In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

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The Mainspring of Fashion

Five dresses, c. 1835

Five dresses, c. 1835

Item 11553 info
Brick Store Museum

Women's fashions of the 19th century, with their sumptuous fabrics and graceful silhouettes, conjure romantic images, but they also represent a deeper cultural meaning and changing attitudes toward women.

Eighteenth century American clothing, except for that worn by the most genteel ladies, was far more practical and reflected the active life of women who were involved in providing the needs of their family.

With the decline of agriculture, especially in New England, the workplace shifted away from the home, at least for many men, leaving some women free to wear less practical clothing.


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