Featured Title


Because it is difficult to judge a reference book's usefulness merely by its title and cover, we've added this page to Literary Liaisons. Every other month, we will feature one of the books listed in our "Researching the Romance" pages.

Below you will find a short description of the featured book, the table of contents, bibliographic information, and where possible, a scan of the cover. This page will also provide you with a direct link to Amazon.com so you may easily purchase this book on-line.

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This month's feature:

Victorian Fashions for Women and Children by Linda Setnik 

"Victorian Fashion for Women and Children: Society's Impact on Dress"



Linda Setnik



1st Edition


$29.99 (PB)

(Check Amazon.com for pricing--discounts may vary.)


Price Guide


A Note on Women's and Children's Clothing Styles




PART I: General Topics


Chapter 1. Underclothes


Chapter 2. Leisure Wear


Chapter 3. Children's vs. Women's Clothing


PART II: Women's and Children's Street Apparel


Chapter 4. 1860-1864


Chapter 5. 1865-1868


Chapter 6. 1869-1875




Chapter 7. 1876-1878


Chapter 8. 1879-1882


Chapter 9. 1883-1888


Chapter 10. 1889-1892


Chapter 11. 1893-1896


Chapter 12. 1897-1900


PART III: Boy's Gallery


Chapter 13. Boy's Clothing








SYNOPSIS:I recently had the opportunity to review Victorian Costume for Ladies 1860-1900 by Linda Setnik, a fascinating look at fashion through photographs from the era. I am pleased to say that the author has followed up with another wonderful resource - Victorian Fashions for Women and Children: Society’s Impact on Dress. This new book covers the same years, 1860-1900, but looks more closely at children’s fashions, and how society influenced styles for both women and children.

What I found particularly interesting is the way fashion magazines criticized the contemporary woman of the day for sticking to impractical styles, yet continued to feature them in their pages. Saying we are slaves to fashion was never more prevalent than in the Victorian Era. Women wore layers and layers (sometimes as many as ten) no matter what the weather. Tight lacing and corsets forced organs into places they shouldn’t be. There are amazing examples of abnormally small waistlines in the photos accompanying the text.

Sadly, women not only followed these fashions, but inflicted the same upon their daughters at a young age. Children dressed like small adults except for shorter skirts and less ornamentation. I was surprised to learn that boys dressed identical to girls for longer than I thought. They normally wore dresses until the age of five or six, and sometimes even until their teenage years. Their hair, while usually short, was parted on the side, while girls parted their hair in the center, which is sometime the only distinguishable feature in a photo. The wealthier classes kept boys in dresses longer. There were no gender distinctions, as a result. All were simply children whose mothers didn’t want them to grow up.

In addition to fashion trends, Ms. Setnik covers leisure wear, which would hardly be considered ‘leisurely’ by our standards, since it allowed for little movement. Also covered are hairstyles and accessories like jewelry, stocking and sashes.

Each chapter covers several years, explaining the sometimes subtle changes from season to season. Waistlines dropped or rose, went from straight to pointed, hemlines of overskirts rose and fell, skirt and bustle sizes changed shape and size, sleeves puffed, and silhouettes slimmed. The photographs can be dated by identifying these changes.

Some additional features are an extensive bibliography to continue your research, and a price guide for valuing the clothing.

This book shows that Ms. Setnik thoroughly researched the topic, and is an expert in the field. I enjoyed seeing the photographs of contemporary women, rather than perfect models, and learned many new facts and details from this fascinating era.



Past Feature Titles

Click on the bullet next to the title to see the detailed summary.

VVictorian Costume for Ladies 1860-1900  by Linda Setnik

Every Writer's Guide to Copyright and Publishing Law/strong> by Ellen M. Kozak

Victorian Cottage Residences by Andrew Jackson Downing

Are You My Type?  Am I Yours? by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele

The Victorian Frame of Mind by Walter E. Houghton

Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

The Pre-Raphaelites by Christopher Wood

The Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda Edelstein, PhD

Pictorial Encyclopedia of Historic Architectural Plans, Details and Elements by John Theodore Haneman

How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey

Hints on Household Taste by Charles L. Eastlake

Steal This Plot by June and William Noble

Moseman's Illustrated Catalog of Horse Furnishing Goods by C.M. Moseman and Brother

The Timetables of History by Bernard Grun

Dialogue by Gloria Kempton

Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

The Victorian Kitchen by Jennifer Davies

You Can Market Your Book by Carmen Leal

Victorian Things by Asa Briggs

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Dickens's Dictionary of London by Charles Dickens

Type Talk by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Theusen

The Victorian Underworld  by Donald Thomas

Organize Yourself! by Roni Eisenberg

The Dialects of England by Peter Trudgill

The Career Novelist by Donald Maass

Milord and Milady by Nina Epton

From Printout to Published  by Michael Seidman

Victorian Fashions & Costumes from Harper's Bazar: 1867-1898 Edited by Stella Blum

Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

Seven Centuries of English Cooking by Maxime de la Falaise

100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein

British English A to Zed by Norman W. Schur

Career Opportunities For Writers by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Personal Beauty by D.G. Brinton, M.D. and G.H. Napheys, M.D.

The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman

From the Ballroom to Hell: Grace and Folly in Nineteenth Century Dance by Elizabeth Aldrich

The History of Underclothes by C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington

Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary by Marc McCutcheon

Men's Fashion by John Peacock

writing.com by Moira Anderson Allen

Daily Life in a Victorian House by Laura Wilson

Building Better Plots by Robert Kernan

Wild Women by Autumn Stephens

Facts In a Flash by Ellen Metter

A History of Jewellery by Joan Evans

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Romance Published by Julie Beard

The Writer's Legal Companion by Brad Bunnin and Peter Beren

The House Beautiful by Clarence Cook

Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook

English Through the Ages by William Brohaugh

Victoria by Stanley Weintraub

Conflict, Action and Suspense by William Noble

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace

Creating Characters: How to Build Story People by Dwight Swain

Life at the Court of Queen Victoria by Barry St-John Nevill

The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England: From 1811-1901 by Kristine Hughes

Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon

English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century by C. Willett Cunnington

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool


*NOTE: Prices are current when the page is posted on the site. Amazon.com may change the pricing policy at any time.

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