In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

Wrappers, Teagowns & At Home Dresses

Wrapper is the traditional term used for the gowns gathered under this heading. This type of garment is thought to have been worn only within the familiar and intimate setting of home and family, and not out in public. The loose fronted structure and inner bodices suggest use during pregnancy.

Recent scholarship points to the possibility that the most sophisticated versions such as the first three listed in this slide show, were perhaps worn in the relaxed privacy of a ladies sitting room when entertaining a few close friends for tea, a reciprocal activity that maintained social relationships. It is also suggested that, complex though they appear, the looser less restrictive nature of the more sophisticated examples were an early step towards more casual fashions. The last four in the list are surviving home dresses, that obviously saw long years of wear for domestic duties, during pregnancies, and unlikely seen beyond the home, hearth and immediate family.