top of page
WOMENSWEAR 1800-1809

WOMENSWEAR 1800-1809

About This Event

“The fashion canvas of the 18th century changed radically as the 19th century began and simpler, lighter brushstrokes were applied. Fashion in the first two decades mimicked classical Grecian drapery with its fluid lines. Bodices were minimal, cut to end under the bust thereby achieving a high waist that defined the silhouette. Necklines were predominantly low. Sleeves could be long or short. The fiddle-back bodice, with side, back and shoulder seams that were placed to form a diamond shape, was typical of this period. The use of tiny piping to finish seams began in this decade. Dresses generally opened in the front, with pins or drawstrings as the closures, while the skirts of the dresses had side openings, if any at all. The desired effect was one of simplicity. White was the most popular color and any applied trimming was used sparingly. Fabrics were lightweight, with embroidery and details that did not interrupt the aesthetic flow. Outerwear consisted of Spencer jackets (waist-length jackets named after Lord Spencer), pelisses (a type of sleeved cloak) and the ubiquitous long shawl.”

Wikipedia summarizes the silhouette of the early 19th century, writing:


“During the first two decades of the 19th century, fashions continued to follow the basic high-waisted empire silhouette, but in other respects neoclassical influences became progressively diluted. Dresses remained narrow in front, but fullness at the raised back waist allowed room to walk. Colors other than white came into style, the fad for diaphanous outer fabrics faded (except in certain formal contexts), and some elements of obvious visible ornamentation came back into use in the design of the dress (as opposed to the elegant simplicity or subtle white-on-white embroidery of the dress of ca. 1800).”

bottom of page