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Turn of the Century, Ladies at Leisure
These costumes, from the collection of the Huntington Historical Society, reflect one of many types of fashions worn by the ladies of Huntington during the Edwardian Era (1901-1919).  The Edwardian era women liked to dress up for every possible occasion necessitating a number of changes of clothing throughout the day.  At that time women had far more leisure and more opportunities to parade in finery in the daytime than they have in today’s world.  Clothes were more of a status symbol than today.  It was an era, sometimes also referred to as La Belle Époque, of unparalleled luxury and opulence.  Throughout the early 1900s, until the beginning of the Great War, fashion enjoyed its last true age of elegance.  Those years have been described as “one long Edwardian summer.”
White was a very popular color for summer dresses and blouses.  The dresses were made in gauzy white fabrics and often decorated with white embroidery and white lace.  The fabric under the lace was sometimes cut away revealing the wearer’s skin on her arms and neck

The type of white dresses on exhibit in this dining room is often referred to as lingerie dress.  It is also referred to as a day dress, morning dress, afternoon dress or tea dress.  The term tea dress should not be confused with the term “tea gown” which was an at-home dress for informal entertaining. The fabric of the lingerie dresses was usually of “lawn cloth” which is a lightweight, sheer cloth, either linen or cotton, and is semi-transparent

This two piece dress has a black lace and net insertion over a rose print on gray silk background.  The bodice has a high boned collar with a yoke of black net.  It is embellished with black velvet, jet beads and black floral embroidery.  The sleeves are of elbow length and trimmed with black lace, black sequins and jet beads.  The skirt is a “tulip style” of black net and lace insertions and two velvet stripes down the front and back.  The deeply flounced hemline is of black velvet.  The waist is also trimmed with black velvet

This salmon-pink silk one piece charmeuse dress has a full length underlay of embroidered English net which ends in a wide embroidered border at the hem.  This same net is also seen in the long sleeves and the yoke of the bodice. Attached to the net of the bodice is the salmon silk vest partially lined in pale blue silk and bearing two buttonholes with matching silk acorn-shaped, dangling buttons.  There is a third such acorn trim attached to the high lace collar


This coat has a black velvet bodice.  The collar and cuffs are also of black velvet.  The skirt and sleeves are of black brocade.  The wide sailor collar has an overlay of ecru lace.  The coat closes at the front by two very large silk frog closings.  The cuffs are trimmed each with three velvet buttons and silk covered loop trim