Fashion Across the Atlantic
Americans still kept a close eye on fashion in Europe. Fashion periodicals found their way to those who could afford them, or appeared in circulating libraries. Later, Godey’s Ladies Book would offer homegrown interpretations of the latest fashions. Waistcoats for men changed in cut according to what was seen in newspapers from abroad. The stovepipe hat began its popular run. In fact, the 1840s mark a turning point in the fortunes of men’s jackets.
At the same time, America’s more egalitarian society meant more latitude for everyday dress. Wealthy ladies in urban locations still played at continental panache. And, of course, the Grand Tour was a major event in the lives of those Americans who had the means to undertake such a progress through Europe. The fashion for “Turkish trousers” helped give credence to the bloomer costume, an early sign of feminist unrest.