The Vintage Fashion Guild states:

“In the 1830s, the first cross cut Gigot or leg o’mutton sleeves appeared. The previous shoulder fullness dropped toward the elbow and sleeves became enormous. The waist resumed its natural position while necklines became very wide and bodice lines took on a highly distinctive V-shape. Ankle length skirts became quite full and needed several petticoats beneath for support. This produced the 19th century’s first version of an hourglass silhouette.

As so often happens, when one fashion change occurs, the rationale for another is created. The very full sleeves that were the rage created the need for alternative outerwear. It was difficult to force these large sleeves into coats and so cloaks were worn. Short capes with longer front ends called pelerines become quite popular as did chemisettes (under-bodices of net or lace) for low-necked gowns. The focus was clearly on femininity. Aprons were popular accessories.”

Wikipedia summarizes women’s fashion of the 1830s, writing:

“In the 1830s, fashionable women’s clothing styles had distinctive large “leg of mutton” or “gigot” sleeves, above large full conical skirts, ideally with a narrow, low waist between (achieved through corseting).The bulkiness of women’s garments both above and below the waist was intended to make the waist look smaller than it was — this was the final repudiation of any last lingering aesthetic influences of the Empire silhouette of c. 1795–1825. Heavy stiff fabrics such as brocades came back into style, and many 18th-century gowns were brought down from attics and cut up into new garments. The combination of sloping shoulders and sleeves which were very large over most of the arm (but narrowing to a small cuff at the wrist) is quite distinctive to the day dresses of the 1830s. Pelerines, tippets, or lace coverings draped over the shoulders, were popular (one of several devices, along with full upper-arm sleeves and wide necklines, to emphasize the shoulders and their width).”

Théodore Joseph Jonet and his two daughters

Fig. 1 - François-Joseph Navez (Belgian, 1787-1869). Théodore Joseph Jonet and his two daughters, 1832. Oil on canvas; 145 × 120 cm (57.1 × 47.2 in). Source: Wikimedia Commons

La Belle Assemblee

Fig. 2 - Artist unknown. La Belle Assemblee, 1831. Ink on paper; 24 x 15 cm (9.4 x 5.9 in). Source: Pinterest

Woman's Day dress

Fig. 3 - Designer unknown (American). Woman's Day dress, ca. 1838. Warp-printed silk taffeta. Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1936-23-2. Gift of Mrs. Howard E. Seaver, 1936. Source: Pinterest

Portrait d’Isaure Chassériau

Fig. 4 - Amaury Duval (French, 1808-1885). Portrait d’Isaure Chassériau, 1838. Oil on canvas. Source: Pinterest

Velvet bonnet

Fig. 5 - Designer unknown. Velvet bonnet, ca. 1830. Source: Pinterest


Wikipedia summarizes men’s fashion of the 1830s, writing:

“In this time, men’s fashion plates continue to show an ideal silhouette with bread shoulders, and a narrow, tightly cinched waist. Frock coats (in French redingotes) increasingly replaced tail coats for informal day wear. They were calf length, and might be double-breasted. Shoulder emphasis fell lower on the arm; shoulders were sloped and puffed sleeve heads gradually shrank and then disappeared. Waistcoats or vests were single- or double-breasted, with rolled shawl or (later) notched collars, and extremely tight through the waist. Waistcoats were sometimes worn two at time, in contrasting colors. Corsets or corset-like garments were worn by many men to draw in the waistline. The most fashionable coats had padded shoulders and chests, a feature that disappeared after about 1837.”


Fig. 1 - Designer unknown. Cloak, 1829–33. Wool, silk. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.149.3. Purchase, Irene Lewisohn and Alice L. Crowley Bequests, 1976. Source: Pinterest



Historical Context

Wikipedia: 1830-1839

Map of Europe, 1837. Source: Omniatlas

  • 1831 – Pope Gregory XVI succeeds Pope Pius VIII as the 254th pope.
  • 1836 – The Battle of the Alamo ends the 13-day siege; approximately 200 defenders (Anglo settlers and Tejano townsfolk) die in a fierce struggle with approximately 5,000 Mexican soldiers.
  • 1839 – First photo of the Moon taken by photographer Louis Daguerre.
  • 1830s – Innovations in roller printing on textiles introduced new dress fabrics. Broad, exaggerated sleeves for women and padded shoulders for men contrasted a narrow, idealized waist. Brocades come back into style. Low boots with elastic insets appear. Greatcoats, overcoats with wide sleeves, become fashionable for men to wear with day wear.
  • Primary/Period Sources

    Resources for Fashion History Research

    To discover primary/period sources, explore the categories below.
    Have a primary source to suggest?  Or a newly digitized periodical/book to announce?  Contact us!

