Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created



Costume; Clothing; Outerwear; Mantles; Mantelets


Silk voided velvet, lace, grosgrain ribbon, jet beads, glazed cotton


1880s. Mantelet of black silk voided velvet trimmed with lace, grosgrain ribbon, and jet, made with two lappet tails and partial sleeves.

This outerwear garment is cut in four main pieces with a shaped shoulder but no sleeves, closing down the front with ten hooks and eyes from the 5.1 cm / 2 in. high standing collar to the waist. It fits snugly to the body and arms, allowing ease of movement only from the elbows down; its close-fitting shoulders mean only a similarly close-fitting dress sleeve could have been worn beneath it. The fabric wraps from the center-back seam toward the front around the arms, and joins the front panels with a seam that begins as a dart behind the shoulder, flowing up over the shoulder and down to the waist in front. Each front panel is shaped with one 25.4 cm / 10 in. long dart beginning beneath the bust and extending over the hips. The lappets hanging down past the waist are of one piece with the front panels and have a vertical pleat running their full length. In back, the fabric is cut to accommodate a bustled dress worn beneath, and forms 13.3 cm / 5.25 in. long pleated tails at the small of the back that would have draped on top of it.

Knife pleated lace ruffles 6 cm / 2.375 in. wide, edged with grosgrain ribbon and three rows of jet beads at the base, form a standing frill around the collar and flank the opening. The same trim finishes the lappets, and follows the hem across the pleats of the tails. A teardrop appliqué of small jet beads is sewn to the small of the back, hiding the top of the pleats from view.

The mantelet is completely bag-lined with a glazed cotton twill fabric, with the exception of a placket at the front left closure which lines itself. It has the remains of a waist-stay belt inside it, with fragments of elastic tapes at the side seams and a frayed belt loop just above the tail pleats in back. This would have helped keep the garment snug to the body, preventing it from shifting. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Circumference at bust height (around the arms): 111.8 cm / 44 in.
Shoulder seam (neck to dart): 11.4 cm / 4.5 in.
Sleeve (top of shoulder dart to hem): 33 cm / 13 in.
Hem: 81.3 cm / 32 in.
Length (lappets): 50.8 cm / 20 in.
Length (neck to beginning of tails): 34.3 cm / 13.5 in.


Gift of Marion Witham

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.


Women's outerwear, 1880s, Mantelets, Mantles, Mantlets, Mantelot, Dolman, Opera cloak, Silk voided velvet, Black (color), Lace, Grosgrain ribbon, Jet beads, Front-closing, Hooks and eyes, Close-fitting, Darts, Lappet tails, Knife pleats, Ruffles, Collar frill, Appliqué, Partial sleeves, Polished cotton, Glazed cotton, Waist-stay belt, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Whitham (donor)