Women’s attire such as this reached its zenith in the gay 90’s. The enormous “leg-o-mutton” sleeves and the tight corsetteted waists were a must for the girl on the go. This highly tailored suit consists of 2 pieces, a crisp, heavy jacket and a glorious, frilly French Alencon skirt. Made entirely of black, it may have been worn during a period of mourning but just as likely could have been worn by a working woman.
The jacket is made of a crisp, heavy silk faille. It features a high neckline and is fully lined with extensive boning to accentuate the slim waist. The puffed sleeves are huge and narrow down to a tiny wrist. It is embellished with floral beaded appliqués. It closes with a complex series of hooks and eyes which are all present. The side and underarm seams are reinforced and appear to be of the period.
The skirt is a gorgeous French Alencon lace (probably linen) outlined with hand applied silk cording. It is slightly gathered at the waist and flairs to a 100” circumference around the hem.
The condition is excellent with only some deterioration of the silk cording, mainly around the waist and some very slight wear at the points of the jacket in the center front (both pictured). There are no holes, no staining and all seams are intact. Truly amazing, isn’t it?
The measurements are as follows:
Sleeves: 17” (underarm to wrist)
Shoulder to Shoulder: 12.5”
Shoulder to Waist: 15”
Circumference of hem: 100”
I was recenently invited to the University of Nebraska by the textiles department to view their collection of antique Women's clothing. Everything is carefully hung in a huge climate controlled vault. Oh, ladies... You never saw such finery in your life and I am still near speechless when I think of it. They has a couple of dresses similar to this but neither were as tailored and in such fine condition as this one.
Although I can't possibly keep this, I am honored to have owned this, if even for a little while as there are so very few of these left.
I thank you for looking and, as always, if you have any questions or need additional pictures, just ask! I’ll be more than happy to oblige.