1890s Casual…

1890s Casual?

Well, nothing is casual when it comes to clothing during the 1890s; it was more of a gradation based on the function the wearer was involved in. 🙂 Recently, I came across this day dress while researching something completely different (that seems to happen to me on a regular basis 🙂 ):

P. Barroin, Day Dress, Paris, France, c. 1897; Printed dotted Swiss, silk chiffon, silk taffeta & cotton braid; FIDM Museum (2010.1098.3A-C)

The dress fabric is a red cotton dotted Swiss print with white silk chiffon and white silk taffeta trim. It’s too bad that we do not have a close-up picture of the fashion fabric; the idea of a printed dotted Swiss is interesting but unfortunately the effect is lost at a distance. However, in spite of this, we have a very sporty day dress that has a minimum of trim and embellishment and is definitely meant for being out and about town. Also, the straw boater hat further reinforces this sporty effect. The lines are classic 1890s although the wasp-waist, measuring 28 inches in diameter, is somewhat toned down compared to evening dresses and ball gowns of the period.

Interestingly enough, according to the FIDM Museum Blog, this dress was worn by a woman of about 5 feet 10 inches in height- this was a tall woman. The sleeves are indicative of the late 1890s- the leg-of-mutton sleeve style was diminishing. At the same time, we still see the faux shirtwaist style with the crimped silk chiffon in the middle. Finally, P. Barroin was not as prominent compared to the major designers such as Worth et al. but it still shows a sense of balance and proportion and the dress fabric is used to fairly good effect.

This dress is representative of the casual styles of day wear that were coming into vogue during the 1890s and as such acted as a counter some of the more extreme looks one can see with evening wear of the period. This is definitely a worthy candidate for reproduction. 🙂

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