Best Bib & Tucker: Dressing for Tea, 1800 to Today
A Public Talk by Lynne Zacek Bassett
Saturday, November 11, 2023 | 2 pm
Historic Northampton’s clothing collection includes a remarkable FIVE tea gowns—a garment developed during the Aesthetic Movement in the latter decades of the 19th century not for wearing out to a tea party, but for “artistic” women to wear in relaxed situations in the home. In a PowerPoint presentation featuring extant garments and period images, fashion historian Lynne Bassett will explain the etiquette of dressing for tea in public and in private, the history of the tea gown, and how social issues of the day—nationalism, social climbing, industrialization, colonial revival nostalgia and women’s rights—affected tea drinkers’ wardrobe options. Historic Northampton’s tea gowns will be on display, dressed on mannequins, for further discussion.
Tea (of course!) and light refreshments will follow.
Lynne Bassett is an award-winning freelance clothing and textile curator with 40 years’ experience. She has lectured on historic clothing and quilts across the U.S. and served as a consultant for museums and private collections. Her work focuses on how fashion manifests social, political, economic, and religious movements in tandem with the other decorative and fine arts. Preservation Assessment of the Historic Northampton Clothing Collection is made possible by the Northampton Community Preservation Act.