As you can imagine, there were many changes to fashion during Victoria’s reign – however, these were not nearly as momentous as those within the reign of Elizabeth the second !
When comparing the costume of the late 1700s with those of the early 1800s, the biggest changes are the men clothes. There is lessening of flamboyance. Lace is replaced with fine cotton lawn, skin-tight pantaloons with straight trousers; brocade waistcoats are banished to fine dining evenings only. Wigs are no more, although hats must be worn at all times, even by the meanest worker.
High fashion for women alters but not quite so drastically. The full skirts of the previous millennium still prevail but are now rounded rather than the ‘pannier’ shape of the Georgian period. Overall the style is more modest than that of the previous millennium - the décolleté and bare shoulders being reserved for formal evenings. After all, our dear Queen is still only a young lady and those who would ape her must reflect her reserve.
Up to fifteen foot around the circumference of skirts
Black gloves were often given as gifts at funerals
The ‘cage’ replaced up to six petticoats which could weigh 14 pounds. It was patented by American W S Thomson in 1856.
Enough steel was produced in Sheffield in one week to make half a million hoops.
Two most beautiful books if you wish to pore over the magnificence of costume of this period:
Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail by Lucy Johnston
Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915 by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker, John Galliano and Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell