Category: year overview

1855

Women’s fashion was ornate above all else in 1855, with the hoop skirt reigning prominently in conjunction with brightly colored silks and satins accessorized with all varieties of tasteful trimmings.

1856

In 1856, women’s dresses were made mostly in silk, cotton, and velvet, and their silhouettes consisted of bodices fitted to the waist and full bell skirts that were accessorized with flounces, stripes, trims, and flowers.

1863

1863 saw the crinoline still reigning triumphant with full bell-shaped skirts and tiny, nipped-in corseted waists the ideal silhouette—in part due to the support of the French Empress Eugénie. In more avant-garde circles, some were beginning to abandon the crinoline.

1865

In 1865 the shape of the crinoline had shifted—flattening in the front, with greater fullness in the back. Blue, neutral, and striped fabrics were quite popular and often accented with contrasting trimmings.

1866

In 1866 belted dresses became quite fashionable—replacing the pointed bodices previously en vogue. Ribbon trimmings were preferred to artificial flowers.

1867

1867 saw an increasing popularity of princess-cut dresses (those without a waist seam) as well as a greater emphasis on back volume as the crinoline begins to disappear. Men’s trousers began to be more narrowly cut in the “French style.”

1868

In 1868, skirts with long trains were at the height of fashion, which resulted in noticeable cropping in images depicting this prevalent style of dress. Yet, at the same time, walking dresses became daringly short, showing off fashionable ankle boots.

1869

In 1869, women were beginning to wear bustled silhouettes, often with trains. Bright synthetic dyes continued to be popular and a taste for 18th-century revival elements like the polonaise was growing.

1870

The year 1870 was characterized by an extensive use of vibrant, contrasting colors and ostentatious trims, tassels, and flounces. Emphasis was now placed on individual style over the following of trends. By juxtaposing the desire to be fashionable for the moment with the desire to find what looks good on one’s self, society at large saw wide variety in interpretations of fashionable dress.

1871

The beginning of 1871 saw a brief pause in fashion change due to the Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune. The bustle (or tournure) with a half-train was the most desirable silhouette, often paired with a tablier, or apron-fronted skirt.

1876

1876 was a year that abided by the rule of “more is more”, as the most fashionable styles at the time included dramatic bustle silhouettes, combinations of multiple fabrics on a single garment, and extravagant trimmings.

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