Navy Blue Dress with Hobble Skirt

Brief Item Record

Title: Navy Blue Dress with Hobble Skirt

Date: 1910 (circa)

Description: Navy blue satin dress with hobble skirt and embroidered placket. ; Dropped Bustle evening gown silhouette; square neckline with V-neck over layer to waist; square blue gray lapel overlaying blue silk, backs of lapels have one layer at bottom and one snap on the front underneath the synthetic; neckline of under layer has rectangular embroidered panel on netting backing, pin tucked georgette bodice with small self covered decorative buttons, bodice gathered at waist; 3/4 length sleeve, single tuck at seam at elbow length, peaked cuff with slit on under side, with silk chord detail that wraps around cuff and with silk button; two rows of blue chord at waist; skirt gathered at waist; skirt balloon gathers at side below knee, skirt continues straight down to floor; Navy silk ribbon bow tied around mid-shin; nine self covered buttons along straight part of skirt at side seam, they curve in towards the front at bottom; synthetic trim following the line of buttons; synthetic lapel continues along back to form collar; two loops of chord at either side of the neck; princess seams at back; gathered at waist covered with two pieces of chord continued from front; snap at left waist; gathered pleats at center back waist; the ribbon of the bow continues around to the back; China silk lining at top; cotton lace trim; woven cotton ribbon at waistband; china silk covered waistband and trimmed with waist; cotton ribbon at left princess seam inside; center front of lining has hook and eye closers, hook and eyes are on a twill grosgrain ribbon, the hooks are attached with metal fasteners; snaps along left princess seam which connect to the georgette bodice; lapel snaps on top of georgette at same seam; hook and eyes at top corners of bodice neckline; net ribbon from waist to below knee seam; trim net casing along inside of below knee seam; remains of china silk lining at skirt seams; snap closer along waist and side seam; lapels snap onto top of waist at seam of skirt

Full Item Record

Dublin Core

Identifier

VC2001069

Title

Navy Blue Dress with Hobble Skirt

Description

Navy blue satin dress with hobble skirt and embroidered placket. ; Dropped Bustle evening gown silhouette; square neckline with V-neck over layer to waist; square blue gray lapel overlaying blue silk, backs of lapels have one layer at bottom and one snap on the front underneath the synthetic; neckline of under layer has rectangular embroidered panel on netting backing, pin tucked georgette bodice with small self covered decorative buttons, bodice gathered at waist; 3/4 length sleeve, single tuck at seam at elbow length, peaked cuff with slit on under side, with silk chord detail that wraps around cuff and with silk button; two rows of blue chord at waist; skirt gathered at waist; skirt balloon gathers at side below knee, skirt continues straight down to floor; Navy silk ribbon bow tied around mid-shin; nine self covered buttons along straight part of skirt at side seam, they curve in towards the front at bottom; synthetic trim following the line of buttons; synthetic lapel continues along back to form collar; two loops of chord at either side of the neck; princess seams at back; gathered at waist covered with two pieces of chord continued from front; snap at left waist; gathered pleats at center back waist; the ribbon of the bow continues around to the back; China silk lining at top; cotton lace trim; woven cotton ribbon at waistband; china silk covered waistband and trimmed with waist; cotton ribbon at left princess seam inside; center front of lining has hook and eye closers, hook and eyes are on a twill grosgrain ribbon, the hooks are attached with metal fasteners; snaps along left princess seam which connect to the georgette bodice; lapel snaps on top of georgette at same seam; hook and eyes at top corners of bodice neckline; net ribbon from waist to below knee seam; trim net casing along inside of below knee seam; remains of china silk lining at skirt seams; snap closer along waist and side seam; lapels snap onto top of waist at seam of skirt

Date

1910 (circa)

Subject

Clothing and dress

Extent

34 inches (chest), 25 inches (waist), 47 inches (center front length), 52 inches (center back length), other measurements: CF to waist 13;

Type

Physical Object

Temporal Coverage

Rights

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Rights Holder

© Vassar College Costume Collection. Images in this collection may be used for teaching, classroom presentation, and research purposes only. For other reuse, reproduction and publication of these images, contact costumeshop@vassar.edu.

Costume Item Type Metadata

Cataloguer with Date

Saiz 3/5/2010

Color Main

Chest

34

Waist

25

Center Front Length

47

Center Back Length

52

Measurements Other

CF to waist 13;

All Measurements

34 inches (chest), 25 inches (waist), 47 inches (center front length), 52 inches (center back length), other measurements: CF to waist 13;

Date Earliest

1905

Date Latest

1915

Classification

costume
clothing

Category

Function

Condition Term

good

Condition Description

torn seams along lace; minor discoloring, lace; skirt is in great condition; bodice front is in only fair condition

Mannequin

Jul-86

Storage Location

L8

Exhibition Notes

The hobble skirt appeared ca. 1910 and was popularized by French designer Paul Poiret. It appears both as a streamlined cone and as a cinched-in pouf below the knee. Though the hobble skirt significantly impedes movement, its social significance was progressive rather than oppressive: the narrow shape of the hobble skirt mimics the silhouette of men's pants. The style was widely mocked in cartoons of its time, perhaps due to the fear that if women wanted to dress like men, they might want to act like them, too. With the women's suffrage movement gaining momentum, hobble skirts were a physical reminder that women were becoming more and more equal to men.
This hobble dress dates ca. 1910. It was used a costume prior to being rescued by the Vassar College Costume Collection, and suffered many alterations. As part of the restoration process, pale blue polyester was removed from the collar and the bottom of the skirt, along with blue cord that trimmed the collar, cuffs, and waist. It was then restored to its original size, as it had been crudely taken in at the sides. The inside lining was also reinforced with conservation netting.
The final part of the restoration will be to establish the original style of the ribbon trim along the bottom of the skirt – there are several potential configurations.

This dress seems simple, even modest, at the first glance. In reality, it represents a time in history when both men and women were beginning to examine social rules and roles. The hobble skirt was new, and perhaps that was its draw, and why so many women adopted it so quickly: it symbolized something previously unseen, without social connotation or affiliation. It raised questions. A cartoon in Punch in July 1910 essentially compares the aesthetic of the narrow, tied-up skirt to that of narrow, tied-up pants. There is an element of humor in the idea of a woman hopping around in a single pant-leg from a pair of pants, but there seems to be something deeper there - how long until women decide they want both legs? Women were moving towards garments that looked like men's clothes with increasing rapidity, and the subsequent implication almost goes without saying: if women want to dress like men, maybe they want to act like them, too. With the women's suffrage movement gaining momentum, hobble skirts were a physical reminder that women were becoming more and more equal to men. After the removal of several pieces of trim that had been added to this for its use as a stage costume, the bodice was stabilized and the lapels restored. The tie on the skirt had also been reworked, and was returned to a position more likely to have been original, as researched.

Researched by Chloe Boxer ‘12
Stabilized by Chloe Boxer ‘12 and Anne Silk ‘13

Work Type

Citation

“Navy Blue Dress with Hobble Skirt,” Vassar College Costume Collection, accessed May 29, 2024, http://vccc.vassarspaces.net/items/show/910.

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