Fashion Plate: 1839, Bishop Sleeves

© Gaskell Blog


By 1839 the fashions are starting to become what we generally associate as Victorian era styles. Small corseted waists with the large skirts and shoulders accented to look as rounded as possible.

This fashion plate also gives us a good back view of the bonnet. Notice how the ribbons used to tie the bonnet are wider? And the bit of fabric shielding the neck? These seem to be the two main style differences between Regency and Victorian bonnets.

I like the gown on the left, which do you prefer?


4 Comments Add yours

  1. phylly3 says:

    Hi katherine!
    Sorry I haven’t visited in a while. I have a lot of your posts to catch up on. This is a great idea to examine the fashions of Gaskell’s time. I am not very fashion conscious I must admit, but I do like to look at beautiful things — whether they are animate or inanimate objects, in real life or manufactured. I find that sometimes drawings of models make the clothes look more flattering that they may have been in real life. So it is also nice to see photographs (if available) of actual people wearing the clothes, or actors wearing the costumes.
    Bishop sleeves seem very pretty, but I am not sure I like rounded shoulders. Wouldn’t it be fun to try on some of these get-ups?
    I wonder… have you mentioned hoop skirts yet?

    1. It’s lovely to see you again Phylly! I hope you’ve had a good summer. 🙂 I will be posting some photographs of dresses that are showcased in Museums later on, I’ll see about posting some portraits of people too! Like you said it’s nice to see what the costumes actually looked like on real people.

      Haven’t reached to hoop skirts yet, the crinoline doesn’t appear until the 1850s. In her comment Sarah goes into a little detail of what was used before the crinoline was invented.

  2. Suzan says:

    I think I like the one on the left best also.

  3. The left is my favorite too – wish I could see the front of it though. Those are very interesting sleeves – I wonder if they ever felt inconveniently big.

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