The era of fashion (1895-1914) before the flapper fashion came into play was called the Edwardian era, which had been during Prince Edward's reign. His ideals had been similar to to his predecessor, Queen Victoria, which were that women stayed at home by the hearth with their needles, and the men wielded their swords outside. While men found vocations, the accepted career choice for young women would be marriage, and much of their lives were spent into grooming themselves into the 'expected bride'. Attributes they had to retain were extreme elegance, being dutiful biddable, and the profound inability to make decisions for themselves other than their choice in cuisine. They were, in essence, to dine and party until they were ready for 'coming out', when they reached 18 years of age.
Thus, this brought on many unique fashions for the women's dress. The entire society was so strict and organised for the pleasure of Prince Edward, it influenced the necessities of clothing. Known as the golden age before the dark World War I, hostesses for the Prince were a major piece in projecting that image. Most of the hostesses, representing unashamed luxury, splendour and the high society wore a different ensemble for every section of the day. Extravagant dresses were to reflect their behaviour too, their actions being perfect like scenes of a well planned movie.
The s-bend figure of an hourglass was a distinguishing feature of Edwardian fashion. Using corsets, which were painful undergarments designed to silm down the waistlines of women into as wide as a hand's span, it shaped mature figures to every man's liking.This bodice was to be worn each and every day. Usually it was carried well by those with height and a fuller bust, and was accompanied with an air of balance, poise and feminism in an upright posture. On several occasions there had been records of broken ribs and dis functioning in the organs due to this torturing. This is still prominent in fashions now, with many dresses stressing a curved trunk and tightened clothing to outline the figure.
Long skirts were also much of the reasoning to the confinement of movement for the hostesses. They were to always completely cover up the legs and ankles, sometimes dragging onto the floors. The skirts were tight waisted and always expelled the concave surface of the hips. The 'flare skirt' was popular, and it expressed the curves of a woman in several areas other than the trunk. In addition, the rustling and layering of underwear and petticoats was considered hygienic and decent. A minimum of 6 petticoats was worn, made out of silk, satin, moire and was overly doused with lace, chiffon and frills because of its sex appeal. In fact it is from the this flowery undergarments like pantyhose during such times, that 'lingerie' was introduced and has carried on in its seductive purpose into modern day.