An Empire silhouette is created by a woman wearing a high-waisted dress, gathered near or just under the bust with a long, loose skirt, which skims the body. The outline is especially flattering to pear shapes wishing to disguise the stomach area or emphasise the bust. The shape of the dress also helps to lengthen the body’s appearance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_silhouette).
Such styles are commonly called “Directoire” or “Regency” during most of the 18th century and the rest of the 19th century, when women’s clothes were generally tight against the torso from the natural waist upwards, and heavily full-skirted below (often inflated by means of hoop-skirts, crinolines, panniers, bustles, etc.). The high waistline of 1795–1820 styles took attention away from the natural waist, so that there was then no point to the tight “wasp-waist” corseting often considered fashionable during other periods.
Gigot or Gigot De Mouton Sleeve 1825-1833. The sleeves of the Romantic Era are the main feature and were built on an inverted triangle bodice. The bodice décolletage was so exposed by the pull of the wide sleeves that it really showed off the chest, throat and the sloping shoulders.( http://www.fashion-era.com/romantic_era.htm)
In 1836 Gigot sleeves collapsed abruptly and so costume began to develop the sentimental ‘early Victorian look’ we associate with Queen Victoria’s early rule. By 1840 the collapsed sleeve was much narrower, but still retained a restrictive seam line on the dropped shoulder. The early Victorian tight fitting pointed bodice was much longer and had a very small tight fitting waist. All the boned bodice seam lines and trims were directional to emphasize the small waists.
As bell shaped skirts of the 1830s became wider and they began to also look dome shaped. By 1842 they needed a great deal of support from extra petticoats. The wider skirts were supported by stiffened fabrics like linen which used horsehair in the weave.
The new day skirt style was flared smoothly over the hips from a handspan waist and then gradually widened at the hemline. The tailor made, Initially only the jacket was tailored and it was worn with a draped bustle skirt. By the 1890s and until 1910 the gored skirt also looked more tailored and matched the jacket style which followed the changing silhouette of the time. In the 1890s the tailored suit was thought both masculine and unladylike, a description usually used for a fairly plain garment.
All the changes that were forced on a rigid society were a direct result of the war. Women stopped wearing jewellery and lavish clothes. Dress rules for both sexes were relaxed in theatres and other venues. When troops were at home on rest leave during the war dancing gained popularity. A famous American dancing couple called the Castles helped spread the new dance crazes and magazines showed the steps of the latest dance, with a graphic for each new movement. The effect of war on fashion styles was that military braiding, belts with buckles and shorter skirts were seen everywhere. Fashion history shows that clothes got shorter during the First World War out of practical necessity.
The 1930 magazine fashion article concentrated on defining the early 1930 sleeve styles and suggested choosing between the short sleeves or three quarter length sleeves shown far right. Bold contrasting smart colours like navy blue, red and white were typical colour schemes.