1830 Day Dress

Date: ca. 1830 - Material: Cylinder Printed Cotton - Accession: 2001.191.1.011

In the Romantic period, fashionable dress advanced the ideal of feminine beauty. At the same time, it marked respectable families in newly established communities in the West. To achieve more feminine lines, women returned to corseting themselves, as was popular in the eighteenth century and earlier, to create the vision of a narrow waist. A slender waist was further enhanced by wide, expansive sleeves. This dress has Romantic period lines with the wide “gigot” (or leg-o-mutton) sleeves giving the wearer an almost ethereal, butterfly-like silhouette. The skirt is wider than in previous decades, yet still fairly straight, supported by petticoats. The wide sleeves and skirt serve to make the waist appear small without strenuous corseting. She may have worn a pelerine (decorative capelike cotton collar) over the pleated V neckline. The dress is also typical of the Romantic era with its delicate printed flowers overlaying sinuous lines.

Donated to the University of Illinois Bevier Historic Costume Collection. Property transfer to the Illinois State Museum, 2001.