Who wore it best – Titanic Edition

So, maybe not who wore it best like you see in the gossip magazines.  However, this is a post about fashion in the time of the Titanic.

The 1910s can best be described as a period of transition.  In the early nineteen teens there was cultural shift just beginning that would eventually make way for the “roaring twenties” coexisting with Edwardian culture, which was deeply routed in Victorian ideology.

So what does this mean for fashion?  Shockingly, it too was in transition.  With fashion in this era you see a few main silhouettes for women.  The first silhouette is uniquely Edwardian.  Full, flowing skirts, tightly corseted waists, and full, wavy up-dos  were also reflected the organic, flowing lines of the Art Nouveau decorative style popular at the turn of the century.  This style was similar to it’s Victorian predecessor but with the opulence and luxury of the Edwardian Era in make and material.

Edwardian evening dress, 1905. From the Collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Edwardian Evening Dress, 1908. From the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum









In the Edwardian style skirts were large and women were curvy.  The next style is another story entirely.  The long, lean silhouette and empire waist line was introduced in the 1880s; however, it did not gain popularity until 1906 and remained a favored style of dress into the 1910s.  Hemlines were raised and corsets shed in this style but the rich, ornate aesthetic of the Edwardian period was still very much present.  Hats shrank progressively over the course of the decade, as did hair.  Though at the beginning of the 1910s, women were often supplementing their hairstyles with false additions, including curls, buns, and partial wigs.

Evening Dress, 1912. From the collections of the Victorian & Albert Museum.

Black dress with empire waist, 1910-1912. From the Collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum











Traveling for women in the 1910s was a great excuse for a new style.  This brings us to the tailored women’s suit.

Photograph from Titanic, the 1997 film. Property of James Cameron and 20th Century Fox

The women’s suit in the 1910s typically consisted of a white shirt blouse, a skirt (typically straight though some were slightly fuller earlier in the 1910s), and a jacket.  The waist sits just at or above the natural waist and the shorter hem highlights buttoned and embellished boots.

Women's traveling suit being made by one of our wonderful Educators here at the Ohio Historical Society for the sold out Titanic Steerage Supper Event.

The lovely Jennifer, OHS Educator, working on clothing for interpreters.










Yes, there are many more specific styles for women during this period, but we covered styles that were common specifically in 1912.

Inspiration for a 1st class passenger's dress for the Titanic Steerage Supper at the Ohio Historical Society.

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