Ask A Curator Day!

Today is Ask A Curator Day! In this spirit, the E&T Division curator and staff will participate by answering questions (as best we can!) about our collections here at the Museum of Texas Tech University.

To get things started, the images below display a corset and bustle hoop form dating from the 1880’s.  Because these items are no longer worn in modern fashion, they are objects of curiosity that many have never seen before.

Although the petticoats would go over the wire hoops, this is how these items would be worn together.  The corset creates and keeps a small waisted, hourglass form that was fashionable.  The bustle hoops buckle at the waist, and support a skirt with its shape; flat in the front, bustled at the back, and flared at the bottom.

The corset is tightened and tied in the back, but clasps in the front to easily dress.  The small hook shown above hooked over the petticoat waist to prevent it from riding up.

This bustle form was worn under a brown dress made for Ms. Rhoda Shields when she was 16 years old, around 1884.  Sadly, she later died three weeks apart from her sister (Mrs. Sophronia Shields Rogers) during an epidemic.

Please leave your comments about these objects, or any other inquiries about our collections!

 

Object of the Day

Two Piece, Silk Brocade and Taffeta Reception Gown, 1875-1880

This silk brocade and taffeta gown was made in the fashion of the early 1870s. It was made in Michigan and brought to Texas by the daughter of a lumber merchant. Some of the features of the dress are the asymmetrical draping on the overskirt, the trim of poufs around the bottom front of the skirt, shirring and knife pleating on the bottom back of the skirt and the crochet-covered iridescent pearls buttons.

Staff Favorite

Brick and Beige Striped Paisley with Brown Velvet Trim Dress, 1875-1876

This dress caught my interest immediately because of its multiple design elements.  Made for a woman, who could be only five feet tall at the most, this dress encompasses many different embellishments.  The piece was made between 1875-1876 yet, it is in excellent condition.  The green, beige, and orange striped paisley print itself is eye-catching.  Then added on top are brown velvet bows, a row of buttons, a trimmed ruffle on each side, a bustle, a collar, button-trimmed pockets, and cuffs.  For this look, more is more.  It took a bold, confident woman to wear this dress.

Detail of Bodice