The social and economical triumph of the bourgeoisie accorded it a leading role as the arbiter of fashion. The romantic idea of life was stormy, sentimental, restless. The true romantics were attracted to ancient ruins, enthusiastic about frightening legends and tales, vehement, and always ready to sacrifice themselves for their ideals or for love. But their extravagance was tempered by the influence of hardworking businessmen and industrialists who favoured darker, more no-nonsense attire, leaving all the colour and sparkle to the women.
The man's suit, with frock coat or dress coat, became austere and uniform, so much so that from 1850 onwards it was simply ignored by the fashion magazines. In contrast, women's dress became more lavish and ornate. Ladies wore crinoline or hoop skirts, displaying tight waists and a profusion of trimmings and appliqués on bright-coloured materials..