Large bustles were only popular in the mid-1880s. Smaller bustles were considered more fashionable in the early and late parts of the decade. Draped panels and tightly pleated ruffles embellished skirts. Sleeves were generally tight, but towards the end of the decade, they developed a small puff at the top.
Popular literature and culture influenced style as well. Lillie Langtry, nicknamed Jersey Lily, an international stage performer and fashion icon, chose a wool knit fabric for a tennis costume. The term jersey knit was soon adopted for knit fabrics.
Illustrations from the childrens novel Little Lord Fauntleroy, published in 1885, started a fashion trend for young boys. The character of Little Lord Fauntleroy was dressed in a velvet cutaway jacket, matching knee pants, and fancy shirt with lace and ruffled collar. This became popular formal attire for young boys three to eight years of age.