More Tea Gowns- 1885 Style

Lately it seems to be all about tea gowns here at the Atelier but when you’re on a roll… 😊 Today we feature this circa 1885 tea gown that was made by Liberty:

Liberty & Co., Tea Gown, c. 1885; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.3384)

This gown is constructed of pink and ivory silk, most likely taffeta, and is cut to give the appearance of an open robe draped over an underdress. The pink silk fashion fabric composing the outer layer is a solid color and appears to be of one piece with minimal three-quarter length sleeves. Also, although the staging is not the best, one can make out a gathered train. For the undergarment, the fashion fabric is decorated with a floral design on the skirt fore-part and it appears to have been embroidered. And just to finish everything off nicely, the neck and cuffs are of gauze/lace.

Rear View

In many respects, this tea gown incorporates the basic Aesthetic Dress style elements of a seemingly unstructured flowing silhouette, simple ornamentation, and an emphasis on practicality (although that can be a relative term). Clearly this gown was far too elegant for a simple “at-home” dress and it’s definitely meant as something more. At the same time, the gown builds on basic morning/house dress styles (the terms tend to be used interchangeably). Overall, this is a nice example of a mid-1880s tea gown and will definitely serve as a source of inspiration.

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