Victorian gentlemen’s fashion involved dressing smartly: a long-sleeved shirt, waistcoat and long coat, trousers and a tall, silk top-hat. The height of the hat reflected the social standing, wealth and importance of the man (hence the famous towering hat of Abraham Lincoln). Cravats, pocket-watches, gloves and walking sticks added personal statements to the outfit.
Women’s clothes were designed to cover the whole body, as proper ladies were expected to be modest and demure. Dresses were long, covering neck, arms and ankles, with a cuirassed bodice or corset that provided a slim shape. A bustle (framework under the dress) could be used to give the skirt a wide, full shape. Big, colourful hats, gloves, fans and parasols were used to accessorise the outfit.