Women fashion in the 1850s, the domed skirts of the 1840s continued to expand. 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.
Men's clothing in the mid-1800's symbolized a man's status in society, his job, his income level, and his class standing. Little variation was allowed for self-expression through clothing, as a man's outfit was almost like a uniform, a declaration proclaiming, "I am a productive part of society." Men's clothing was staunch, uptight, and constricting in the same way that mid-1800's society was.