Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Costume Collection - Women's Dresses

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Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 1-Piece - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Dress, 1-Piece

Catalogue number: CS*224657.006

Date: 1929

Maker: Unknown


Evening; dress and slip; DRESS-bodice portion of yellow crepe-back satin; neck round in front and V in back; sleeveless; neck and sleeve openings bound with self fabric; side seams; two horizontal tucks at either side near waist that extend from front and into back; georgette skirt applied over bodice; leaf appliques sewn over join between skirt and bodice and extend up into bodice; skirt painted with flower and leaf design, outlined in gold; scalloped hem; skirt overlaps so that is free at left side; SLIP-narrow straps that attach to dress through snapped keepers at shoulders; upper portion of satin with deep scoop neck; panels of crepe applied in lower portion in irregular pattern; uneven hem.


This evening dress belonged to Olive Gale Hill McLean. Born in New York in April 1881, Olive was the only child of Thomas and Ida May Gale. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Washington, D.C. Mr. Gale was involved in real estate developments; his company was instrumental in the development of the Chevy Chase portion of Washington, D.C., including street and bridge building. After her debutante season, Olive and her mother traveled to Europe, where she purchased many other items that are now in the costume collection. When her engagement to William Hill was announced in 1901, her parents offered her the choice of a large wedding in Washington or a smaller one in London with a honeymoon in Europe. She chose the latter, so the couple was married in London in September 1902. The marriage was not successful and they divorced in 1913. In November 1916 she married a naval officer, Ridley McLean, and her two children assumed his name. This dress was worn in the winter of 1929, probably wherever they were stationed at that time.

Credit: Gift of Mrs. Godwin Moore