In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

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The Mainspring of Fashion

Three dresses, child's dress from the 1840s

Three dresses, child's dress from the 1840s

Item 11558 info
Brick Store Museum

The layers of petticoats, corsets, and crinolines worn during the 19th century make it clear that movement was difficult for the wearer.

Such restriction was a conspicuous reminder that a woman dressed in elegant fashion did not have to endure the demanding physical labor of farm chores and housework. Her social and economic status allowed her to be decorous.

Women were expected to be guardians of the home, carrying out educational and cultural responsibilities in childrearing and maintaining the home's spiritual sanctity.


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