Smithsonian - National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Costume Collection - Women's Dresses

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Dress, 2-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 2-Piece - click to enlarge

Dress, 2-Piece - click to enlarge

Click photos to enlarge.

Dress, 2-Piece

Catalogue number: CS*212655.001

Date: 1855-1865

Maker: Unknown


Gray/green and maroon silk; BODICE-round neck edged with piping; center front opening with worked buttonholes on left side and worked holes on right side for insertion of buttons; applied band of fabric, trimmed with fringe on bodice to create yoke effect-it runs from middle of center front, over shoulder to center back; straight waist piped at edge; three boned darts at either side of center front; small watchpocket at left front waist with outside tab closure; bodice extends over shoulders and at sides into back; center back piece with a smaller side piece at either side; bodice lined with white cotton; bell sleeves, lined with white cotton and faced with white silk near opening; armscye (armhole) piped; band of fabric, trimmed with fringe, applied in swags on sleeves; additional fringe at sleeve opening; SKIRT-lined with brown cotton; folded over at top and gauged; skirt whipped to pink cotton waistband; brown wool braid at hem on inside; hook-and-eye inside closure.


We do not have any information that tells us who originally wore this dress. This dress has its original removable collar and undersleeves. We also have what we believe to be the original buttons to this dress. They are garnet-colored stones, set in gold-colored metal, that would insert through the holes on the right side. The dress is a classic example of the style of dresses from the 1850s. It was exhibited in Suiting Everyone: The Democratization of Clothing in America from 1974 to 1979.

Credit: Gift of Adelaide A. Knowles