In mens fashion, the three-piece ditto suit of sack coat, waistcoat, and trousers in the same fabric emerged as a novelty. Mauveine Aniline dyes were discovered in 1856 and quickly became fashionable colors, the first ones were mauve and bright purple. Magenta was popularized in England by the Duchess of Sutherland after she was appealed to by the Spitalfields silk weavers, by the early 1860s, skirts had reached their ultimate width. After about 1862 the silhouette of the changed and rather than being bell-shaped it was now flatter at the front. This large area was occupied by all manner of decoration. Puffs and strips could cover much of the skirt, there could be so many flounces that the material of the skirt itself was hardly visible. Lace again became popular and was used all over the dress, any part of the dress could also be embroidered in silver or gold. This massive construct of a dress required gauze lining to stiffen it, even the clothes women would ride horses in received these sorts of embellishments. Day dresses featured wide pagoda sleeves worn over undersleeves or engageantes, high necklines with lace or tatted collars or chemisettes completed the demure daytime look. Evening gowns had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with gloves or lace or crocheted fingerless mitts. The voluminous skirts were supported by hoops, petticoats, and or crinolines, the use of hoops was not as common until 1856, prior supporting the skirts with layers if starched petticoats. Bouffant gowns with large crinolines were probably reserved for special occasions, as the decade progressed, sleeves narrowed, and the circular hoops of the 1850s decreased in size at the front and sides and increased at the back. Looped up overskirts revealed matching or contrasting underskirts, a look that would reach its ultimate expression the next two decades with the rise of the bustle, waistlines rose briefly at the end of the decade. Fashions were adopted more slowly in America than in Europe and it was not uncommon for fashion plates to appear in American womens magazines a year or more after they appeared in Paris or London. For walking, jackets were accompanied by floor-length skirts that could be looped or drawn up by means of tapes over a shorter petticoat, as skirts became narrower and flatter in front, more emphasis was placed on the waist and hips. A corset was used to help mold the body to the desired shape. This was achieved by making the longer than before. To increase rigidity, they were reinforced with strips of whalebone, cording
Fashions of the 1860s include square paisley shawls folded on the diagonal and full skirts held out by crinolines. Auguste Toulmouche's Reluctant Bride of 1866 wears white satin, and her friend tries on her bridal wreath of orange blossoms.
Day dresses, 1861
Croquet players of 1864 loop their skirts up from floor-length over hooped petticoats. Small hats with ribbon streamers were very popular for young women in the mid-1860s.