    NYC-Area Special Collections of Fashion Periodicals/Plates
    Fashion Periodicals (Digitized)
    Allgemeine Moden-Zeitung. Leipzig: Baumgärtner, 1837. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/structure/2057008.
    Blackwood’s Lady’s Magazine. A.H. Blackwood, G. Simpkin, and J. Page, 1836. http://books.google.com/books?id=6TwFAAAAQAAJ.
    Blackwood’s Lady’s Magazine. A.H. Blackwood, G. Simpkin, and J. Page, 1837. http://books.google.com/books?id=4z0FAAAAQAAJ.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 1. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1833. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DU.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 4. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1836. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DR.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 2. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1834. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DT.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 4. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1836. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DR.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 5. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1837. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DQ.
    Journal Des Demoiselles. Vol. 6. Paris: Bureau du journal, 1838. http://fig.lib.harvard.edu/fig/?action=read&bib=005380390&sbc=HWR7DP.
    La Belle Assemblée. Vol. 11. London: Whittaker, Treacher, and co., 1830. http://books.google.com/books?id=YcIRAAAAYAAJ.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1839. http://books.google.com/books?id=cX0-AQAAMAAJ.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1829. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1830. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1831. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1833. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1835. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1836. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1837. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1832. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1834. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1838. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Mode. Paris: Aubert, 1839. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32817434b/date.
    La Sylphide : journal de modes, de littérature, de théâtres et de musique. Paris: [s.n.], 1839. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k61004084.
    Le follet: courrier des salons, journal des modes. Vol. 12. Paris, 1837. https://books.google.com/books?id=ZWReAAAAcAAJ.
    Le Journal des coiffeurs. Paris, 1837. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb344436197/date.r=mode.langEN.
    Le Journal des coiffeurs. Paris, 1939. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb344436197/date1839.
    Le Journal des coiffeurs. Paris, 1838. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb344436197/date.r=mode.langEN.
    Le Journal des coiffeurs. Paris: [s.n.], 1836. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k5407146g.
    New Monthly Belle Assemblée. Vol. 5, 1836. http://books.google.com/books?id=y90PAAAAMAAJ.
    Petit courrier des dames : modes de Paris ; littérature, beaux-arts, théatres. Vol. 14. Paris, 1834. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1908614.
    Petit courrier des dames : modes de Paris ; littérature, beaux-arts, théatres. Vol. 11. Paris, 1831. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1908614.
    Petit courrier des dames : modes de Paris ; littérature, beaux-arts, théatres. Vol. 15. Paris, 1835. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1908614.
    Petit courrier des dames : modes de Paris ; littérature, beaux-arts, théatres. Vol. 16. Paris, 1836. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1908614.
    Petit courrier des dames : modes de Paris ; littérature, beaux-arts, théatres. Vol. 17. Paris, 1837. http://digital.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/ihd/periodical/titleinfo/1908614.
    The Court Magazine and Belle Assemblée [Afterw.] and Monthly Critic and the Lady’s Magazine and Museum, 1833. https://books.google.com/books?id=YEAFAAAAQAAJ.
    The Knickerbocker; or, New York Monthly Magazine. Vol. 8, 1836. http://books.google.com/books?id=aa4RAAAAYAAJ.
    The Knickerbocker; or, New-York Monthly Magazine. Vol. 10, 1837. http://books.google.com/books?id=WPQfAQAAIAA.
