First Floor - Front Parlor
LILAC PRINT DAYDRESS c.1837-41
By 1836 the sleeve reached it most exaggerated width, and reaching this, collapsed - and fashion turned towards a new feminine shape. Small-waisted, small-shouldered, and ideally, small-footed (though to see a lady's foot, let alone be aware of its size, was unthinkable!) - with floating, full skirts, the 'look' of the woman of the times was one we often think of as "Victorian". Although fashion now called for a small sleeve silhouette, style concious (and frugal) ladies adapted their favorite full-sleeved dresses - gone unfashionable literally overnight - by gathering the fullness of the upper arms, and making the shirring a fashion feature, known as bouillonnè.
This clever style is shown in this summer daydress of lavender floral print cotton. It has a close fitting bodice, with a moderately low, rounded neckline, and double darts descending into a slightly pointed waist, and a back closing of hooks and bars. A deep berthe, also called a drapè en coeur, of folded self-fabric covers the neckline and shoulders - a fashion feature often seen in both day and evening dresses.
The long sleeves are moderately full, with multiple rows of gathering and an applied decorative band set upon the upper sleeve. The lower sleeve is gathered into a cuff with functioning triple buttons. Dark purple fabric is used for contrast piping on the ornamental armbands, the cuffs, the center strip of the berthe and for all buttons. Natural-color, delicate antique bobbin-lace finishes the neckline and wrist edges.
Women's clothes change noticeably at least each decade. Men's clothing from the mid to late 19th century changes but much more slowly, and in subtle stages. By the 18th century, the 3-piece suit had been defined: coat, vest (or waistcoat) and trousers. These have remained the basic components of a man's wardrobe until today.
typical daytime ensemble is suited for the spring or summer. The frock coat is
made of a brown, cream, and light blue suiting material in a wool and silk mixture.
The coat lapels, front edge and the turn-back cuffs are bound with a dark brown
braided edging, and the upper collar is done in chocolate-brown velvet.
Bodice detail showing pleated berthe, bouillonnè upper sleeve and piped ornamental sleeve band.
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