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"The proper length for little girls' skirts at various ages", Harper's Bazar, 1868. Diagram showing a mid-Victorian idea of how the hemline should descend from slightly longer than knee-length for a girl of 4 years old to almost ankle-length for a girl of 16.

Wedding ensemble (detail, showing petticoat) by Courvoisier, American, 1870. Silk dress, petticoat, and shoes with leather gloves.

Silk ensemble with evening bodice (back), by Dupret, French, ca. 1867.

Evening dress Date: ca. 1865 Culture: British Medium: silk (probably), glass Dimensions: Length at CF (a): 10 in. (25.4 cm) Length at CB (b): 66 in. (167.6 cm) Credit Line: Purchase, Allison Sarofim Gift, 2008 Accession Number: 2008.304a–c Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ball gown Emile Pingat (French, active 1860–96) Date: ca. 1860 Culture: French Medium: silk. Detail

Simply stunning creamy-coloured bustled dress.

Dress, Visiting Emile Pingat  (French, active 1860–96) Date: ca. 1872 Culture: French Medium: silk

c. 1860 bodice detail, American or European, cotton, gift of the Misses Faith and Delia Leavens, 1941

Morning dress Date: 1870s Culture: American Medium: cotton

Dress, yellow with black trim Date: 1872–74 Culture: American Medium: silk, cotton Metropolitan Museum of Art Accession Number: C.I.52.42.2a, b

1870s gown (side view) worn by Mahala Pillsbury, wife of John S. Pillsbury - by Minnesota Historical Society, via Flickr