The Vintage Fashion Guide writes of 1810-1820 dress:

“From 1810 to 1820 dresses became slightly more structured with padded hems and firmer fabrics, such as twills and even some taffeta. Soft colors returned to fashion after a 10-year absence. Sleeves began to grow fuller at the shoulder and high waists endured throughout this period but lowered slightly as the years went by.

Skirt hems widened ever so slightly. Fabric trimmings (often in the same fabric as the dress) were used extensively.”

Women 1800-1819 Part 2, Plate 040

Fig. 1 - Artist unknown. Women 1800-1819 Part 2, Plate 040, 1800-1819. New York: The Costume Institute, Plate 040. Gift of Woodman Thompson. Source: The Costume Institute

Silk gown

Fig. 2 - Designer unknown. Silk gown, 1817-1821. Silk. Bath: Fashion Museum Bath. Source: Pinterest

Tapestry weave slippers

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown. Tapestry weave slippers, 1813. Linen, white kid, leather. Source: Pinterest

Frederica Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands

Fig. 4 - Joseph Paelinck (Belgian, 1781-1839). Frederica Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, 1817. Oil on canvas; 223.5 x 175.3 cm (88 x 69 in). Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 56.090B. Museum Works of Art Fund. Source: Pinterest


Wikipedia writes of early 19th-century menswear:

“This period saw the final abandonment of lace, embroidery, and other embellishment from serious men’s clothing outside of formalized court dress—it would not reappear except as an affectation of Aesthetic dress in the 1880s and its successor, the “Young Edwardian” look of the 1960s. Instead, cut and tailoring became much more important as an indicator of quality. This transformation can be attributed in part to an increased interest in antiquity stemming from the discovery of classical engravings, including the Elgin Marbles. The figures depicted in classical art were viewed as an exemplar of the ideal natural form, and an embodiment of Neoclassical ideas. Therefore, in the 18th century, dress was simplified and greater emphasis was put on tailoring to enhance the natural form of the body.”


Fig. 1 - Designer unknown (French). Coat, ca. 1810. Wool, silk, wood; 105.8 cm (centre back), 70.5 cm (sleeve length). Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria. Source: Pinterest

Napoleon, King of Italy

Fig. 2 - Andrea Appiani (Italian, 1754-1817). Napoleon, King of Italy, 1805. Oil on canvas; dimensions unavailable cm. Source: Pinterest

General Étienne-Maurice Gérard (1773–1852)

Fig. 3 - Jacques Louis David (French, 1748-1825). General Étienne-Maurice Gérard (1773–1852), 1816. Oil on canvas; 197.2 x 136.2 cm (77 5/8 x 53 5/8 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 65.14.5. Purchase, Rogers and Fletcher Funds, and Mary Wetmore Shively Bequest, in memory of her husband, Henry L. Shively, M.D., 1965. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Le Goût du Jour, No. 21: Les Modernes Incroyables, from Caricatures Parisiennes

Fig. 4 - Georges Jacques Gatine (French, ca. 1773–after 1841). Le Goût du Jour, No. 21: Les Modernes Incroyables, from Caricatures Parisiennes, 1815. Etching, hand-colored; sheet: 37.1 x 26.3 cm plate: 32.6 x 23 cm (sheet: 4 5/8 x 10 3/8 in plate: 12 13/16 x 9 1/16 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971.564.194. The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1971. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Alfred Dedreux (1810–1860) as a Child

Fig. 1 - Théodore Gericault (French, 1791-1824). Alfred Dedreux (1810–1860) as a Child, 1819-20. Oil on canvas; 45.7 x 38.1 cm (18 x 15 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 41.17. The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1941. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portrait of a Young Man in Brown, possibly Javier Goya

Fig. 2 - Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828). Portrait of a Young Man in Brown, possibly Javier Goya, 1810-1815. Oil on canvas; 81.3 x 58.1 cm (32 x 22 7/8 in). Boston: The Museum of Fine Arts, 48.558. Gift of John Taylor Spaulding. Source: The Museum of Fine Arts

José Costa y Bonells (died l870), Called Pepito

Fig. 3 - Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, 1746-1828). José Costa y Bonells (died l870), Called Pepito, ca. 1810. Oil on canvas; 105.1 x 84.5 cm (41 3/8 x 33 1/4 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 61.259. Gift of Countess Bismarck, 1961. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1810-1819

Map of Europe, 1810. Source: Emerson Kent

  • 1810 – British-born Edward Cartwright had patented the first power loom in 1785, but the design was in need of modification. Between then and the early 19th century it underwent improvements and by 1820 was commonly used in both Britain and the US.
  • 1812-1814 – War between U.S. and England
  • 1815 – Napoleon defeated at Waterloo; exiled
  • 1815-1824 – Restoration of French monarchy: the reign of Louis XVIII
  • 1819 – Spain ceded Florida to the U.S.
  • Primary/Period Sources

    Resources for Fashion History Research

    To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
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    Fashion Plate Collections (Digitized)
    NYC-Area Special Collections of Fashion Periodicals/Plates
    Fashion Periodicals (Digitized)
    Etiquette Books (Digitized)

    Secondary Sources

    Also see the 19th-century overview page for more research sources... or browse our Zotero library.