For the first half of this period, the fashion of the period borrowed heavily from the past and the Orient. This was more easily done with women’s dress, but even in men’s costume one saw padded shoulders and chests, pinched waistlines, and padded hips that gave the fashionable gentleman the same hourglass figure so admired in the female.

As this period continues the fashions became more inhibiting and oppressive. The many petticoats that gave the woman the cosy look of the 1840’s gave way to the boned cage or crinoline, which held the skirts out in an unnatural bell shape. Men’s fashions for this period retained many of the lines of the earlier years of the period but with straighter lines and darker colours.