Find of the Month: Early Edwardian Dinner Dress
March 2, 2013
As usual, I found this lovely while browsing internet sales sites. I took a slight gamble on this dress since I was not very familiar or overly fond of early Edwardian. I had been watching and bidding on other items, but after a rash of disheartening losses, I thought that perhaps this wasn’t my month. I started watching this listing more out of curiosity than desire, but there was something about the dress that made me keep checking back over and over until I finally took the plunge. I am so happy that I did!
This dress is one of the most unusual I own appearance-wise. How can you not love that bright canary yellow?! The overlay of fantastic Art Nouveau lace is icing on the cake. Speaking of icing, there is a fine trail of glittering jet black beads down either side of the bolero-style front.
Though the leafy textured fabric looked black, it is really a very deep forest green. The edge of the skirt is weighted with two rows of cording to help it flare out instead of up as the wearer walked (the two central rows are just for show).
The wool blend is surprisingly sturdy, but slightly see-through where it is unlined. I can’t narrow this dress down to a specific year, but this dress dates to around 1893 to 1899 for certain!
For being 115+ years old, the dress is in fair shape. There is a good-sized spot of fading on one mutton sleeve and plenty of staining and pock-mark holes on the skirt. The beading is crumbling, so I will have to stabilize it. The front is actually meant to fit more smoothly over the front, but even cinched down to it’s tiniest, my mannequin is too large to fit the slim 30 inch bust and 23 inch waist of the inner lining (Edwardian dresses, even if they look loose-fitting, actually have a tightly fitted lining inside. But more on that later!). Here’s a shot of me (5.5 feet tall, 35-29-35, uncorseted) standing next to the dress for size comp:
Judging by the style, fit, and proportions, this handsome dress was probably meant for a young lady. I can just imagine her out and about in this dress wearing shiny leather shoes, a jaunty hat, and toting a parasol!