    The Ladies’ Companion. Vol. 11–12. William W. Snowden, 1839. http://books.google.com/books?id=BxkAAAAAYAAJ.
    The Ladies’ Companion. Vol. 10. William W. Snowden, 1839. http://books.google.com/books?id=-91MAAAAMAAJ.
    The Ladies’ Pocket Magazine. London, 1836. http://books.google.com/books?id=f14EAAAAQAAJ.
    The Ladies’ Pocket Magazine. London, 1837. http://books.google.com/books?id=i6tbAAAAQAAJ.
    The Ladies’ Pocket Magazine. London, 1837. http://books.google.com/books?id=6F4EAAAAQAAJ.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 2. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1831. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675450.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 4. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1832. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675468.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 5. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1832. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675476.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 6. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1833. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675484.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 9. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1834. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675492.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 11. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1835. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081686671.
    The Lady’s Book. Vol. 10. Philadelphia: L.A. Godey & Co., 1835. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/nyp.33433081675500.
    Etiquette Books (Digitized)
    Celnart, Elisabeth. The Gentleman and Lady’s Book of Politeness and Propriety of Deportment: Dedicated to the Youth of Both Sexes. Book of Politeness. Boston: Allen and Ticknor and Carter, Hendee, 1833. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009722608.
    Celnart, Elisabeth. Manuel Complet de La Bonne Compagnie, Ou, Guide de La Politesse, et de La Bienséance, Dédié à La Société Française et à La Jeunesse Des Deux Sexes. Paris: Roret, 1834. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008681999.
    Celnart, Elisabeth. Manuel Des Dames, Ou, L’Art de l’élégance. Sous Le Rapport de La Toilette, Des Honneurs de La Maison, Des Plaisirs, Des Occupations Agréables. Art de l’élégance. Paris: Roret, 1833. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003456330.
    Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, Alexander Pope, Benjamin Franklin, William Cecil Burghley, James Fordyce, Hugh Blair, and James. Forrester. Practical Morality; or, A Guide to Men and Manners: Consisting of Lord Chesterfield’s Advice to His Son. To Which Is Added, a Supplement Containing Extracts from Various Books, Recommended by Lord Chesterfield to Mr. Stanhope. Together with the Polite Philosopher; or, An Essay on the Art Which Makes a Man Hapopy in Himself, and Agreeable to Others; Dr. Blair’s Advice to Youth; Dr. Fordyce on Honour as a Principle; Lord Burghley’s Ten Percepts to His Son; Dr. Franklin’s Way to Wealth; and Pope’s Universal Prayer. New York: J. Clussman, 1831. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/005768195.
    Chiswick Press. The Institucion of a Gentleman. London: C. Whittingham, 1839. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/010607461.
    Cobbett, William. Advice to Young Men: And (Incidentally) to Young Women, in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life: In a Series of Letters, Addressed to a Youth, a Bachelor, a Lover, a Husband, a Citizen or a Subject. New York: J. Doyle, 1831. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008975344.
    Marshall, W., & co., pub. A Manual of Politeness: Comprising the Principles of Etiquette, and Rules of Behaviour in Genteel Society, for Persons of Both Sexes. Philadelphia: W. Marshall & Co., 1837. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009728446.
    The Female’s Encyclopaedia of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge; Comprising Every Branch of Domestic Economy. London: W. J. Sears, 1830. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008596563.
    Advice to a Young Gentleman on Entering Society. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1839. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002649515.
    The Laws of Etiquette; or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society. Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, & Blanchard, 1836. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/003458465.

