Even Ellen Mingott Olenska liked a good Empire Line...
Posted by Kali on December 23, 1997 at 01:31:07:
"Newland Archer, following Lefferts' glance, say with surprise that his exclamation had been occasioned by the entry of a new figure into old Mrs. Mingott's box. It was that of a slim young woman, a little less tall than May Welland, with brown hair growing in close curls around her temples and held in place by a narrow band of diamonds. The suggestion of this headdress, which gave her what was then called a 'Josephine look,' was carried out in the cut of a dark blue velvet gown rather theatrically caught up under her bosom by a girdle with a large, old-fashioned clasp..."
- As seen at the opera Faust, early 1870's, in Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence. Archer notes immediately that she wears the ensemble sans tucker, which means that her cleavage is pretty evident. Or, at least, more evident than it should be for the seventies. Archer's sister Janey later exclaims, scandalised, that the ensemble looked "perfectly plain and flat - just like a nightgown"! to which her mother gasped. hee!
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