Hand-embroidered tulle tea dress, c.1923
What could be prettier on a hot summer day than a pristine white lacy dress! It appeals to our nostalgia for the unhurried, genteel lifestyle of the early 1920s. The dress could have been worn for afternoon tea in the garden. Today it would be a great choice for an informal wedding.
As fresh today as when new, this beauty came from a wealthy New England estate. You cannot find such high quality needle art in a new dress today. An antique tea gown offers one-of-a-kind design at a great price.
This one just needs a new slip. A white one would be perfect for a wedding; a colored slip would be more informal and contemporary. The unstructured style is comfortable and easy to wear. The dress slips on without closures.
With soft feminine styling, pin tucks, handmade filet lace accents, and elaborate hand embroidery, the lovely dress delights the jaded modern eye. The elaborate handwork is to die for, especially the delicate filet lace and fine hand embroidery! I can see a gracious hostess in the dress: nothing could be more perfect than the costume; pure ivory, but the fashion consummate; a single rose her only ornament.
In her authoritative survey of Paris Fashion, Valerie Steele of FIT explains the importance of the tea gown in fashion history. Déshabillé ("undress") referred to garments worn only in the house or in semi-private settings. They sometimes conveyed the intimacy of the boudoir, but they encompassed a wide range: the silk peignoir for the boudoir; the fine tea dress like ours for private entertaining; all the way up to the grand Delphos tea gown.
The condition is almost excellent. There are a few tiny mends that are difficult to detect. You may not even find them. It is clean and wearable.
It measures: 38" bust and waist, 48" hip, and 47" from shoulder to hem.