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Dress

Date:
ca. 1865
Culture:
American
Medium:
silk, metal, cotton
Dimensions:
Length at CB: 60 in. (152.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. A. L. Lester, 1928
Accession Number:
2009.300.2987
  • Description

    The female silhouette of the middle of the 19th century consisted of a fitted corseted bodice and wide full skirts. The conical skirts developed between the 1830s, when the high waist of the Empire silhouette was lowered and the skirts became more bell shaped, to the late 1860s, when the fullness of the skirts were pulled to the back and the bustle developed. The flared skirts of the period gradually increased in size throughout and were supported by a number of methods. Originally support came from multiple layers of petticoats which, due to weight and discomfort, were supplanted by underskirts comprised of graduated hoops made from materials such as baleen, cane and metal. The fashions during this time allowed the textiles to stand out because of the vast surface areas of the skirt and a relatively minimal amount of excess trim.

  • See also
    What
    Where
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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