The Victorian era of Great Britain is considered the height of the British Industrial revolution and the apex of the British empire. It is often defined as the years from 1837 to 1901, when Queen Victoria (referred to as the greatest and most beloved of British monarchs) reigned, though many historians believe that the passage of the reform act of 1832 marks the true inception of a new cultural era. The Victoria era was preceded by the Regency era and came before the Edwardian period.

Queen Victoria also had one of the longest, if not the longest, reign in British history. The period is characterized as a long period of peace and economic, colonial, and industrial consolidation, temporarily disrupted by the Crimean war, although Britain was at war every year during this period. Towards the end of the century, the policies of new imperialism led to increasing colonial conflicts and eventually the Boer wars. Domestically, the agenda was increasingly liberal with gradual political reform. The Victorian era gave birth to Victorian design and style that are still around today.

Victorian style was often very ornate, especially the architecture, where there was a lengthy competition between the Classic style and Gothic style schools of thought. Gothic Revival was influenced by the original Gothic architecture of Medieval times. The Gothic boom actually begun in 1818, when Parliament assigned a Million pounds for building 214 new Anglican churches. One Hundred Seventy Four of them were constructed in a Gothic or near-Gothic style, and for almost a hundred years, most churches in England were Gothic in design. Despite the popularity of extravagant decoration, Renaissance or classic styles were also favoured for public buildings.

Several general style trends of the Victorian Era transcend any one facet of fashion, but rather had broad influence across clothing styles, architecture, literature, and the decorative arts, many of these had their roots in the 18th century, but flowered in the Victorian age, including; orientalism, the Gothic revival which generated the pre-Raphalites and artistic dress, Aestheticism, home d?cor, fashion through dress reform and rational dress.

Charles Fredrick Worth, the "father of Haute Couture" was a London draper who relocated to Paris in the 1840's, his success led to the dominance of Paris fashion houses as arbiters of style and the preferred clothiers for upper class women in both Britain and America.