By Karly Rayner
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Fashion Backwards: How Autumn 2020’s Victoriana Style Shows a Shift Away From Fads and Trends 

2020 has been a year of shakeups, both to our general lives and to the fashion calendar, which predictably ticks over like clockwork, year upon year. In the wake of the chaos and uncertainty of COVID-19, It’s perhaps no wonder that there is a nostalgic tug towards the romantic looks of yesteryear this Autumn. 

One of this season's most alluring trends grabs us with its gloved hand and whisks us back to an age of shapely Victorian silhouettes and Edwardian Elegance. While there is certainly an element of whimsy and escapism at play here, Autumn 2020’s Victoriana style also captures a contemporary change in attitudes.

High lace collars, dramatic sheer puff sleeves and ruffles aplenty flounced across the Autumn 2020’s socially distanced catwalks, but these timeless looks also encapsulate a much-needed reassessment of fashion values. Particularly, a move away from fast fashion fads. 



As well as a return to classic shapes, Victoriana heralds a return to a slower-paced attitude to fashion, where pieces are treasured for decades as opposed to being unceremoniously trashed after one outing. Longevity and sustainability are buzz words that have been the talk of the fashion hive-mind for a while now, but Autumn 2020 could prove a pivotal moment. 

According to Who What Wear, economic uncertainty has caused a staggering 79% of consumers to snip their clothing budget down to size over the next 12 months. 

These thrifty tendencies have awoken our collective appetite for vintage shopping and provided a background note for Autumn’s high fashion flavours. When you are looking for garments to stand the test of time, how can something which has been in style for over 100 years ever be a fashion faux pas?


Image credit: @thevictoriangallery Image by Rufus W. Holsinger, photo from the University of Virginia


In short, there’s no need to worry about Victorian inspired stylings being a mere flash in the pan. This evergreen look has been ebbing and flowing into the mainstream since at least 1960 (or 1837 if you are going to be pedantic about it!) and is definitely here to stay. 

Although slightly otherworldly, Victoriana is a supremely wearable look for everyone. Lace collars and “waist up dressing” are perfect for adding some period glamour to the modern intrusion of the Zoom call and puff sleeves look magnificent on everyone from seventeen to seventy. 



In a world that moves at speed, the intricate detailing of Victorian fashion is a grounding reminder of a time when things were significantly slower. Perhaps somewhat pertinent for the unusual limbo of 2020, where 6 months have blasted by with frightening speed, despite the everyday often being slowed to a snail’s pace. 

1 year ago