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Four-piece ensemble of ivory silk satin & lace with taffeta trim, ca. 1870s. Basque bodice with ¾-length sleeves. Panel of lace at front of skirt, with fullness at back to accommodate bustle of satin and lace buttons with slight trim. Dark tan polished cotton underskirt; ivory satin cape with fringe. Worn as commencement dress. Vassar College Costume Collection

Four-piece ensemble of ivory silk satin & lace with taffeta trim, ca. 1870s. Basque bodice with ¾-length sleeves. Panel of lace at front of skirt, with fullness at back to accommodate bustle of satin and lace buttons with slight trim. Dark tan polished cotton underskirt; ivory satin cape with fringe. Worn as commencement dress. Vassar College Costume Collection

Walking suit ca. 1870s. Two-piece visiting dress in 2 shades of gray silk faille. Skirt has short train and is worn with bustle. Triangular pocket on right side of skirt, trimmed with buttons & cord lacing, was designed to hold parasol. Indianapolis Museum of Art:

Walking suit ca. 1870s. Two-piece visiting dress in 2 shades of gray silk faille. Skirt has short train and is worn with bustle. Triangular pocket on right side of skirt, trimmed with buttons & cord lacing, was designed to hold parasol. Indianapolis Museum of Art:

Dress, European, ca. 1885. Cotton plain weave with cotton cutwork embroidery (broderie anglaise) & cotton needle lace. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rebecca Thelin/Flickr, and thecourtesanblue/Flickr

Dress, European, ca. 1885. Cotton plain weave with cotton cutwork embroidery (broderie anglaise) & cotton needle lace. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rebecca Thelin/Flickr, and thecourtesanblue/Flickr

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