Victorian era saw many changes in fashion, including changes in styles, fashion technology and the methods of distribution. Various movement in architecture, literature, and the decorative and visual arts as well as a changing perception of the traditional gender roles also influenced fashion.
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During the early and middle 1860s, crinolines began decreasing in size at the top, while retaining their amplitude at the bottom. In contrast, the shape of the crinoline became flatter in the front and more voluminous behind, as it moved towards the back since skirts consisted of trains now. Bodices on the other hand, ended at the natural waistline, had wide pagoda sleeves, and included high necklines and collars for day dresses; low necklines for evening dresses.
However, in 1868, the female silhouette had slimmed down as the crinoline was replaced by the bustle, and the supporting flounce overtook the role of determining the silhouette. Skirt widths diminished even further, while fullness and length remained at the back. In order to emphasize the back, the train was gathered together to form soft folds and draperies.
A set of elegant photos from Leigh McKinnon that shows what dress styles for women looked like in the 1860s.