1840s in Fashion

1840s in Fashion: General Trends

In western countries, 1840s in Fashion was seen emphasizing more on a tapered, natural shoulder line subsequent to the overstated winded sleeves of the 1840s and 1830s. For both the genders the narrower shoulder was accompanied by a lower waistline. However, the dressing of upper class people still followed the style of previous decades with full shoulders and chest, and a firmly-assured waist.

1840s in Fashion: Men’s Clothing

Men during 1840s wore linen or cotton shirts that featured low standing collars infrequently turned down, and were worn with broad cravats or neck ties attached in several ways:

  • Around the neck, tangled in front and winded up to cover the shirt collar and create a pigeon like neckline
  • Like the first version but often  inserted into the waistcoat
  • Around the neck and tangled into a bow tie
  • The "Osbaldiston" i.e. a barrel shaped knot beneath the chin
  • The dark color cravats were mostly worn during the day time and attractive ones were popular in the country

The dickey, a false shirt frontage generally made of satin, was introduced. It resulted in an "intentionally messy" appearance.

Like 1830s, frock coats were seen to be used as casual day wears. These coats were calf length, and sometimes double-breasted as the earlier decade.

Men were seen wearing a cutaway morning coat with trousers for official daytime occasions. A dark tail coat and trousers were worn in the evening.

One type of casual wear consisted of a tight-fitting frockcoat with a front cut up to the waist. During these ten years, a vest replaced the waistcoat and the vests were attractive without any collar.

Like previous years, the full-length trousers were seen with fly fronts. While attending formal functions, men wore breeches.

1840s in Fashion: Women’s Clothing

Women’s clothing during this decade appeared to be narrow and sloping with low and pointed waists. The skirts in this period took the shape of a bell supported by a new method of connecting the skirts to the bodice using organ or cartridge pleats that make the skirt to get spread from the waist. The increased layers of petticoats helped the skirts to look longer. Sleeves were tapered and completeness dropped from beneath the shoulder at the initial periods of the decade to the lower portion of the arm.

Women wore evening gowns off the shoulder. Featured with wide prances that reached to the elbow, often of lace, these gowns were used with shawls and opera-length gloves.

Small bags were another accessory that used by women during this period regularly. White colored satin and embroidered or painted bags were used at home whereas green or white and tasseled bags were taken while going outside.

1840s in Fashion: Hairstyles

1840s in Fashion witnessed that the crowns of tall hats were straighter than the earlier periods. For men, the hats were a must during formal occasions. In bright, sunny climates they wore wide-brimmed hats. Curly hair and sideburns in combination with moustaches were considered to be stylish.

In case of women, the broad hairstyles of the earlier decade gave way to styles which kept the tresses closer to the head and the high bun on the crown fall down to the back of the head.

Women during the period used linen caps with fills, lace, and ribbons were used by married women at home as day wear. In the evening, feathers, pearls, lace, or ribbons were used to decorate the tresses along with a small brimless bonnet.

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