What is it with 1840's women's clothing? There is a disproportionate number of 18th century gowns that were gutted or re-worked in this era than any other that I've encountered thus far. The fad for re-furbish fabulousness (like what I did there?) even spread to fashion in general. Gently splayed 3/4 length sleeves with built-in engageants or added tiered ruffles? Bodices that mimicked the look of a stomacher in a variety of ways? The resurgence of pinked trim?
The whole decade of the 1840's seems like the tribute band for most of the 18th century.
Perhaps I'm missing something really obvious (as I do on a daily, if not hourly basis) but what was it about the 18th century gowns that the ladies of the 40's just had to have? Obviously, nobody in their right mind would turn up an attic full of free Spitalfields silk, but anybody in the 3-4 generations since the earlier gowns were worn could have gotten in on the action. It's like everyone woke up on New Year's day in 1840 and realized that there was no where left for the Ambulatory Sleeve Puff of Doom to go, they were just going to have to bite the bullet and do something else for a while.
And like most great innovators, they ripped someone else off.
But what the hell do I know? Also, ignore the fact that the dresses I linked just barely make sense with this post. As with most things in life, when I went looking for it, it wasn't readily there. Except on Karen Augusta's Auction site. But I try really hard not to steal pictures more than necessary. It's my kind and generous nature.