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À la Mode, 1795 to 1920
Fashion Plates
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Fashion Plates 1818-1846
A Tour of Women's Fashion

 

1818: Transition. Women’s dress began departing from the classical ideal towards a "Romantic" mode. The waistline was still high, although sleeves puffed out a bit. Skirts became less tubular and more wedge-shaped, with a flare at the hem. The hemline was emphasized with lavish trimmings: flowers, ribbons, frills, and other decorations. Vertical curls characterized the hairstyle.

From Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature and Fashions, London.

1832: Exuberance. The "Romantic" mode was in full flower. The waistline moved downward. Sleeves puffed out enormously into huge bouffants. Extremely wide, cape-like collars called "pelerines" extended the shoulders even further. Hair was braided and dressed high on the head. One of the most popular coiffures was called à la Chinoise, drawn from engravings of authentic Chinese styles. Bonnets were large-brimmed with high, round crowns.

From Le Follet, Petit Courrier des Salons, Paris, reprinted in Lady’s Magazine and Museum, London.

1843: Deflation. The upper body began to deflate. Sleeves shrank down and became tight from shoulder to wrist. Waists moved to their natural level and were emphasized with tight corseting. Petticoats supported full skirts. Hairstyles collapsed and simplified: hair was parted in the middle, pulled across the temples, and hung in sausage curls or with a loop of hair encircling the ears. Bonnets closed in on the head.

From Le Follet, Petit Courrier des Salons, Paris, reprinted in The Court, Lady’s Magazine and Museum, London.

1846: Blinkered. At mid-century, women’s dress grew increasingly restrictive. Tight bodices emphasized tiny waists and sloping shoulders. Sleeves were tight from shoulder to elbow. Skirts grew wider and wider, supported by increasing layers of petticoats. The hair was dressed close to the head, and bonnets extended forward, completely covering ears and profile.

From Petit Courrier des Dames, Paris.

Fashion and Classicism
Fashion Plates 1862-1896
Changes in 19th Century Male Fashion
Fashion Influences from Abroad
Fashion and Modernism
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Exhibit Images

Repository of Arts, 1818

Evening dress
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Repository of Arts, 1818

Walking dress
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Petite Courrier, 1832

Women of fashion
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Petite Courrier, 1832

Women of fashion
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Petite Courrier, 1843

Women of fashion
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Petite Courrier, 1846

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