During the Victorian Era, clothes were seen as an expression of women’s place in society and were hence, differentiated in terms of social class.
Upper-class women, who did not need to work, often wore a tightly laced corset over a bodice or chemisette, and paired them with a skirt adorned with numerous embroideries and trims; over layers of petticoats.
Middle-class women exhibited similar dress styles; however, the decorations were not as extravagant. The layering of these garments make them very heavy. Corsets were also stiff and restricted movement.
Although the clothes were not comfortable, the type of fabrics and the numerous layers were worn as a symbol of wealth.
Here below is a collection of amazing photos that shows Victorian ladies wearing evening gowns in the 1850s.