In 19th century polite society, what women wore was dictated by the time of day; to understand and adhere to this was a show of good taste. The interval between when a lady rose from her bed in the morning and dressed for her day was no exception.
According to Florence Hartley’s Ladies Book of Etiquette (first published in 1860), “The most suitable dress for breakfast is a wrapper made to fit the figure loosely.”
The dressing gown, or wrapper, was an informal, functional garment, to be worn only at home, in the boudoir, or in the company of close family members or servants. On display, items from the Tredwell Costume Collection.