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Women's Fashion Accessories

A number of accessories supplemented the woman's wardrobe in the 1860s, including belts, jewelry, parasols, jackets, and shawls.

Belts were quite popular during the 1860s. Most belts were wide, were shaped to fit the figure, and had large buckles, as seen in the image on the left. A fashionable belt style was the Swiss belt (ceinture Suissesse), which featured very side points rising upward between the breasts and downward at the waist front. The young girl in the image on the right wears the Swiss belt.

1860s Belt 1860s Belt

1860s Belts: Image courtesy of Joan L. Severa, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900, 1995

Jewelry became more exuberant during the 1860s, often decorated with fringe or pendants. Notice the elaborate style of the women's earrings in the image below.

1860s Jewelry

1860s Jewelry: Image courtesy of Joan L. Severa

Jackets were increasingly incorporated into the 1860s wardrobe. The early 1860s jacket hung to hip level, was loose fitting, closed with large buttons, and had a band of velvet or corded silk. By 1865, jackets more snugly fit the figure, and, by the end of the decade, belts were frequently worn. A Spanish, bolero-style sleeveless jacket gained popularity in the late 1860s. The stylish jacket was worn over the shirtwaist and had a very short, round front and braided trim. Equally popular was the Zouave jacket, which had a similar style but was fitted with sleeves. The girl in the image on the left wears the earlier, loose-fitting jacket with wide buttons and trim. The sleeveless bolero-style jacket is worn by the woman in the center. The Zouave jacket, with flared sleeves, is displayed by the woman on the right.

1860s Jacket 1860s Jacket 1860s Jacket

1860s Jackets: Image courtesy of Joan L. Severa

The shawl was a popular accessory during the early 1860s. Shawls were long and either plain or patterned with checks. By the end of the 1860s, the shawl fell out of favor and was replaced by the wrap. Wraps of the 1860s frequently had sleeves. The two women in the images below don the popular checkered shawl.

1860s Shawl 1860s Shawl

1860s Shawl: Image courtesy of Joan L. Severa

Decorative parasols with long, ornate handles were carried during the 1860s.

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