The Victoria & Albert Museum writes of 1860s women’s dress:

“1860s women’s dress featured tight bodices with high necks and buttoned fronts. White lace was popular for collars and cuffs, as were low sloping shoulders that flared out into wide sleeves. The skirt continued to be full and bell-shaped until around 1865 when it began to lose its volume at the front and move its emphasis towards the back. Hair was worn with a centre parting tied into low chignons at the nape of the neck, with loops or ringlets covering the ears. Ornaments for evening wear included floral wreaths, ostrich feathers, pomegranate flowers, wheatears and butterflies.”

Couple d'amoureux

Fig. 1 - Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919). Couple d'amoureux, 1868. Cologne: Köln Wallraf-Richartz Museum. Source: Flickr

Young Lady in 1866

Fig. 2 - Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883). Young Lady in 1866, 1866. Oil on canvas; 185.1 x 128.6 cm (72 7/8 x 50 5/8 in). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 89.21.3. Gift of Erwin Davis, 1889. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Of 1860s men, the V&A writes:
“In the 1860s it was fashionable for men’s coats and jackets to be single-breasted and semi-fitted, extending to the mid thigh. Waistcoats were often collarless and single-breasted, and trousers were occasionally cut from a narrow check cloth. High, starched collars were worn with cravats and neck-ties. Hair was parted from the centre and moderately waved. A particular hairstyle, known as ‘Dundreary whiskers’ or ‘Piccadilly weepers’, were long pendant side-whiskers worn with a full beard and drooping moustache.”
Franz Liszt

Fig. 1 - Franz Hanfstaengl (German, 1804-1877). Franz Liszt, ca. 1860. Photograph. Source: Wikimedia



Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1860-1869

Europe 1867. Source: Omniatlas

  • 1860 – Snapshot photography steel developed
  • 1860 – Garibaldi shirt or “Garibaldi jacket” popularized by Empress Eugénie of France
  • 1861 – Italy unifies; US Civil War begins
  • 1861-1865 – U.S. Civil War
  • 1863 – Salon des refusés in Paris
  • 1867 – Harper’s Bazar first published
  • 1867 – Dominion of Canada created by the British North America Act
  • 1869 – Suez Canal built
  • 1869 – Dolly Varden costume, named after a character in Charles Dicken’s Barnaby Rudge, becomes a fashionable look.
  • 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
    Womenswear Periodicals (Digitized)
    Etiquette Books (Digitized)
    Menswear Periodicals / Etiquette Books (Digitized)

    Secondary Sources

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