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January 22, 2010

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Becky D

Where might a lady wear a polonaise? This example is just beautiful, but it seems so fancy for wearing around the house. Is it meant for travel or for parties? Is there a blouse underneath? Would a lady remove it before eating spaghetti?!? I'm so curious...

FIDM Museum

Your questions touch on a number of interesting issues! By our standards, this reads as a fancy/special occasion outfit. but it wasn't the most dressy of garments. Given that it is light colored both in fabric and color, it would have been worn in the warmer months, probably for daytime gatherings or outings. With its high button neckline, it would have been worn over a lightweight chemise and corset, but probably not another blouse. It would certainly have been worn with a skirt; we just don't happen to have the accompanying skirt.

No matter what the wearer ate, I'm sure she did it very carefully!

Christine Harrison

This remarkable piece of clothing is inspiration for one being made in miniature, for a 9" antique doll! She already has a lovely period c 1870 "walking outfit" white on white made with the same Soutache on Pique', a huge scalloped underskirt and full length "coat" very much like this Polonaise. Amazingly beautiful.

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