|May 1844 Walking & Bridal Dresses|
Last month, we looked at the wild and crazy fashions of the 1830s. Though they seem more graceful and flattering in paintings than in fashion prints, and not everybody loves the style, I think we can agree that they were not subdued.
Of the 1830s, Cunnington’s English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century has this to say: “The fashions of this decade illustrate the transformation from a phase exuberantly romantic into one droopingly sentimental. The change occurred abruptly in the middle of 1836.”
In this regard, Mr. Cunnington gets no argument from me. So far, all the fashion prints I’ve seen illustrate this transition.
|May 1844 Visiting & Walking Dresses|
This droopier, subdued look continues in the 1840s. According to Cunnington, “The Englishwoman of this decade cultivated her feelings at the expense of her body. She was less physically active than at any period in the century; she was absorbed in acquiring the art of expressing emotions by graceful attitudes rather than by movement. Her dress, therefore, was admirably designed for passive poses. …Sentimentalism in England finds a natural mode of expression in the Gothic, and it was the period when Victorian Gothic was at the height of its popularity.”
I wish I had been able to find, in the limited time I had, better quality fashion prints for the 1840s. However, you can see something closer to a portrait painting here and here, both of which illustrate the radical change in hair styles as well.
Clicking on the image will enlarge it. Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.