What did happen in the 1840s, anyway?
Fashion, that's what happened! The 1840s is not a popular decade to study, mainly because not a whole lot took place. Or the things that did happen (the Industrial Revolution or the Oregon Trail, for example), took place gradually over several decades. The 1840s aren't remembered for being distinct in any way, but they should be: they are a unique decade in fashion.
I think people in the 1840s realized how silly they had been in the 1830s and wanted to tone it down a bit. So they decided to get rid of those ridiculous poofs and ruffles, and made dresses more simply. This dress is a great example of how people turned from trimming dresses with lace and bows, and began tucking, pleating, and gathering the fabric itself to make a dress more interesting.
The torso and sleeves were probably the most detailed parts of an 1840s gown, as seen in the fan-pleated front on this summery dress.
I love this picture. The dress is so pretty; it shows the popular narrow sleeves and fan-pleated front of the era. I think the girl wearing this dress is just so pleasant too. I would have liked to be her friend. And notice the heart locket she's wearing? It's all just so perfect!
Perhaps you've heard how Queen Victoria popularized wearing a white gown as the bride. This dress would have been made shortly after the queen got married. The gathered sleeves are rather fun, if not a bit excessive. :) A wide neckline, a pleated fan front, and gorgeous fabric make this dress beautiful.
I love the crossover front to this dress, as well as the matching belt and buckle. The pattern of the fabric is really crisp and elegant. I'm amazed at how well it looks after over 150 years!
I like how simply elegant this dress is. The wide collar is called a bertha, and the sleeve decorations are called mancherons.
Which do you prefer, the 1830's or the 1840's?
Which decade would you like me to cover in the future?