It’s very easy to like the fashions of past decades. Once again, I’m not that enthralled with the 1860s when it comes to gowns. Some of them were so voluminous, you wonder how they sat, walked through a door, climbed into a carriage, or managed in the powder room.
If you visit the link below, you’ll find all sorts of beautiful 1850-1860s pictures of dinner and evening dresses. However, those beautiful dresses were for the upper 10% of society who had the incomes to afford the fabrics and dressmakers. Source: 1860s evening dress fashions, descriptions and fashion plates, Vintage Victorian
To find out what the poor wore in 1860, we need to time travel through old photographs. From the ones I see, most women didn’t wear the voluminous gowns but dressed in plain skirts and blouses, wrapped in shawls. I’m sure they couldn’t afford the huge crinoline cage or multiple petticoats that adorned the bodies of the more affluent ladies.
Perhaps it was a good thing because apparently, over 3,000 women died from their crinoline cages catching on fire! Yes, you read that right. Dress at your own peril, ladies. Read the article, “c. 1857-1867 Crinolinemania Victorian Fashion goes to extremes by National Museum of Scotland”
To add to the perils of going up in flames, you could die from the color. Green-colored fabric in dresses and other clothing contained arsenic. The term “drop dead gorgeous,” came about when women wearing clothes filled with arsenic got sick. Their skin absorbed the poison. While swirling around a ballroom, the dress gave off fumes that were dangerous to those nearby.
If all of the above wasn’t bad enough, the dress fashion was the target of many jokes in caricature cartoons.
How long does it take to dress 1860’s style? If you want to watch one woman dress in the fashion, follow the LINK HERE. Unfortunately, I cannot embed the YouTube video into the blog post.
Here are a few fashions from the day below. Enjoy!