In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

1890-1900

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The 1890s are defined by plain skirts, the rapid rise and fall of the sleeve, and the increased availability of silk. The American broad silk industry became firmly established during the 1880s. By the 1890s a profusion of colored, affordable (but not cheap), American manufactured silk yardage could be found in the new burgeoning city department stores, including Peck's in Lewiston, Libby's in Portland, and in small town dry-goods stores. Reasonably priced plain skirts, jackets, and blouses that became the norm for the working and active woman's everyday wear could be purchased ready-made. Immigrant labor was integral to this era of garment industry growth.

Labeled, "Harriman & Co. Portland Maine," Adela Adams' circa 1900 two piece has a velvet trimmed jacket styled with mild sleeve expansion, and the new plain, back pleated skirt. A very similarly styled a brown two-piece dress with the same pleated, full backed skirt, features a bodice with the very full 1894-1895 puffed upper sleeve, as does the collection's celadon green dress with a figured pink silk bodice and spreading collar trimmed with pink sequins.