An evening dress from around 1861 in black moiré silk, black jet and black lace
Evening gowns had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves or lace or crocheted fingerless mitts. Bouffant gowns with large crinolines were probably reserved for special occasions.
Skirts were now assembled of shaped panels, since gathering a straight length of fabric could not provide the width required at the hem without unwanted bulk at the waist; this spelled the end of the brief fashion for border-printed dress fabrics.
Heavy silks in solid colors became fashionable for both day and evening wear, and a skirt might be made with two bodices, one long-sleeved and high necked for afternoon wear and one short-sleeved and low-necked for evening.
Evening Dress c.1845 (unknown Country). In the 1840s, there was a preference for woven silk dresses with fine patterning and soft color tones, as if revisiting the Rococo style of the 18th century. The demand for modest, non-functional styles for women was influenced by the gender perspective of nouveau riche men (bourgeois). Such men saw work by women as a vice, and considered the paragon of womanhood to be living in a family under the protection of her husband. This perspective was embodied in women’s apparel of the period.