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Afternoon Dress, backAfternoon Dress
Silk, cotton lace
American, circa 1901
Gift of the Estate of Helen Raitt, 76.22.45

The early years of the 20th century are known for the S-curve silhouette and prominent monobosom, popularly referred to as “pouter pigeon” for the resemblance to the bird’s chest. The standard of beauty for the day was personified in the illustrations of Charles Dana Gibson. The Gibson Girl’s fresh look and delicately swayed S-curve stance presented a significantly different silhouette than her mother’s padded and cinched hourglass figure.

The high collar and full sleeves worn for day are a contrast to the sweeping décolleté acceptable for evening wear. In the zealousness to conceal, this bodice closes with no less than 35 sets of hooks and eyes.

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