Brown Plaid Day Dress
Brief Item Record
Title: Brown Plaid Day Dress
Description: ; brown silk with cream brown and black plaid, brown polished cotton, black cotton hem band, metal hook and eyes and snaps, covered buttonsfull skirt, fitted bodice with higher waist fitted bodice, two waist darts in front, princess seem at back ; two piece sleeve, ruching from shoulder to cuff and around cuff, black lace at cuff; seven non functional covered buttons at center front with interior hooks and eyes; high collar; full floor length skirt, pleats in front and back, one inverted pleat in center back; wide ruffle at hem, box pleats; polished cotton lining with wool hem band; snaps at waist
Full Item Record
Costume Item Type Metadata
Cataloguer with Date
Center Front Length
Center Back Length
Underarm to Waist
Concerning its structure, the sleeves of the garment begin on the upper part of the arm, slightly below the natural shoulder. Its bodice hugs the torso of the body from the shoulders down to the waist, where it immediately widens into a round skirt. The dress would be worn with a hoopskirt and crinoline petticoat underneath, filling out the round shape of the skirt. Finally, silk taffeta was a commonly used fabric in the late 19th-century because of its crisp, yet smooth consistency that provided enough body to enhance the fullness of the skirt.
It is no surprise that the stylistic elements of this dress produce a daywear garment that is conservative. Wealthy women who were organizing the beginnings of the women’s rights movement, attending schools such as Vassar College, or working during the Civil War sought out crinoline day-dresses that could be worn with hoop skirts underneath instead of several petticoats because they were more comfortable. They also thought that simple patterns and subdued colors were more proper and presentable for class and work. One might find it interesting to observe how this idea of “properness” required for the average school day has changed from the 1860s to now.
Tortora, Phyllis, and Keith Eubank. “The Crinoline Period .” Survey of Historic Costume, Fairchild Books, an Imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.
Written by: Luke Morrison ‘18, Molly Lipkowitz ‘20, Noah Pliss 20’