Revolutionary, Napoléonic, and Romantic Era

Fashion in 1788 was changing, but it involved full skirts and dressy fashion could still mean a vee waistline. That changed in 1789 as classically-inspired, "Grecian," fashion came in. Dresses did not even have bodices until the early 1800s, a cord tied just below the breasts created the trademark high waistline. The First Empire ensured the return of the separate constructed bodice, but waistlines remained high until the 1810s. Waistlines gradually dropped and skirts went from being columnar to A-line in the 1820s. Shoulders became very wide in the later 1820s, so much so that broad epaulettes were used to cover them, particularly in the early 1830s when Romanticism was in flower. Sleeves were also grotesquely puffed and many sleeves were puffed at the joint of sleeve and bodice for one quarter or so of arm length. The rest of the arm was covered in a balloon of gossamer fabric down to the elbow. These big sleeves evolved into opaque sleeves that ballooned over the upper arms and became tight down to the wrists, gigot sleeves, or ballooned from shoulder to wrist, imbecile sleeves.  Round waistlines were replaced by vee waistlines around 1830. Skirts went from A-lines to domes. All of the revolutionary and post-revolutionary perturbations had subsided by 1837 when Victoria ascended the British throne. Skirts were again full and dome-like, descending from vee waistlines. Engageantes were back. The cycle of revolution, counter-revolution, and Romanticism had then come full circle.


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