Old Photos

1860’s Ladies Fashions

Today I share five delightful ladies fashions from the 1860’s – the Civil War era.  The time period produced your typical very full skirt with hoops underneath, long sleeves and hair pulled back from the face.  All are carte-de-visite photographs – 2.5X4 inches.

Our first photograph shows a lovely woman with bishop sleeves, highly decorated, the armscye (where the sleeve is attached to the bodice) down to the underarm.  This was quite the fashion at this time, but looks uncomfortable to me.  A small, white collar was generally worn, and the bodice was buttoned up the center front.  This woman wears a belt, a usual must-have for women.  You can tell from the photo at the belt line this skirt is pleated at the waist, to make it more comfortable for the wearer, but still have the full skirts fashion decreed.  Tiny earrings complete the overall look.

This dress is a bit more severe in looks, but does have nice braiding down the sleeves.  You can just see the hair net at the back of her head – looks like black crochet which was very popular at the time.

Our young girl looks very fashionable.  She wears the large skirt of the period, light in color, except for a wide band close to the bottom of the skirt.  Her bodice is of the same material, as well as her bolero jacket.  White collar and cuffs complete her outfit.

Our next beautiful young lady looks to have a wedding ring on her left hand.  This is a gorgeous dress, in a check pattern, enormous bishop sleeves in soft folds.  You can easily see the hair net in this photograph.  Notice the high waist of the gown – fashionable wear for the time period.

The last is my favorite – what a beautiful gown – so silky and shiny, but in such good taste.  The large bell sleeves have two rows of ruffles, the white undersleeves showing beneath.  The rows of ruffles at the bottom of the gown give such an air of sophistication.  The skirt is pulled slightly to the back, giving an indication that this was a late 1860’s dress.  More jewelry is another indication of the later 60’s.

4 replies »

  1. Hardly what we saw in “Gone with the Wind.” These photos are more in line with ladies never showing even as much as an ankle in public. Thanks for sharing the reality.

  2. Dating photos by the clothing worn has always been difficult for me. Thank
    you for the education.

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