The inspiration for this gown was a print from Godey's Ladies Book and October of 1831. During this romantic era the bonnet was introduced. It was said to defend a lady from the stray looks of a beau. This bonnet, made of satin to match her gown, was formed of buckram and decorated with lace and flowers. Ribbons could be tied or left to fly loose. The pocket, called a reticule, is of white on white embroidered cotton. Velvet was used to emphasize the width of the skirt and the line of the drop shoulders. Since the silk of the day was only woven 20 inches wide, two widths would be needed to form the large leg-o-mutton sleeves. Cushions stuffed with feathers were used to keep them puffed. The skirt is also held out by a large cushion. Fashion called for skirts with diameters of five feet. One maid placed three feather dusters beneath her skirt to go walking on Sunday. Full skirts were even worn in factories. The hazard of this was noted in the newspapers of the day, with women dying when their gowns became entangled in the machinery. Fire was also a killer if they brushed too near the fireplace.
Stiff petticoats also helped hold out the skirts of the gowns. Beneath the dress are not only the cushions and several petticoats but a chemise, a corset, a corset cover, and bloomers. Her shoes are still flat and she is wearing white stockings.