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Afternoon dress

Women’s Three-piece Afternoon Dress, c. 1880s, American, Creator unknown, Cotton, velvet, silk satin, silk, Gift of G.P. Gaut, 1947.8.37.

“Afternoon dress” was worn for daytime social functions—tea, visiting friends, or bridge club, for example. Though afternoon dress was considered “informal,” it still had special features, including lace embellishments and draping. The lush velvet, satin, and silk fabrics that make up this dress, as well as its intricate handmade construction, tell us that it was worn by a woman of considerable wealth.