Item 105512 - Hannah P. Adams' embroidered dress, Belfast, ca. 1880

Item 105512 - Hannah P. Adams' embroidered dress, Belfast, ca. 1880
Contributed by Maine Historical Society
Item 105512
Hannah P. Adams' embroidered dress, Belfast, ca. 1880
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Between the mid-1870s and early 1880s the bulky over skirt "polonaise" styling gave way to the unusually slim silhouette called "cuirasse," from the French word meaning close fitting, like armor.

Hannah P. Adams' (1855-1935) lightweight camel colored wool ensemble exemplifies the cuirasse style. The knee length tight jacket, called a "basque" fits closely over a flat front skirt, edged with a wide band of pleating. The back of the basque divides to accommodate a modest low draped bustle, the tails lined in red silk satin weave. The garment is trimmed throughout with colorful hand-embroidered floral sprays, and a deep chenille bobble fringe. The embroidery evokes daisies, berries, wheat, cat tails and poppies.

While Adams lived in Belfast, an interior label on the outfit reads “W.H. Bigalow 150 Warren Ave. Boston.” Said to be part of Ms. Adams' wedding trousseau, the fashion is indicative of between 1875 and 1881, slightly after her 1873 wedding date.

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