Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Dress

Date:
ca. 1882
Culture:
probably American
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Nathaniel D. Clapp, 1985
Accession Number:
1985.363.9
Not on view
This high-style maternity dress, worn for public outings, clearly indicates that not all pregnant women were confined to the home. It also reflects the prevalent fashion for historicism. No one raided the previous centuries for inspiration more often than fashionable dressmakers of the nineteenth century. This maternity dress reflects design elements of the tea gown, such as Watteau box pleats, which Scottish costume historian Naomi Tarrant refers to as "the single most conscious adaptation of eighteenth-century dress." There is a polonaise-like bustle and drapery that was used quite liberally in the 1880s. Also, note the Elizabethan-inspired piccadill tabs at the cuff. This dress is a prime example of the deep, rich colors typical of the period.
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