This cabinet photograph, by the Gardner studio in Napoleon, Ohio, offers a helpful hint worthy of appearing in Real Simple magazine. What should one do with those extra ribbons that are just laying around the house? A creative and economic answer is to stick them onto a plain dress to liven it up. Unfortunately, the end result of following this advice is that one is left with a very unattractive dress. To learn more about the photographer and to view other photographs by the Gardner studio, click on the category “Photographer: Gardner”. This cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on September 30, 2020 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Unlike today, where a lady’s closets are often choked with unnecessary clothing, apparel was often very limited for most women in those days. The same ‘gowns’ were worn to death year after year, and altered and re-altered to pass from person to person with often whole sections of a dress cut off and attached to the bottom of dress or carefully affixed to the top or bottom of “undergarments”.

    “Something bright” might bring the only change to a worn out dress or hat. -New trim for hats was particularly sought after, with women often parading what looked like whole fruit bowls or bird nests on their heads. “Drummers” would travel from place to place making a huge profit selling feathers,ribbon and other such doodads.

  2. Ah but you know we cannot judge with our jaded eyes. To the Victorian lady, this was fashionable. Fripperies and fringe were all the rage and certain ladies magazines encouraged women to trim the dress to their liking and then add a little bit more trim. 🙂 I have a card in my collection that is noted “dress was orange velvet and gray cashmere.” To our minds this might be garish, but to the Victorian mind, it was the height of style – it was a wedding dress.

  3. Wow! Someone seriously got carried away with the ribbons!

  4. Most women only had 1 good dress, and this lady may have had to make her Sunday best into her wedding dress or graduation dress. The ribbons appear to be 2 different shades. It certainly was made by a good tailor, see how well it fits.

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