A look at Yesteryear's Fashions through Photographs
Women's Accessories

About this Image:
1)  In the early 1870s, a less constrained style typified women's fashion. A studio portrait of Johanna Steves (1839-1930) shows her curly hair pulled away from her face and worn loose in the back. A few ringlets on her forehead create the short, frizzed bangs then considered stylish.

  In addition to the long, dangling earrings popular at the time, she wears a large cross suspended from a necklace above a brooch. Notice that a watch on a chain hangs from her brooch for ease of access.

  Johanna Steves, matriarch of the Steves Family, became a prominent fixture of early San Antonio life, supporting the arts and various German societies. She installed one of the city's earliest natatoriums (an indoor swimming pool) behind her home, now the Steves Homestead museum.

2)  An older Johanna Steves (1839-1930) poses in a studio, dressed for travel. The long, fitted coat worn with black gloves and a newly fashionable bonnet conforms to the style of the late 1880s. The frizzed bangs of the 1870s are now worn longer.

  Victorian etiquette required that women travelers dress plainly so as not to attract unwanted attention — note the small earrings and relative lack of embellishment on the coat. A seasoned traveler, like Mrs. Steves, would have been prepared for any eventuality armed with an umbrella and a leather traveling case, which often contained grooming items and reading material.

3)  Josephine Edmunds (1867-1946) displays several of the fashions that were quite popular in the 1890s. Among these is her hairstyle, which features a small top-knot and short, curly bangs. The flowers and leaves accessorizing her wide lace collar reflect elaborate neck dressing favored at the time. In the 1890s, sleeves that puffed out above the elbow became known as "leg-o'-mutton" because of their shape and were extremely popular.

4)  A portrait photograph of teenage Edna Steves (1895-1978). Edna and husband Curtis Vaughn donated the Steves Homestead to the San Antonio Conservation Society in 1952.

  Edna's oversize bow and gingham checked dress reflected a major shift in girl's fashion, which became less restrictive after the turn of the century. A wide ribbon worn as a hair accessory eliminated the need for a hat, while patterned dresses in sturdier fabrics allowed for more movement and active play than did the delicate white muslin of the past.

Courtesy of San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
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ca. 1860sca. 1860s
2) 18732) 1873
3) ca.18923) ca.1892
4) 19094) 1909