Dating photographs by dress

07-Aug-2014 17:07 by 3 Comments

Dating photographs by dress

In this case the young woman’s hair shows a move away from the style of the previous period, though a central parting is still visible.The elaboration of the hair with the addition of ornaments prefigures styles of the 1870s. This be-bustled dress illustrates the full development of bustles in the 1870s, with overskirt edged with lace.

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Note the upper garment loose (or pouched) at the front, and the large lace collar.

An awareness of the general shapes of women’s clothing over time, the taxonomic features, is enough to enable a possible date to be given to a photograph.

What I’ve found is that knowledge of the taxonomy of women’s clothes is a pretty good general aid to dating photographs.

The safety bicycle became common in the 1890s, and long before the coming of the model T Ford, gave women greater freedom of movement.

Simple example of women’s dress from 1900 to about 1906.

Things to note are the hair style, the tight fitting upper garment with a broadly V shaped braid pattern from shoulders to waist, fairly full sleeves, and of course the full bell shape of the dress.

The hair has a central parting, and framed the face looping down behind, often held in a hair net (or snood).

Men’s fashions are more difficult to pin down than those worn by women.

The ubiquitous sports coat and trousers look came in at the beginning of the 1860s, and remained the same except for minor changes until the early 1890s.

Unlike the earlier period the hair does not frame the oval of the face, but is pulled tightly back away from the lower face.

The upper garment is unadorned and fits the upper body very tightly.

Features of men’s clothing such as high starched or winged collars came in during the mid 1890s and were in use until the mid 1920s.

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