And Now For Some Late 1880s Dress Style

Today we move towards the end of the 1880s with this circa 1889 day dress from the Met:

Day Dress, c. 1888-1889; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.41.15.2a, b)

This dress consists of redingote bodice constructed from a dark jewel tone blue colored silk duchess (of at least it appears that way from what can tell from the photos) combined with a skirt of the same color in a silk jacquard with a floral pattern. The underbodice appears to be a multi-colored patterned, perhaps a wool or silk-wool challis, that serves as a dramatic color pop set against the dark blue background. Also, if you look closely at the underbodice, it’s been style so that hangs in a swag on the wearer’s left side ending in a fringed tail. It’s interesting to see this combined with the redingote style bodice.

This rear view provides a better view of the long tails of the redingote bodice combined with the skirt and train. While it’s got a train, it’s somewhat restrained and hints at skirt styles of the 1890s.

This close-up of the front upper bodice gives a good view of the underbodice. The outer bodice has been cut to show off the underbodice color to the best advantage. This dress is just one interesting variation of the “Redingote” style that was trending in the late 1880s and early 1890s and to us, it’s another source of inspiration for a recreated period dress style- stay tuned for more on this in the future.


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More 1880s Day Wear Style

Looking for ideas for recreating early 1880s daywear? Well, here’s one interesting source of inspiration- a circa 1882-1883 day dress from the Met 😃:

Day Dress, c. 1882-1883; Metropolitan Museum of Art (C.I.41.38.1a, b)

This day dress combines a purple with gold silk brocade floral pattern bodice and overskirt with a purple-colored silk underskirt a rich color palette. The purple is deep, leaning towards jewel tones and the gold brocade provides a dramatic bright contrast.

As can be seen, the dress silhouette reads early 1880s and features a moderate train/bustle arrangement. The gold overskirt/apron and bodice attract the eye and lead it up to the wearer’s face- this one’s both elegant and understated at the same time.

Above provides a good view of the bodice and the contrast between it and the skirt- the combination is both contrasting and harmonious at the same time.

The above close up of the upper front bodice shows an inset of ruched purple silk and it appears to open from the front, judging from the evident hooks and eyes. This dress could easily fit in on the series The Gilded Age and it something we’d expect a member of the conservative van Rhijn family to wear. Let this serve to inspire! 😁


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A Mid-Bustle Era Dress

Gray is a color that works for a variety of fashions and especially when it comes to daywear. Here is just example that every effectively combines complementary shades of gray (we kind of cringe using that phrase… 😄 ), made by a one Amedée Françoise (unfortunately, we were unable to find anything in English about this Couturiere):

Day Dress 1880

Day Dress, c. 1880; Metropolitan Museum of Art (43.72.2a–c)

Day Dress 1880

Side Profile

As can be seen from these pictures, this dress combines a solid dark gray silk underskirt with an embroidered patterned silk bodice and train. The patterned bodice fabric has a darker gray background and while this would simply serve to darken the entire dress, this fabric actually has the opposite effect partly because of the fabric’s luster and the white and lavender embroidered pattern.

Day Dress 1880 - Rear

Left Three Quarter Rear View

Style-wise, this dress is firmly in the Mid-Bustle Era, 1880 to be precise, and as such it’s characterized by having a cylindrical profile, low demi-train, and defined balayeuse. Moreover, the bodice is reminiscent of an 18th Century coat with cutaway lapels.

Day Dress 1880

Rear View

Except for the the band of tassels running along the hem, the skirt is unadorned with a smooth back and three rows of knife pleating on the front. Interestingly enough, the train appears to be composed of two different shades of gray silk fabric; the darker gray makes up the majority of skirt while the lighter shade is seen peeking out at the bottom where the skirt and train begin. Although it’s hard to tell from the available pictures, we would be inclined to say that this appears to be a minimal underskirt. Also, this light gray matches the trim. Finally, the bodice is also relatively unadorned except for fringe and tassels running along the edges. Below are some close up views that better illustrate the contrasts in the two base fabrics:

Sleeve Detail

Detail View Of Button

Detail View Of Fabric

Label – Amedee Francois

This dress utilizes a masterful combination of grays to achieve an effect that is both understated and elegant at the same time; with this this dress, the fabrics and cut do all the talking. 🙂


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Late 1890s Parisian Style

Today’s dress is a circa 1898 day dress from the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs:

Day Dress, c. 1898; Musée des Arts Décoratifs (32188.AB)

Constructed by Coguenhem et cie (one of many smaller Parisian fashion houses of the time that we no almost nothing about today), this dress is a one-piece construction and had the hour-glass shape characteristic of Mid to Late 1890s day dresses. The dress itself has smooth lines and a minimum of trim although the style effect of the double is striking, consisting of a scalloped outer hem combined with a contrasting hem of light celadon silk satin. The dress’ fashion fabric is a mint green-colored wool chenille with lighter celedon-colored velvet appliques;  also, the dress is decorated with what appears to be same celedon-colored silk satin cording utilizing a floral design motif. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine what some of the trim details are because of the lack of close-up photos.

The above picture shows off the trim details to their best advantage and the corded floral design really makes the dress stand out. Hopefully at some point we’ll be able to find out more about this amazing dress.


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Some Mid-1890s Dress Style

Today we feature a circa 1894 day dress from the Metropolitan Museum of Art that in many ways encompasses late 19th Century design aesthetics.

Day Dress, c. 1894; Metropolitan Museum of Art ( 35.134.13a, b)

This dress consists of a celedon-colored silk satin underskirt combined with a striped celedon overskirt with olive-colored wavy stripes. The overskirt continues past the waist, creating the effect of an open robe that opens to reveal a brown velvet under bodice trimmed in ivory-colored lace. This same velvet fabric is used in the leg-of-mutton upper sleeves which give way to lower sleeves made from the same striped silk satin as the overskirt. It’s an amazing combination of textures and fabrics: soft and non-luminous silk velvet giving way to very luminous silk satin. Also, the color combination is also harmonious and reveals that some care went into their selection. Finally, we see the use of a lot of dark old gold-colored trim and especially on the bodice front.

In terms of silhouette, although the bustle and trains had largely disappeared by the 1890s, there’s definitely a train with the dress and no doubt an appropriate understructure was employed; this dress doesn’t quite let go of late 1880s skirt style.

The above picture gives a good view of the rear and especially illustrates the color and fabric combinations very well. Below are some close-up views:

Here’s a closer view of the bodice front with it’s silk velvet/silk satin combination. The velvet color could be a brown or perhaps a dark chartreuse- it’s hard to tell.  The lace jabot was probably a lighter shade of ivory or off-white back when the dress was made; in our experience lace tends to yellow with age.

This picture nicely illustrates the outer fashion fabric and the trim. The outer fabric appears to be a combination of a lighter celedon-colored base fabric combined with a darker olive, or even steel-colored, striped ribbon-like fabric that’s been attached to the base fabric (as far as we can tell from the pictures).  Overall, it’s a fascinating combination of fabric and we’d love to be able to view this live. We hope you’ve enjoyed this view of mid 1890s style.


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