Clothing, that basic covering from fig leaf through the "T" shirt, has evolved over the ages. Materials, motivation, climate and a host of other factors stimulate these changes...
In the 1860s, the skirts became flatter at the front and projected out more behind the woman. Day dresses had wide pagoda sleeves and high necklines with lace or tatted collars. Evening dresses had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves, fingerless lace or crocheted mitts.
In the 1870s, un-corseted tea gowns were introduced for informal entertaining at home and steadily grew in popularity. Bustles were used to replace the crinoline to hold the skirts up behind the woman, even for "seaside dresses". The fad of hoop skirts had faded and women strived for a slimmer style. The dresses were extremely tight around the corseted torso and the waist and upper legs; Punch ran many cartoons showing women who could neither sit nor climb stairs in their tight dresses. The crinoline was replaced by the bustle in the rear. Small hats were perched towards the front of the head, over the forehead. To complement the small hat, women wore their hair in elaborate curls. Some women wore hairpieces called "scalpettes" and "frizzettes" to add to the volume of their hair.
In the 1880s, riding habits had a matching jacket and skirt (without a bustle), a high-collared shirt or chemisette, and a top hat with a veil. Hunting costumes had draped ankle-length skirts worn with boots or gaiters. Clothing worn when out walking had a long jacket and skirt, worn with the bustle, and a small hat or bonnet. Travelers wore long coats like dusters.
In the 1890s, Women's wear in the last decade of the Victorian era was characterised by high collars, held in place by collar stays, and stiff steel boning in long line bodices. By this time, there were neither crinolines nor bustles. Women opted for the tiny wasp waist instead.
The primary garment consisted of a knee-length woollen tunic. For the poorer theow, this would be the only clothing worn, although some may have been given woolen trousers and shoes to wear. Gebur would be able to afford woolen trousers and leather shoes, and would also carry a knife (called a seax), which signified their freedom in the eyes of medieval Anglo-Saxon society. A linen undertunic (worn under the outer woollen tunic) and linen braies (reaching to the ankle or knee would be worn by richer peasants and nobility, along with woollen hose which would be held up by garters or decorative embroidery around the top. During the 11th century, the length of the braies decreased and the length of the hose increased, eventually resulting in a garment which somewhat resembled modern shorts. Geneatas and thegns would often have cross-gartering on their hose, along with leather turnshoes. Over the tunic, a cloak would be worn, which was held together by a brooch or, later on, a ring (functional buttons not being invented until the 13th century). There are several illustrations of warriorlike persons, wearing headgear similar to Phrygian caps or helmets, found in 10th and 11th century Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. It is possible, though, that these images do not depict any actual fashion of the period, but rather copies of much older Byzantine or Roman originals, little understood by the copyist. Hoods would also be worn.
Peasants, workers and other people of modest condition often wore nothing, but the shenti (made of flax) was worn by all people. Slaves often worked naked.
The most common headdress was the khat or nemes, a striped cloth worn by men.