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 In the 1830's, styles had distinctive large "leg of mutton" or "gigot" sleeve, narrow waist (achieved with corseting), and large full conical skirts. The bulkiness of women's garments both above and below the waist was intended to make the waist look smaller than it was. The skirts spread and became domed in the 1840's and continued to expand through the 1850's. Skirts were made fuller by means of flounces (deep ruffles), usually in tiers of three, gathered tightly at the top and stiffened with horsehair braid at the bottom. Fashion in the United States was influenced by the Civil War and then by fashions in Europe. Skirts gradually return to a narrower silhouette, which included draped skirts, and bustled versions for a time.

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