Big Events

The Civil War began in 1861 and ended in 1865, heavily impacting the lives of those living during the time period. In fashion, the rise of the sewing machine allowed more decorative effects to be used in dress, and new aniline dyes allowed for brighter shades of dress.

Big Ideas

This time is known as the Crinoline Period because cage crinoline made of whalebone or steel hoops replaced heavy layers of petticoats, and were commonly worn under dresses by women of the time.

Big Trends

One trend that hit its peak in the 1870s was the bustle, an item women placed under the back portion of their skirts to add volume. In terms of silhouette, a narrow waist with a fitted bodice and full skirts was the common style. Popular sleeve styles included pagoda sleeves, gathered bishop sleeves, and the coat sleeve. During the day, high necklines were appropriate, but women often wore lower necklines in the evening. Wraps and shawls were commonly worn, and accessories such as parasols, gloves, snoods, and bonnets were popular.