Romantic and Crinoline Period


Wilhelm Gause Ball der Stadt Wien 1904

Romanticism used to characterize a movement in art, literature, and music that prized freedom of expression, gave rise to the Romantic period. Beginning in England, Romanticism expanded through Europe and the United States. Romanticism was a reaction against the classical principles that governed creative effort at the time. Romantic idealists thought that it should reveal feelings, art should be pleasing to the senses, and imagination should take precedence over reason. Romantics had a strong sense of the past and frequently retold historical stories in their art, poetry, and music.

Women’s Fashion

The Romantic Era reached its pinnacle in the 1830s. It was at this time that the silhouette attained its peak. The 1830s shape, which resembled two inverted triangles, attempted to provide as much breadth for both shoulder and hemline. In the 1830s, sleeve styles were varied, but most were pretty full. The gigot and demi-gigot sleeves had a big puffed sleeve at the armscye tapered down to a small, close-fitting cuff at the wrist (later referred to as the leg-o-mutton sleeve 1890s). Both were highly well-liked.

Women wore round or v-shaped necklines with various chemisettes (or tuckers). Pelerines, or large white collars with lapels reaching down the front, were a fashionable 1830s ornament. Because the profile resembled two inverted triangles, the emphasis on a tight waistline necessitated the use of stays and petticoats. Stays throughout the Romantic era were usually just minimally boned or corded. They featured a strong hardwood (or occasionally ivory) busk down the centre front and laced up the back. The late 1830s wore layers of petticoats and wore a tiny bustle pad (also known as a skirt improver) worn at the back of the waist.

Men’s Fashion

After 1825, the fashionable masculine silhouette followed the same lines as the feminine one, with the waistline nipped and the sleeves puffing at the shoulder. To obtain the required abdomen, some ultra-fashionable guys wore corsets. Men also desired an expanded chest and shapely legs, so most jackets were padded, and padded stockings were available to produce noticeable calves. Caricaturists criticized this new fashion trend, as well as the alterations in womenswear, viciously.

A man’s wardrobe consists of selected items according to the time of day and the event. A dress coat, a tailcoat with the fronts cut straight across the waist, and used hanging tails in the rear were used for formal daywear. Morning coats differed from formal tailcoats in that they had slanted fronts that bent softly toward the end. The new frock coat was becoming increasingly popular for casual daytime situations. The frock coat, which first appeared in the mid-1810s, had a waistline seam, was tight-fitting, and had voluminous skirts that hung straight to the knee.

Victorian Era/Crinoline Period

Portrait of Empress Eugénie Surrounded by Her Maids of Honor c. 1855. F.X. Winterhalter. Musée national du château de Compiègne.

William IV died without a successor in 1837. His 18-year-old niece, Victoria, was named Queen. On the other hand, scholars do not begin to chronicle the significant socioeconomic and cultural changes that Queen Victoria’s England brought about until around 1850. Victorian Era was one of the longest reigns in history, as Queen Victoria governed England and Ireland until she died in 1901. 

A young Queen Victoria of England c. 1842 by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

The crinoline, a kind of women’s underwear, was invented during this period, giving it its name. The revival of the whalebone (or metal from 1857) hooped petticoat in the 1850s prompts rising skirt widths. Cage crinoline provided for a lighter undergarment in the mid-1850s. Overtop of the cage crinoline, a single dress is worn. Wool or flannel petticoats in the winter offer warmth. The corset is a symbol of etiquette. Corsets were not firmly stitched and were lightly boned with whalebone reinforcements throughout this period. Corsets were reduced, and hip mobility was made possible with the advent of the cage crinoline.

This period’s bodices terminated just above the natural waistline. Female versions of men’s shirts, vests, and waistcoats were regular separates in the 1850s. The invention of the sewing machine took time to sew garments was significantly decreased, and sophisticated self-made trim work became fashionable. Embroidery, ribbon, braid work, and ruching were employed as embellishments. Wrist and forearm sleeve widths began to expand. Undersleeves were still in vogue.

Square or rectangular neckties, folded into a short strip and knotted to a bow. They folded on a diagonal and tied knot with the pointy ends jutting out to resemble “wings,” the new vogue. Heavy padded and fitting frock coats, now mainly single-breasted, were worn over waistcoats or vests with lapels and notched collars for business events. Waistcoats were still cut straight across the front waist in 1850. Still, they became longer over time, with the lowest button undone for ease of sitting, leading to the pointed-hemmed waistcoat later in the century.

For formal day occasions, they used somewhat cutaway morning coats. The most formal evening attire was still a black tailcoat and pants with a white cravat; this outfit was on its way to becoming the contemporary “white tie and tails.” For the day, full-length trousers were worn. At the British court, breeches were still required for formal occasions (as they would be throughout the century). Men still wore breeches with tall-fitting boots for horseback riding and other country sports, notably in Britain.

21st century Crinoline: A new Level

Very monumental for Comme des Garcons’ Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection. The theme of the season was Creative Resistance, inspired by the Kawakubo angel -a timeless, stylish fashion queen stood out as the unique figure manifested in the heart of a bright, surreal, cartoonish, kawaii toy- and computer game–referencing procession. The volume of the skirts are referenced to the crinoline cage, Victorian-esk and playful prints are presented to each magnificent piece.

Over-the-top geniuses Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren collection: Viktor & Rolf Spring 2019 Couture are exaggerated yet fun pieces. They titled this collection “Fashion Statements,” a modern Victorian silhouettes with, well, each spoke to itself. Naturally, the designers stated that they were not pushing any meaning on us but asking us to make our interpretations. At the same time, such exaggerated volumes are familiar ground for Horsting and Snoeren. One thought was that they might be a visual metaphor for the cacophony of likes in the virtual world, where these language memes thrive.

Sarah Burton is celebrating women on Alexander McQueen Spring 2019 ready-to-wear. The collection is all about birth, christenings, marriages, and funerals are all women’s milestones and traditions. It’s about being assertive and emotional and about stating that it’s alright to be vulnerable and not have to hide it. Birth, christenings, marriages, and funerals are all women’s milestones and traditions. It’s about being assertive and emotional and about stating that it’s alright to be vulnerable and not have to hide it. Preserved relics of original vintage clothing in some of the best pieces, such as the boning of a crinoline supporting the structure of the puffed sleeves of a cotton voile dress. The boning of a black jet-beaded jacket with a canvas back with a bustle.

All of these photos are available in Vogue Runway.


Jarrett, S. (n.d.). The Romantic Era 1820-1850. In Maggie May Clothing. Retrieved from

Franklin, H. (2020, May 27). 1820-1829. In Fashion History Timeline. Retrieved from

Jarrett, S. (n.d.). The Victorian Era/Crinoline Period 1850-1869. In Magie May Clothing. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). 1850s in Western fashion. In Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Mower, S. (2017, September 30). Comme des Garcons Spring 2018 ready-to-wear. In Vogue Runway. Retrieved from

Verner, A. (2021, January 24). Viktor & Rolf Spring 2019 Couture. In Vogue Runway. Retrieved from

Mower, S. (2018, October 1). Alexander McQueen Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear. In Vogue Runway. Retrieved from

Photo References

Links are attached on each photo.

Published by loisgomez

I am a Marketing and Merchandising for Fashion student of Visual College of Arts & Design located in Calgary. I love Fashion, I mostly do fashion sketches and illustrations and hopefully, someday, I could have my fashion brand. Most of my posts will be about history of fashion; how it started, where it all began and so much more.

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