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Corsets and Crinolines - unique vintage clothing

Cuirass Evening Bodice

Cuirass Evening Bodice
C.1876- 1877. The bodice grew longer and tighter during the 1870's, evolving into the long basqued bodice called the Cuirass bodice (after he moulded to the body armour of previous centuries). With the bustle now dropped to the back of the knees, the bodice now could fit low down and tightly over the hips. As these new bodices were tight fitting, corsets grew longer as well and were often laced tight to give the correct "poured into" look these bodices gave. With the bustle non existant or down at the back of the knees, basques of the cuirass could end at hip bone level or could extend all the way down to the top of the thigh and over the bum. They could either be pointed at the front and back or rounded all around such as this one. Mine is more conservative as the basque ends at about hip bone level and probably would have been worn with a smaller "bustle" set just above the knees/ mid thigh. This style of bodice is an evening bodice and would have been worn an at home soiree and/ or dinner. It's made out of heavy pink silk satin and is lined with white glazed cotton with. The sleeves are made out of paper thin silk. Tand the shoulder seam is ever so slightly dropped and are piped (a left over from previous decades). The inside of the bodice is boned with 6 bones at the front and side and has a stayband sewn on the inside to keep the bodice from riding up. Now is the time you start to see more boning and staybands on bodices than before, they were needed when bodices grew very tight and tailored. The bodice fastens at the back with buttons covered in the same pink paper silk as the sleeves with crochet decorating them. It would have been worn by a young teen girl, probably as her first grown up event dress due to the color and the simple styling and not too low neckline. The sqaure neckline shows remnants of what decorated it. Little organza and ulle ruffles would have decorated the edge of the neckline and around each sleeve cuff, lending a Louis XV and Louis XVI air to the piece (The 18th century look for outfits, greatly popular during the early 1870's, started to decline as dresses became narrower and tighter). The bodice measures 21" long, 30" bust, 24" waist and 14" shoulders. This photo although showing a young teenage girl wearing a longer cuirass bodice, shows the narrow low bustle skirt which probably would have been worn with this bodice. (Formerly from the collection of Leila Hidic)