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Cream Silk and Lace Dress

Cream Silk and Lace Dress

7
Cream Silk and Lace Dress
#VC1992096
 
worn in 1903
silk, cotton, metal hooks & eyes
Gift of Mrs. C. Lane Goss , VC Class of 1928
 
This bridesmaid’s dress, worn by Grace Woodworth at the 1903 wedding of her sister Clara Farewell Holt (VC ex-1902) is an example of the lingerie style of hyper-feminized dress. The delicate, frothy, and virginal gown signals the proper role of women as domesticated, concerned only with trivial matters, and unfit for public life. Its existence as an artifact in the marriage ritual, a rite that both symbolically and practically restricted even educated women to the home, further emphasizes the traditional place of women. For many Vassar graduates, the move toward marriage and the traditional feminine role symbolized by this dress was in part an attempt to appease critics of women’s education who feared and ridiculed educated women who rejected the feminine.
 
Camisole and petticoat are not original.