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
Costume Item Type Metadata
Cataloguer with Date
Center Front Length
Center Back Length
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 â€“ 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 â€˜12
Stabilized by Chloe Boxer â€˜12 and Anne Silk â€˜13