Female fashion during the nineteenth century progressed through a startling array of different styles, fabrics and silhouettes. Starting with the classical-style, high-waisted, trained dresses of the 1800s and 10s, fashion gradually moved to fuller skirts and hour-glass figures by the 1830s and 40s, with very large crinoline skirts by 1860. Dresses of the 1870s and 80s had periods of "back interest" created by bustles and pads with short trains, contrasting with styles for fitted princess-line shealth outfits. The 1890s returned to the hour-glass shape of the 1830s with similar very full "leg of mutton" sleeves. Fabric ranged from finely embroidered or boldly printed cotton muslin or calico, to neatly patterned or complex jacquard-woven silk or challis (silk and wool mix); whilst colours varied from the exceptionally bright and brash (using the new analine chemical dyes from the 1860s), to the muted, subtle and "neo-classical".
Full item descriptions:
"day dress" [1938.33]
"evening dress & underdress" [1947.1813]
"afternoon dress" [1947.4118]
"day dress" [2002.44]