And Now Back To The 70s…The 1870s, That Is…

For a little change of pace, we’re diving back some 20 years to the 1870s today with a look at probably one of the best extant examples of a mid-1870s day dress that we’ve ever seen in a museum collection, this circa 1875-1896 day dress from the Goldstein Museum of Design:

Day Dress, c. 1875-1876; Goldstein Museum of Design/University of Minnesota(1971.002.001a-c)

The bodice back has a large v-shaped inset in the solid mint green fabric, also trimmed with the striped green ruching.

From this view, one can get a good look at the train.

The photography for this dress is excellent- they’ve captured every angle and nuance precisely. And here’s a good side profile view:

This dress is constructed from a combination of green striped silk taffeta combined with solid mint green silk taffeta on the front and upper bodice and striped trimming along the hems, arms, and bodice edges. The silhouette is mid-1870s with a more restrained train and bustle that gives shape but at the same time is more structured than what was characteristic of the early 1870s. One interesting thing to note is that the green striped taffeta is cut on the grain for the bodice, sleeves, and a good part of the skirts but for the hem trimmings, they’re cut on the bias. This was fairly standard practice but with the striped fabric, it’s very apparent.  Now for some detail pictures of the neck and shoulders:

The front and upper bodice are of solid mint-green silk taffeta framed by ruching in the stripped taffeta.  Here’s an extreme close-up of the front upper bodice showing cut steel buttons and hand-stitched buttonholes:

The collar is a low mandarin collar and matches the bodice front. Now here’s one of the upper shoulders with various trim treatments. The sleeves are trimmed with solid green stripes framed with ruching from the striped green taffeta.

And some more details, first from the upper rear:

And the back without the draped overskirt:

And a view from the inside of the underskirt:

And here’s a rear view of just the underskirt:

And finally, something that’s often absent from museum displays, details of the underpinnings that go a long way towards proper dress presentation. Often these details are overlooked and the garments are not displayed to their best advantage.

We are absolutely amazed with the detail and thoroughness of the photographic documentation for this dress and it seems to overlook nothing. In terms of recreating this dress, this vastly simplifies the process. Aesthetically, this dress is definitely more middle class than haute couture and that’s perfectly fine. 🙂 It’s representative of a woman’s “best dress” of the era that would serve excellently for a variety of social occasions.

One thought on “And Now Back To The 70s…The 1870s, That Is…

  1. Gorgeous and such detail,the seamstress and the photographer…his detail would make for and easier copy of the day dress…always wished I lived back then but I’m more of a prairie dress type lol🙂👏👏👏👏👏

Leave a Reply