& SKIRT c.1850's
This middle-class ensemble
of the mid-1850's is suited for a cooler-weather outing - a two-piece outfit of
plaid cotton fabric, in varigated shades of lilac, garnet red, and grey.
The bodice of this classic style of daywear is a fitted jacket
known as a Caraco bodice, with long basques extending over the hips, giving the
appearance of a top skirt flounce. The jacket has double darts descending into
the basques, and a front closing of hooks and bars, with ornamental buttons. A
collar constructed of of antique laces trims the high neckline. The jacket has
short "mancherons" or epaulets, and from beneath them, long full "Pagoda"
style sleeves, popular from the 1850's through the early 1860's. These are decorated
with ruched bands of satin ribbon, which also forms a "V" shape trimming
on the bodice.
Under this type of wide sleeve, white "engagents"
are worn to modestly cover the lady's lower arm. These gathered lower sleeves
are made in white cotton gauze, finished with cuffs, and edged with natural-color,
delicate antique bobbin-lace to match the collar. After 1856, skirts were supported
by the newly invented "cage crinoline", or "hooped petticoat".
Worn over a hoop or numerous petticoats, this skirt is an example of the very
popular triple-tiered style, and is of a size suitable to day dress.
ensemble is accessorized with a silk 'spoon' bonnet, suede gloves and a crocheted
CREAM/PEACH COTTON SUMMER DRESS c.1840's
During the 19th century, both England and America
looked to France for the latest developments and innovations in fashion, and stylish
dress was clearly international in the Victorian era. The right outfit was required
for the right occasion, and the strata of Victorian society which could afford
to dress properly for each social event did so with a sense of style, elegance
This Day dress is made of cream cotton muslin with a pale self-stripe,
perfect for warm-weather wear. The bodice is cut and shirred with a gathered front
called "a la vierge" set into a waistband, and has the backward-sloping
shoulder seams common to 19th century dress construction. The neckline is high,
and decorated with a floral accent. Since the fabric is semi-sheer, a lower-necked
bodice lining may be glimpsed through the striped material. The gown has long
"Pagoda" style sleeves, a style popular from the 1840's through the
early 1860's. These are decorated with ruched bands of trimming made from peach
satin ribbon and cream lace. Under this type of wide sleeve, full open lace engagents
modestly cover the lady's lower arm. The skirt is plain, and a peach silk sash
is worn about the waist
The outfit is accessorized with a wide-brimmed summer
hat, floral accets t throat and waist-sash, and a silk and black lace parasol.