Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Late 1860's Ball Gown Bodice and Day Time Bodice Outfit

From the seller:

Old and authentic dress Napoleon III transformations.
The skirt has two tops (one day, the second ball) and various accessories (Polish, belt) for modifying the skirt in the circumstances.
All in very nice condition.
Only the blue silk prom corsage is worn.

From Me:

Something tells me they didn't have proms back in the mid 19th Century. Call me crazy.


The above fashion plate is from 1867. Although the grey dress is much more trimmed, it also has similar lines to the extant one above. By the late 1860's, the dresses were really starting to go back and we see the beginnings of the bustle era. That is why the extant one looks so sad in the display - well, one of the reasons- it was meant to have a bustle back so that the hem was even to the floor.

The other reason is that the belt/overskirt was meant to go with the daytime bodice. Although I have seen fashion plates with the basque waist and the ball gown bodice, it was much more common to go with the daytime bodice.  It's probably the reason the basque waist and the bertha collar look so funny together.  

I wish the seller would have provided measurements.  I've noticed lately that a lot of sellers stopped doing that.  I think it's a reaction to all the numbskulls that want to wear these antique garments.   I'd prefer to see the measurements and have a re-enforcement that you do not wear things that are 150 years old.  Heck, even jewelry that old gets worn only for a few hours because of how delicate it is and that stuff is metal!


  1. Hello Isabella, I'm sure that there were all kinds of school dances back then, often called by their full name of promenade. Here is an Ebay link to a drawing of the Yale Junior Promenade of 1893:

    I wonder if any of those actual clothes, flowers, etc. are still in existence--some programs, dance cards, etc. almost certainly could be located.


    1. Promenade was only used to refer to dances in the 1890's - a good 30 years post this gown. It also didn't last long as a reference to a dance.

      Women and men going to school past the 8th grade was an odd thing up until pretty recently -mid 20th century. Dances were normally either held at private homes or they were held by the churches.