Victorian society was of no interest to Emily. Having taken a fancy to the romantic, gigot sleeves of the 1830s- she wore them long after they’d gone out of style. On the other hand, she had no use for false embellishment. While attending Madame Heger’s school in Brussels, she was teased by the fashionable girls for not wearing a corset. Fellow pupil, Laetitia Wheelwright, recollected that Emily always answered their jokes with, “I wish to be as God made me.”
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. The boning also helped stop the bodice from horizontal creasing.