Tea Gown

Collection Type

  • Clothing and accessories


ca. 1900




Ivory tea gown with flared sleeves, no defined waist and a train in the back. The gown has a high, square neckline trimmed first with crepe and strips of lace with gold sequins sewn on frame the neckline. The gown has a long split down the center two-thirds of the way to the bottom. The split has fourteen hook and loop closures and a drawstring around the neckline. A crepe accordion pleated panel covers a triangular area from the neckline to the bottom of the dress and is attached at the top left corner by a hook and eye and down the sides of the dress by stitching and by hook and eye halfway down the left side. Attached at that hook and eye is a pleated crepe swag running from the top of the right shoulder across the chest to the lower left side. There is an identical crepe swag from the left shoulder across the chest to a hook and eye on the lower right side of the silk body of the dress. The strip of sequined lace across the neckline also attaches by hook and loop to the left side. The sleeves are elbow length and flared. The top half has alternating stripes of floral lace and pleated silk. The flare of the sleeves is made of gathered crepe, trimmed with floral lace. The flare of the sleeves has a split at the top edge and there is another layer of gathered crepe underneath the top one. There is a wrap style over layer on top of the silk body of the dress that frames the triangular front panel of crepe. It is made of a thin silk with vertical stripes of lace. The center is shorter and makes a step outward and has a longer section on the outsides made of horizontal strips of pleated silk and lace ending in a wide ruffle of floral lace. At the bottom of the central crepe panel is a horizontal strip of lace then a gathered section of crepe, then another strip of lace. There is another alternating lace and crepe ruffle under this in one that attaches to the silk body. The back of the gown shows the same square neckline trimmed in crepe and in sequined lace. The pleated crepe swags are also visible where they attach in the back at the corners of the sequined lace. Five stripes of horizontal lace and pleated silk are visible where they come around the sides from the front and stop a third of the way across the back on both sides. They form almost an empire style waist appearance. There are three vertical strips of floral lace that run from the neckline all the way to the bottom of the dress with the center strip being Watteau pleated. These three strips are set into the thin silk wrap. There are two more vertical strips of lace that extend from underneath the empire style waistline to the bottom of the dress. At the bottom of the dress there is another graduated step in trimmed with floral lace ruffles and pleated silk stripes. The very bottom of the dress has a double train. The top layer has horizontal striped of floral lace and pleated silk, is trimmed with a wide floral lace ruffle and is rectangle shaped except that the bottom corners flare outward farther than the top corners. The bottom layer of the train is made of a band of floral lace attached to the silk lining, a panel of gathered crepe, another and of lace, a thin band of crepe, and a wide band of floral lace with scalloped edge to form a ruffle. The train sticks out in a rounded v-shape and through it the wide band of the pleated silk lining is visible. The gown also has a small padded bustle attached to the inside.


Descriptive Terms

tea gowns
dresses (garments)
silk (textile)
crepe (textile)
lace (needlework)
sequins (spangles)

Associated Building

Original to Phillips House (Salem, Mass.),

Additional Identification Number





15 (W) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation

Accession Number