Woman’s Silk Ball Gown

Woman’s Silk Ball Gown, 1789
Courtesy, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark, NJ.,1789

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This silk gown is an example of the elegant dresses worn on special occasions by wealthy New Jersey women after the close of the Revolutionary War. This dress has an open red brocade robe pulled back to display the white silk skirt beneath it, a popular and fashionable style in England and in the new state of New Jersey. The dress also has a boned bodice with a “stomacher,” a stiffened insert that gives the torso a long, flat line. Reportedly, this gown was worn by Elizabeth Lawrence in 1789 when she attended a ball given in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette.

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