames of earlier, to a small pad or nothing at all. The poufs in the skirts dropped to behind the knees. The bodices became long and smooth fitting over the hips, in a style known as the Cuirass. Also fashionable is the Princess Dress, where the bodice and skirt are all in one without a waist seam. Giving long lines from shoulder to ankle.

The horizontal look of earlier was giving way to ever more vertical lines. A tall, slim figure was considered fashionable. Skirts that clung to the legs (scandalous) known as tie-back skirts were all the rage. These skirts had tie strings inside to hold the front close to the legs, leaving the back free to flow into a train.

Colors and textures were mixed into complicated creations of skirts, swags, and drapes. The main focus is on the skirts, with simpler trims on the bodice.  Almost every dress is trained, sometimes even walking dresses.  Asymetrical skirts are all the rage, and trims and swags are put on high on one side and low on the other.


1877 - Journal Des Demoiselles


1877 - Revue De La Mode


1878 - La Mode Illustre

1878 - La Mode Illustre

1878 - Review de la Mode
The detached overskirt looses favor as most of the complicated drapes are sewn directily to the foundation skirt. Flowers and bows can help decorate and hide where the skirts are tacked together.
Evening bodices are more on-the-shoulder than off, with small puffed sleeves, ruffled lace, or no sleeves at all.

Every year the skirts become narrower and the bodices longer.  By 1879, the fan skirt was the mode.  The back of the skirt is confined to just about knee height, and then allowed to flow out in a full, fan-shaped train.  Petticoats, and even hoops, were required to hold the "fan" in a good shape.
The bodice shoulder line moves up to natural shoulder line and the sleeves are fitted closely to the arm


1879 - La Mode Illustre

1879 - Review de la Mode

1880 - La Journal Des Modes

1881 July - La Monde Elegant

1881 June - La Monde Elegant
Necklines for day wear become more conservative, either high with a collar, or open in a small "V".  Most often an open neckline would be filled with a linen collar on a small chimisette.

The bodices see more vertical trimmings,  they no longer just go around the neckline, but can extend down the center front to the waist or lower.

By 1880, the skirts are very slim and the train begins to disapear except for formal occations.  "Pannier" drapes at the hips are all the rage in France, adding fullnes to the figure.



1881 August - La Monde Elegant

1881 May - La Monde Elegant

1881 - La Mode Elegante Illustrada

1882 January - La Monde Elegant

1882 - Jounal des Demoiselles

1882 March - La Monde Elegant

1882 October - La Monde Elegant