The Gibson Girl Look – Myth or Reality

The Gibson Girl. The idealized Edwardian pin up illustrations of Charles Dana Gibson cemented the Edwardian style myth of nipped waists American women, including working class.

Camille Clifford - Gibson Girl
The extraordinary figure of Camille Clifford was perhaps the most famous Gibson girls model

The Gibson Girl Look – Edwardian Style

Gibson Girls became the first 20th century standard of female beauty and style. Named after Charles Dana Gibson, a Life Magazine illustrator. His fanciful illustrations inadvertently created a new idealized style of Edwardian Fashion. American women emulated this look through the early Edwardian era up to the beginning of the First World War.

Gibson Girls Clock Out of Work in 1904

Real life Gibson Girls in 1904 – AI Restored Film using 60 fps 4k upscaling

The Gibson Girl was defined as an emancipated post Victorian era woman. She wore daringly tight corsets to create an hourglass figure. She wore her hair long, and pulled it back into an updo bouffant or pompadour style. Read about the Real Gibson Girls – the amazing women who served as muses to Charles Gibson for his sketches.Edwardian Fashion – The Gibson Girl

Edwardian Corsets

Edwardian corsets evolution
The corset evolved from the pinched waist to a broad tummy panel.

Corset Evolution

The wished for waist size was about 18 inches, attained by the corset and much pain. This cut up to 6 inches off the natural waist size – not to mention blood supply !

Edwardian corset - Glamourdaze
The S curve corset popular in the Edwardian era of the 1900’s

Corsets were typical of the period and women wore them daily. Gradually tightening the waist cords over a period of time until she achieved her desired waist size.Camille Clifford, an actress was famous for her waist size, which closely resembled Gibson’s illustrations. But it was Gibson’s wife, Irene Langhorne, who was the original Gibson Girl.

To learn everything you need to know about Edwardian figure, we defer to the excellent Fashion Era.

Irene Langhorne
Irene Langhorne – The First Gibson Girl ?

The Gibson Girl Silhouette

Gone were the bustles on the arms, Edwardian dresses were now cut to slenderize the silhouette, thin sleeves,large hips, large bust separated by an impossibly thin waist. The new straight front corsets created what was termed the S-bend, which pushed the bum back and the bosom forward.Add to that mix, the latest fashionable parasol and you were ready for the public!

Edwardian Dress – 1902

The Gibson girl, was essentially an american icon, and was applied to young women generally. She was known as ‘ the new woman’ – she worked independently from men, and was usually politically active, seeking the women’s vote.

In the 1948 Vogue Magazine published an interesting retrospective on Charles Dana Gibson with a recreation of his illustration from The Weaker Sex. as photographed by Horst

The Weaker Sex - Charles Dana Gibson
The Weaker Sex – Charles Dana Gibson
The Weaker Sex - Charles Dana Gibson - Horst P. Horst
The Weaker Sex – Charles Dana Gibson – re imagined in 1948 by Horst P. Horst

That’s all !
© Glamourdaze 

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5 thoughts on “The Gibson Girl Look – Myth or Reality”

  1. This will be the style of my wedding next year, cant wait to look for my dress now that I’ve seen your info!

  2. An excellent piece of research. I paint Edwardian type ladies and will place a link to this post on my blog. Regards, Marie Theron.

  3. I love this post, it's particularly great to see that video of the gibson girls' hairstyles and hats! Thank you. :)

  4. Great overview; thanks. The illustration of the evolution of corsets is scary. It does remind me not to be depressed when vintage clothes don't fit my waist – at least I can breathe properly!

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