|1870's Period in Fashion History presented by Apparel Search|
By 1870, fullness in the skirt had moved to the rear, where elaborate draping was held in place by tapes and supported by a bustle. This fashion required an underskirt, which was heavily trimmed with pleats, ruching, and frills. This fashion was short-lived (though the bustle would return again in the mid-1880s), and was succeeded by a tight-fitting silhouette with fullness as low as the knees: the cuirass bodice, a form-fitting, long-waisted, boned bodice that reached below the hips, and the princess sheath dress or polonaise, a "retro" style based on the fashion of the 1770s.
Sleeves of day dresses were narrow throughout the period, with a tendency to flare slightly at the wrist early on.
Evening dresses had low necklines and very short, off-the-shoulder sleeves, and were worn with short gloves. Other characteristic fashions included a velvet ribbon tied high around the neck and trailing behind for evening (the origin of the modern choker necklace).
Designer Definition (from U.S Department of Labor)
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