1897–1900 Dress

Date: ca. 1897–1900 - Material: Faille, satin silk, velvet, lace - Accession: 2001.191.1.088

In the late 1880s and 1890s, dress forms that reflected menswear became popular as seen in this suit with a feminine touch of satin and lace.

As middle-class women became more involved in society outside the home and attended college, they demanded more freedom, which also meant more appropriate clothing. By the 1890s, skirts became simpler and easier to maintain, providing freer movement. For many women being modern meant more than simply looking modern.

Stylistically, the way in which the reflective satin is set against the velvet and faille fabrics exemplifies the turn-of-the-twentieth century interest in the play of light on various textiles.

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