Last month when I was in Paris my husband and I spotted a statue in a small park, and long before we were close enough to read the inscription I said, “That is so the 1830s.” Here’s the statue. In case you can’t see the inscription, the date is 1830.
Besides being extreme in its silhouette, I find everything about the look so . . . depressing. Everything drooped. Hairdos were curled and plastered to the forehead or else looped in front, like the ears of a morose basset hound. Sleeves slid off the shoulders and then ballooned out into absurd proportions. Tight, fitted bodices set off huge skirts, which were draped and flounced and beribboned. Have a look at some of these and see if you don’t agree with me:
Kids suffered, too. Gone were the relatively comfy skeleton suits worn by boys of the past decades (see my blog here). Back came the corsets and tight collars and heavy fabrics:But it was the little girls who really had it bad. The muslin and cotton dresses that had been so popular in previous decades gave way to heavy brocades and velvets with tightly-laced bodices and multiple petticoats padding out their heavy, uncomfortable skirts. For early Victorians, it wasn’t just fashionable to upholster your sitting room–you had to upholster your kid as well. Have a look: