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Blue silk day dress

Blue silk day dress

Photographer
Bruce White
Credit
James K. Polk Ancestral Home Collection

Blue silk day dress

Deep blue silk and satin striped long-sleeved day dress with quilted silk lining, attributed to the shop of Paris couturière Oudot Manoury. In her 1847 invoice, Mme Manoury described the gown as a “robe de chambre à la Pompadour,” the French term for a dressy house coat or dressing gown. The traditional Pompadour form is defined by the open skirt edged with ribbon and the bows on the sleeves and skirt. Unlike the French upper class, American women did not ceremoniously receive guests in their bedrooms. Sarah Polk might have worn the gown as a day dress to receive morning callers in the oval room upstairs at the White House, but the near perfect condition of the garment suggests it was rarely worn at all.

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