This pretty gown is copied from the June 1873 issue of Harper's Bazaar and was designed for visiting friends and relatives in the country, for out-of-door fetes, lawn parties, summer festivals, and for wearing while taking the waters at the popular mineral spring resorts. Sunbathing did not become popular until the 1920s, so ladies protected their skin by carring parasols. Blue and white crocheted gloves were also worn. The outfit was topped by a pink straw hat trimmed with navy velvet, daisies, apple blossoms, and pink and blue ribbons. The polonaise with vest front is of a printed muslin, lined with pink and trimmed with a pink ruffle. It has hook and eye closures and is boned; additional shaping is provided by front darts and side seams. The off-white muslin sleeves are trimmed with navy ribbons and pink rosettes and edged with lace. The skirt is also of off-white muslin, trimmed on the upper part with navy ribbons and pink rosettes and on the bottom with rows of flounces.
The petticoat is cut exactly like the skirt but without the flounces. It is worn over the bustle and serves to soften the look of the bustle. The bustle is made of steel bands attached to a waistband with laces which allow some adjustment to the size of the bustle. The flexible bustle was an asset in crowded assemblies, railroad cars, and carriages.
Doctors were extremely fond of critcizing corseting; their letters frequently appeared in periodicals such as Godey's. They could not understand why women continued to compress their bodies so extremely when they knew it was injurious to their health. If, by accident, a lady fell ill in a crowd, the common cry was "Cut her lace!" She often recovered quickly, but by the next day, she once again tightened the laces as demanded by "demon fashion."
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