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Hello! Sorry to bother you, I have a question. I don’t really know the difference between 1840 and 1850 dresses (Europe) You seem to know a lot about fashion, would you be able to tell me any other differences? Thank you!

February 17, 2014


Of course! The 1840s through even the 1860s can often get very muddly. I’m going to provide lots of links so this doesn’t become image heavy.

The first thing to look at is the skirt volume. It’s somewhat hard to tell in the early years of the 1850s, but compare these dresses: c.1841   c.1849   c.1850-1852   c.1855   c.1859. The skirts slowly gain more volume and change shape until most of the fullness is in the back and sides instead of all around full.

The other main thing to look for is the ‘pointy-ness’ of the bodice. While dresses from the 1840s and 1860s still do have a ‘pointy’ bodice, the 1850s truly takes the cake. This c.1840 evening dress has a much duller point compared to this c.1845 evening dress, which in turn has nothing on this c.1850-1855 evening dress and this c.1854 ball gown

Another place to look would be the sleeves. The 1850s starts the pagoda and bishop sleeve craze that would continue on to the 1860s. Here’s the c.1855 dress again for bishop sleeves. The pagoda sleeve has tons of variations, but here’s a c.1855 day dress and a c.1858-1860 dress.

I hope this helps!

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