Through the 19th century, fashion - particularly for women - was designed to conceal and preserve modesty. Elegant floor length gowns would be worn to conceal womens ankles, and sleeves grew longer and ballooned. Trousers belonged on men, so women would have great collections of day dresses and evening gowns.
Mens fashion was powerful, and demonstrated the higher status of men in society durng the Victorian era. From short dress coats with top hats and bow ties, moving to the more comfortable lounge suit, with turned-down collar, knotted tie and bowler-style hat, mens fashion changed little until the early 1900's.
The move from Victorian to Edwardian England saw a shift in fashion, and as the 20th century dawned womens dresses became longer at the front and back, forming trains. The necklines on both day and evening dresses rose and were supported by high boned collars; this was until shortly before 1920 when day dresses adopted a slightly lower neckline and evening dresses were daringly worn off the shoulder. Accessories were vitally important, and the key to a truly beautiful outfit was matching bag and lace gloves. Men stuck to long frock-coats for formal evening wear, and shorter cut suits increasingly accompanied by the now popular knotted tie.