    Secondary Sources

    Also see the 19th-century overview page for more research sources... or browse our Zotero library.

    “Chronology.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/chronology/#?time=10.
    “Fashion Timeline: 1830 To 1840.” Vintage Fashion Guild, n.d. https://vintagefashionguild.org/fashion-timeline/1830-to-1840/.
    “Introduction to 19th-Century Fashion.” Victoria and Albert Museum, January 25, 2011. http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/i/introduction-to-19th-century-fashion/.
    Glasscock, Jessica. “Nineteenth-Century Silhouette and Support.” The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, n.d. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/19sil/hd_19sil.htm.
    “The 1830s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade.” Mimi Matthews, n.d. https://www.mimimatthews.com/2015/11/30/the-1830s-in-fashionable-gowns-a-visual-guide-to-the-decade/.
    Adburgham, Alison. Silver Fork Society: Fashionable Life and Literature from 1814-1840. London: Constable, 1983. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/11397775.
    Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction, 1660-1860. New ed. New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1977. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/50099006.
    Ashelford, Jane, and Andreas Einsiedel. The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society, 1500-1914. London: National Trust, 1996. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/759883168.
    Bassett, Lynne Z., ed. Gothic to Goth: Romantic Era Fashion & Its Legacy. Hartford: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 2016. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/965783261.
    Bissonnette, Anne. Fashion on the Ohio Frontier, 1790-1840. Kent: Kent State University Museum, 2003. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54531345.
    Boucher, François. 20,000 Years of Fashion: The History of Costume and Personal Adornment. Expanded ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1987. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/979316852.
    Brown, Susan, ed. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style. New York: DK Publishing, 2012. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/840417029.
    Costume, Society. Early Victorian Costume 1830-1860; Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Costume Society, 1969. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1969. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/976708381.
    De Young, Justine. “Not Just a Pretty Picture: Fashion as News.” In Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News, edited by Jason E. Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz, 109–15. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/987101210.
    Edwards, Lydia. How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/988370049.
    Fukai, Akiko, ed. Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century. Köln: Taschen, 2006. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/857267477.
    Greimas, Algirdas Julien, Michel Arrivé, Thomas F Broden, and Françoise Ravaux-Kirkpatrick. La mode en 1830: langage et société : écrits de jeunesse. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 2000. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/868656532.
    Hahn, Hazel. “Fashion Discourses in Fashion Magazines and Madame de Girardin’s Lettres Parisiennes in July-Monarchy France (1830-48).” Fashion Theory 9, no. 2 (June 2005): 205–28. http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/136270405778051392.
    Hahn, H. Hazel. “Fashion Discourses in Fashion Magazines and Delphine de Girardin’s Lettres Parisiennes.” In Scenes of Parisian Modernity: Culture and Consumption in the Nineteenth Century, 63–80. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/456837270.
    Hill, Daniel Delis. History of World Costume and Fashion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/768100950.
    Jackson, John. The Tailors’ Director, Containing an Important Discovery for Fitting the Human Shape. New York, Printed for the proprietor, 1833. http://archive.org/details/tailorsdirectorc00jack.
    Kleinert, Annemarie. Le “Journal Des Dames et Des Modes” : Ou La Conquête de l’Europe Féminin (1797-1839). Beihefte Zu Francia, Bd. 46. Stuttgart: J. Thorbecke, 2001. http://users.physik.fu-berlin.de/~kleinert/kleinerta/kleinertab5/.
    Ribeiro, Aileen. Ingres in Fashion: Representations of Dress and Appearance in Ingres’s Images of Women. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/469680932.
    Siegfried, Susan. “Portraits of Fantasy, Portraits of Fashion.” Nonsite 14, no. Nineteenth Century France Now: Art Technology Culture (December 2014). http://nonsite.org/article/portraits-of-fantasy-portraits-of-fashion.
    Siegfried, Susan. “Vernet’s Ladies.” In Horace Vernet and the Thresholds of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture, edited by Daniel Harkett and Katie Hornstein. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/986541746.
    Takeda, Sharon Sadako, Kaye Durland Spilker, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, Clarissa Esguerra, and Nicole LaBouff. Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915. New York: DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2010. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/971876353.
    Tarrant, Naomi E. A., ed. The Rise and Fall of the Sleeve, 1825-1840: A Catalogue of the Costume and Accessories in the Charles Stewart and Royal Scottish Museum Collections. Edinburgh: The Museum, 1983. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1008078015.
    Tétart-Vittu, Françoise. “La Couture Avant La Haute Couture.” In Au Paradis Des Dames : Nouveautés, Modes et Confections, 1810-1870, 40–45. Paris: Éditions Paris-Musées, 1992.
    Tortora, Phyllis G., and Sara B. Marcketti. Survey of Historic Costume. Sixth edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2015. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/972500782.
    Vincent, Susan J., and Denise Amy Baxter, eds. A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion: The Age of Empire (1800-1920). London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/967107605.
    Evolution of Fashion 1835-1895 =: Rōman Ishō Ten: Clothing That Captured the Imagination of Japan, the Impact of Romantic Clothing. Kyoto: Kyoto Costume Institute, 1980. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/475808610.
    “1800-1839 Underwear.” Pinterest, 1800s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1800-1809-underwear/.
    “1800-1899 Fabrics & Textiles.” Pinterest, 1800s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1800-1899-fabrics-textiles/.
    “1800-1899 Jewelry.” Pinterest, 1800s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1800-1899-jewelry/.
    “1800-1900 Patterns & Tutorials,” 1800s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/patterns-tutorials-1800-1900/.
    “1830s Accessories.” Pinterest, 1830s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1830s-accessories/.
    “1830s Fashion.” Pinterest, 1830s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1830-s-fashion/.
    “1830s Fashion Plates.” Pinterest, 1830s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1830s-fashion-plates/.
    “1830s Mens Fashion.” Pinterest, 1830s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1830-s-fashion-men/.
    “1830s Portrait Paintings.” Pinterest, 1830s. https://www.pinterest.com/pocketmuseum/1830s-portrait-paintings/.
    “Historic Costume - 19th Century,” 1800s. https://www.pinterest.com/maellen/historic-costume-19th-century/.