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This two piece tennis ensemble, comprising a tunic jacket and ankle length skirt, is a well-preserved example of the type of tennis costume worn by women in the late 19th century. At this time, tennis dresses were more likened to walking dresses, worn with black stockings, gloves, laced shoes with heels and a hat. Although the dress may appear to have little consideration for function and practicality by modern standards, the skirt in this piece is actually fitted with eyelets and hooks for fold...
Tennis dress, womens, bodice and skirt, tussore silk, [England], 1880-1890.
Skirt: ankle length, draped upper overskirt gathered into a bustle at the back, lower front skirt features seven rows of knife pleated frills and the lower back has three rows only below the bustle. The centre back has a concealed placket with brass hook and eye fastenings and the narrow waistband fastens at the centre back with three brass hook and eyes. The skirt if fully lined with fine cream cotton and there is a stiffened interlining at the hem.
Bodice: jacket style bodice with fitted back that has a scooped hem and centre back box pleats. The unboned front has fitted box pleats from the shoulder to the hem on both sides. The bodice has long straight fitted sleeves a rounded stand up collar and a centre front button through opening that fastens with ten thick mother-of-pearl buttons. The inner collar and cuffs are trimmed with a double band of thick cream net. The bodice is hand and machine sewn and fully lined with cream satin striped cotton.