Femininity in 1850

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Posted by Emily on November 06, 2004 at 17:55:58:

I was browsing the news this morning and found an article that caught my attention. It's about a new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:


Here's an excerpt:

"Talk about full figured.

"The new fashion exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the exuberance of style in the 1850s, when the hoop skirt made its debut. Lauren Whitley, assistant curator in the textiles and fashion art department, said "High Style and Hoop Skirts" could be called "more is better."

"There's lots of flounce, lots of trims and lots of fringe. It's a very horizontal look. Dresses (were) really swelling," she said."

I think it's always wonderful to hear "more is better" as a fashion rule, and I was struck by how nicely these ideas fit in with the styling discussions I've read on this forum, talking about what actually WOULD look good in full-figure fashion, if society didn't have hang-ups about size. "Flounce, trims, and fringe" did feature in some of the most interesting fashions in spring and summer this past year. And I find it interesting that at a time when the full female figure was universally admired, that fashion preferred a "horizontal look."

Anyway, here's a link to a page about the exhibit at the MFA site. I like the picture that accompanies it. If you took away the hoop skirt and just looked at the top of the dress, you can see some elements that have appeared in mainstream fashion, this past year. I hope the trend continues next season.

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