Technology also created the possibility of colors that humans had only seen occasionally in nature before. And the sewing machine meant that even middle class people could make clothes that spoke of far more affluence than really existed for them, making social barriers quaver, and shake, in the meantime.
But, at the beginning of this process, it was still clear, who was who, and who had what. The simple expedient of Volume told the tale. If you could afford good quality fabrics in the amounts required to make the huge skirts of the mid century, you were at very least, middle class.
Certainly the later decades were lavish in the extreme, but the actual amounts of fabrics, and the trimmings used had diminished, with the scope of the skirts. And this was right in line with the ever growing changes in women's presence in business, and other aspects of the outer world traditionally occupied by men alone. As a connector to that, its important to reiterate that textile and trimming usage would never, ever, reach the same levels again for the middle classes, or even most of the wealthy.
It was a seminal change, and here, more than a century and a half later, we have no thought anymore about going back.