Empire waist silk dress, Portland, ca. 1810

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Empire waist silk dress, Portland, ca. 1810

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This record was added to Maine Memory Network through the efforts of a student at University of Southern Maine.


Fashionable waists were at their highest in the second decade of the 19th century. This slim, cream-colored, silk crepe dress is associated with the Wadsworth-Longfellow family, and features simple short sleeves, an extremely high waist, and a narrow inset waist band. Its style dates to the earlier part of the decade, between 1810 and 1815.

The skirt is smooth at front, with gathers across the back. The loose sleeves are gathered or bunched into puffs at the top, hinting of sleeve styles to come. The silk crepe may be the product of the China trade.

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About This Item

  • Title: Empire waist silk dress, Portland, ca. 1810
  • Creation Date: circa 1810
  • Subject Date: circa 1810
  • Town: Portland
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: silk
  • Dimensions: 132.715 cm x 109.220 cm
  • Local Code: A85-877
  • Collection: Costume collection
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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