Silk, lace, glass
Worn by Lydia Ann Robertson
Gift of Mrs. Carl Ruscoe
At the age of 32 years, Lydia Ann Robertson married Leroy Shofield at her family’s home in Bedford, New York on August 27, 1879. Following their wedding, the couple moved to Pound Ridge to be near his family, and opened Emily Shaw’s Inn, known today as Jean Georges’ The Inn at Pound Ridge. The donor was Lydia’s granddaughter.
The dress is most notable for its brown color. Instead of the traditional white, the bride chose to wear a dress she already owned. It is a notable example of fashion in the 1870s, when skirts shrank in circumference with the majority of fabric on a woman’s skirt drawn up behind the wearer in a large, draping bustle. Waistlines collapsed into the “princess-line” style, named for Alexandra, Princess of Wales, who popularized the look. Shoulder seams crept upwards, and sleeves tightened, further accentuating the slim look in contrast to the wide silhouettes from previous decades.