1873 Dress

Date: ca. 1873 - Material: Silk - Accession: 2001.191.1.045

Inscribed “June 1873,” this dress exemplifies the trend for skirts to become more complicated by the early 1870s, with the additions of bustles and overskirts. Popular in the period, this dress has an overskirt in the form of an apron polonaise. In addition to having the fullness pushed to the back, skirts now have the beginning of a soft draping bustle created from the overskirt. While the front is flattened, it is complex with same-fabric ruffles, applied ruching, and double tucking. Some elements were cut on the bias forming diagonal lines in the otherwise vertically striped dress. The skirt is still rather wide. The Basque bodice has a round neckline, and a natural waist that comes to a single point in front. The slightly dropped armscye portends the return of the sleeves to their normal place. Tight corseting achieved its extremely narrow waist.

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