1840 to 1850

The Gothic era arrived on the scene and fashion lines wilted into drooping ringlets and dragging skirts. Sleeves lost their fullness and became fitted; shoulders were extended below their natural line and skirt hems lowered to the floor. Generally necklines were worn high during the day and wide in the evening. The skirt became very domed in silhouette, requiring yet more petticoats to achieve the desired shape. Trimmings of tucks and pleats were used to emphasize this new line. Colors shifted to darker tones and solid color fabrics were more in tune with the new solemnity.

In mid-century, skirts become even fuller with horizontal flounces or tucks added to the base skirt to give it even greater width and volume. Lines shifted from the vertical to the horizontal assisted by shorter, wider bodices. A new triangular, cone-shaped silhouette emerged featuring new pagoda sleeves.

Prints and patterns came to the fore for obvious reasons. The substantial expanses of fabric were crying out for visual interest which large plaids and border prints provided.

Written by The Vintage Fashion Guild

Next 1850 to 1860
Back Fashion Timeline


1840s printed wool challis day dress - Courtesy of contentmentfarmantiques.com
1840s printed wool challis day dress
Courtesy of contentmentfarmantiques.com
1840s brocade gown -  Courtesy of antiquedress.com
1840s brocade gown
Courtesy of antiquedress.com
 1848 pink silk moiré gown - Courtesy of antiquedress.com
1848 pink silk moiré gown
Courtesy of antiquedress.com

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