This is a copy of a bodice imported from France about 1894 or 1895. It has a detachable neck yoke, revealing a neckline suitable for evening wear, which made it a practical addition to any lady’s wardrobe. The yoke is almost two circles joined at the center back, lined, and then pleated into a stand-up collar. The original gown from which this was copied has faded marks and threads that indicate there must have been trimming of black net, lace, and sequins at the top of the bodice, over the sleeve heads, and around the neck of the yoke. This expensive trim was probably removed to be used on another dress.

A French ladies’ magazine for August 1894 shows sleeves like these and states that “The Gigot sleeve, in some aspect, is used for all outdoor dresses.” We copied the Parisians in respect to the short puff sleeves and the long gloves which have been so fashionable in Paris for “smart” occasions. These sleeves are held out by black stiffened cotton and mounted onto a smaller sleeve of black taffeta.

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