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Past Chronicles
Past Chronicles


A Review of the Incredible Fashion of the 1860s

1860s dresses
The era of the 1860s is a period of romance elegance and chivalry reflected in the fashions and styles of the era.

The fashion of European and European influence clothing in the era of 1860s dresses can be characterized by voluminous women’s fashions that rely on crinolines and hoops. There is also the emergence of alternative styles under the direction of the Artistic dress movement. When it comes to men’s fashions, much utilized is the three-piece waistcoat and trousers in the same fabric, which emerged as a novelty.

1860s dresses

The era of the 1860s is a period of romance elegance and chivalry reflected in the fashions and styles of the era.


When it comes to colors, the first chemical dyes were discovered back in 1856. It quickly became popular and applied in fashions. The first-ever colors were mauve and bright purple. Back in 1860, the two most fashionable hues were brilliant pink and aniline dyes. The colors were utilized to honor the battles in Italy’s fight for independence. The magenta signifies the Italian town of Magenta in Lombardi. Magenta was likewise popularized in Britain by the Duchess of Sutherland after silk weavers asked for her help.

Rich gowns

But by the start of the early 1860s, skirts had gotten to their most voluminous width. After the 1860s, the crinoline’s silhouette had transformed, and rather than being shaped like a bell, it now became flat at the front side and projects out more from behind. All manners of decorations predominantly decked this vast area. Puffs and strips will be covering a majority of the skirt. Multiple flounces were utilized that the material of the skirt was itself not even visible. Once again, lace became a popular material and was utilized in every dress. Each part of the dress may also be embroidered with either silver or gold. Dresses required massive construction as well as gauze to make it stiff. It will also require numerous starched petticoats. Even the garments of women who will be riding horses received these sorts of fantastic embellishments.

Day dresses

When it comes to day dresses, pagoda sleeves were utilized and worn over the undersleeves. High necklines are also fashioned with either lace or tatted collars. Chemisettes were put in place to complete a demure and daytime fashion.

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When it comes to evening gowns, they had low necklines as well as short sleeves. They were worn with gloves with crocheted  design. The full skirts were supported by petticoats as well as hoops. Crinolines were also utilized. The utilization of hoops was not common until the year 1856. Before then, the skirts were supported with layers of starched petticoats. Voluminous gowns with huge crinolines were primarily reserved for special events.

Huge skirts

Skirts were typically assembled from shaped panels. The gathering of a straight line of fabric will not provide enough width required at the hem without having unwanted bulk at the waistline. Because of this, it spelled the end of the era of brief fashion for border printed dresses.

The utilization of dense silks in brilliant colors became even more stylish for both daywear and eveningwear. A skirt might be designed with two bodices for afternoon wear and one for evening events. The bodices are often triangularly shaped and featured a two-piece front utilizing a closure and a three-piece back.

As the years progressed, sleeves began to narrow, and the circular hoops that were famous in the 1850s decreased in size at the front as well as the sides but increased at the back. The loop of skirts will reveal matching or contrasting underskirts. This fashion will reach its ultimate peak in the next two decades with the bustle construct’s rise. Waistlines rose for a time at the end of the decade.


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Without a doubt, 1860s fashion is magnificent. You probably have seen it in period films, and there is no denying that it inspires the imagination. Although it is beautiful to look at, imagine having to wear such voluminous clothing in the modern era. Although lovely to look at, eighteen-sixties fashion elements can only be incorporated reductively to accommodate current needs and fashions.

Riley Brown
Written By

Riley is a history, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in San Diego. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia from the University of Oregon. His work has been featured in many finance and lifestyle publications throughout the US. When he is not writing, Riley enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with his dog.


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