The Civil War made military style popular for civilians. Embellishments like those on military uniforms became fashionable for daily wear.
Although the basic silhouette remained the same as the previous decade, the fullness of shirts increased. Dresses could be one or two pieces with a slightly raised waistline. Skirts were flat in the front and gathered or pleated onto the waistband. By the late 1860s, the skirt fullness moved to the back of the dress as a precursor to the bustle.
Practical ensembles consisted of a skirt, long sleeved bodice for day, and an off- the-shoulder evening bodice. The matching skirt and jacket of this decade was the forerunner of the tailored womans suit worn in the 1890s.
Wealthy women could afford dresses made of silk, velvet, fine lawn, and muslin. Prints with stripes and plaids required more fabric to make a dress because they were hard to match. Working class women wore dresses made of linen, linsey-woolsey (a linen and cotton blend) and calico.