Ball dress

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made in Britain

Postcard of Ball dress.
© National Museums Scotland

Ball dress

This woman's white silk taffeta ball dress dates from between around 1852 and 1857. It was made in Britain and consists of a bodice and attached upper skirt over a plain underskirt.

The skirt is trimmed with white silk fringing. The boned bodice is very tight-fitting, as is the waistline which extends to a long point. The skirt is in two parts, both lined in a stiffened muslin. They are attached at the waist by unpressed pleats and help to create the very full skirts.

After 1856, full dress skirts were able to be supported by the artificial crinoline or hooped cage which was introduced early in in that year. The crinoline allowed women to discard the numerous starched or horsehair petticoats and gave them a sense of freedom. However, it did have a tendency to tilt up and reveal the ankles which had long been concealed.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-000-135-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1981.556 A
Date: Between around 1852 and 1857
c. 1852 - 1857
Material: White silk taffeta
Dimensions: 1160 mm CB
What: ICOM Number: F 1.1
Skirt / dress, woman's evening
Subject: European Costume : female costume : netherwear
Where: Britain
Description: Skirt of white silk taffeta, trimmed with white silk fringing, part of a woman's evening dress: British, about 1852 - 1857
  • Langley Moore, Doris. Fashion through Fashion Plates 1771-1970. London: Ward Lock Ltd, 1971, p 84. 
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