Some More 1890s Style…

Saturated colors and jewel tones have always been a favorite with us but they’re something that we have to use somewhat judiciously here in Southern California. Here’s an interesting circa 1894-1895 day dress that definitely embodies the idea of saturated jewel tones, enhanced by the use of silk velvet:

Visiting Dress, c. 1894-1895; August Auctions

The bodice is designed to mimic an open jacket with an inset waist, a style that was very popular during the 1890s and would be carried forward into the early 1900s.

With it’s narrow waist, multi-gored skirt, and gigot sleeves, this has the silhouette characteristic of mid-1890s dress styles. The lines are clean and there’s a minimum of trim except for ivory-colored lace on the bodice front and sleeve cuffs. What is striking about this design is that it combines jewel tone wine/burgundy-colored velvet sleeves and bodice front with a lighter jewel tone wine-colored silk taffeta (at least that’s what it looks like from the picture). Further enhancing the bodice is the use of tapered velvet stripes on the bodice back. The overall effect is rich but not overwhelming. Here’s some close-ups:

Details of the rear upper bodice. Note the use of guipure lace trim.

Upper bodice front trimmed in guipure lace and net.

Here’s an excellent close-up of the silk velvet juxtaposed to the silk taffeta. Overall, this is an interesting dress in that it nicely combines a number of style elements that neatly define mid-1890s style in an aesthetically pleasing way.

2 thoughts on “Some More 1890s Style…

  1. Very interesting analysis of this dress. Thank you for having shared this information.
    I would just inform you about lace: it’s not “guipure” but “needle lace”. The first has a fabric as base, with embroidered trimming, the second is created by thread and needle, without fabric at all.
    Would you have done more info about this method, I’ll be pleased to reply.
    Thank you again!

    • Interesting! Unfortunately, only having the two pictures makes it difficult to get a really close look- a god part of the time, photos are the only thing we have to go on. Any information on needle lace is always welcome- that’s something I’m going to have to look into. Thanks!

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