Not only was women;s costume in England, during the 19th century, beautiful and elegant, it was also very practical and had multiple uses.No original style was created in the nineteenth century and therefore was known as the age of revivals.Old styles were renewed and added upon.
The opening years of the 19th century were characterized by a very revolutionary change in style of dress, a reversion to the classical simplicity of Greece and Rome.The 19th century consisted of many eras or epochs.First, from 1800 to 1825 came the Regency Era, next was the Romantic Era from 1825 to 1850.Third came the Hoop Era lasting from 1850 until 1870.The last three decades consisted of the First Bustle, the Second Bustle and the Belle Epoch.
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The traditional dress of a woman in the 19th century was composed of 6 layers.Thefirst layer was the chemise, invented in the 1840;s.It was an unshaped undergarment and fell just below the knees.The neckline had drawstring closure and buttons located below the lower back.The second layer was the corset, a tight, confining device used to narrow the waistline.
It laced in the back and was constructed of whalebone.It was not a pleasant experience wearing one, ;As soon mother began to lace me in, I could tell that the corsets would be very confining, reaching from very low below my hip bones, to pinching my armpits.Just when I thought she was done tightening my laces she instructed me to reach to my toes and grasp as high as possible on her bedpost, then harshly laced me down another two inches.; (Dinsen)Next came the under petticoat.
This was used as insulation during the winter months, and as many as 8 could be worn.Around 1850 the hoop skirt was invented whi! ch was made to support the ever-widening skirt of the 19th century style.The hoop was comprised of a framework of hoops made from bamboo, whalebone, or metal held together by tapes, increasing in size t..