Woman's Dress: Bodice, Skirt, and Belt
Artist/maker unknown, American?
By the mid-1860s, the preferred skirt shape was conical, and gored seams allowed a smooth-fitting waist to flare out dramatically. Hoop skirts remained essential, however, to give the voluminous skirts a graceful sweep. Trimmed in the fashionable apron style, this skirt has nine tapered pieces at front and sides and one straight length at the back, with deep pleating at the back waist that flows into the full train. Skirts were often accompanied by two bodices to extend their usefulness; this skirt has a high-necked bodice for formal daytime wear, shown here, and an evening bodice. Brilliant colors, such as this magenta, were extremely popular in this decade, which saw the use of the first synthetic dyes.