Mid-1890s Spring Style

With the arrival of Spring, we tend to think in terms of linen and cotton and such as with this circa 1890s day dress:

Day Dress, c. 1895; Augusta Auctions Website

While the Augusta Auctions website describes this dress being made of cotton, it could have just as easily been linen but either way, it definitely reads as a warmer weather garment. This dress is of a style that consists of a skirt combined with what could be termed a waist worn over the skirt top. Of course, it also raises the question of when does a bodice become a waist or vice-versa? This dress seems to occupy that middle ground where sometimes it’s hard to determine; the bodice/waist is a little heavier than what we normally associate with the waist yet at the same time, it’s a bit more loosely structured that a standard dress bodice (or course, make no mistake, a corset was worn underneath).1For some more discussion on waists, click HERE. Here’s a couple more examples of this particular style:

The above French fashion plate illustrates this style nicely, albeit with a little variation; it’s clear that this was more of a youthful style and was especially useful when it came to outdoor activities:

And it would appear that this was a popular style as far back as the late 1880s with this pattern promotion in March 1889 issue of Demorest’s Family Magazine:

Below are some more views of the dress:

As can be seen from these pictures, the basic fashion fabric is a green/putty colored cotton with ivory stripes dress. White/ivory colored Guipure lace trims the bodice/waist. Finally, the shoulders are trimmed with black silk satin bows along with black silk satin belt and cuff stripes.

This is a simple yet elegant dress for the Spring and Summer and we especially envision this as the perfect seaside dress. 🙂



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