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During the 1820s in European and European-influenced countries, fashionable women's clothing styles transitioned away from the classically-influenced Empire styles of 1795-1820, and re-adopted elements that had been characteristic of most of the 18th century (and were to be characteristic of the remainder of the 19th century), such as full skirts and clearly visible corseting of the natural waist. The silhouette of men's fashion changed in similar ways: by the mid-1820s coats featured broad shoulders with puffed sleeves, a narrow waist, and full skirts. Trousers were worn for smart day wear, while breeches continued in use at court and in the country.

Painting by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - 1821 Shopping in Paris - 1822 Ball Gown - 1823 Madame Marie Marcotte by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - 1826
Comtesse de MacMahon and Her Grandson Jules de Bessequier - 1825-30 Auguste Strobl - 1827 "Newest Fashions for May 1829, Morning and Evening Dresses", a fashion plate from World of Fashion Portrait by Eugene Ferdinand Victor Delacroix - 1827

1830s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by an emphasis on breadth, initially at the shoulder and later in the hips, in contrast to the narrower silhouettes that had predominated between 1800 and the 1820s. Women's costume featured larger sleeves than were worn in any period before or since, which were accompanied by elaborate hairstyles and large hats. In this period, men's fashion plates continue to show an ideal silhouette with broad shoulders, and a narrow waist.

Portrait by August Riedel - 1831 Sophie, Archduchess of Austria - 1832 Fashion Plate - 1833 The Family of Dr. Josef August Eltz, Austria - 1835
Brocade satin dress, from Gazette des Salons - 1835 Portrait of Madame Charmois - 1837 Fashion plate of 1830s riding habits Painting - 1837

1840s fashion in European and European-influenced clothing is characterized by a narrow, natural shoulder line following the exaggerated puffed sleeves of the later 1820s and 1830s. The narrower shoulder was accompanied by a lower waistline for both men and women. For women, the broad silhouette of the 1830s was replaced with a triangular line with vertical emphasis. Skirts evolved from a conical shape to a bell shape. In this period, men's fashion plates show the lowered waistline taking on a decided point at the front waist, which was accompanied by a full rounded chest.

Rosalie Julie Freifrau - 1840 Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort at home - 1841 Marie-Louise, the first Queen of the Belgians by Franz Xaver Winterhalter - 1841 Princess di Sant' Antimo - 1840-1844
Fashion Plate - 1844 Contesse d'Haussonville - 1845 Baronne de Rothschild - 1848 Men's fashion plate - 1848