Ball gownBall gown
Unknown maker
ca. 1899-1900

Formal evening balls required a "full toilette," including décolleté gowns with bare arms. Popularly known in New Orleans as costume de rigueur, these gowns were accessorized with long gloves extending above the elbows. Opulent jewelry was worn above the low neckline and over the gloves. Movement and manners were affected the constrictive undergarments that were worn by achieve the idealized figure of this era.

Gift of Mrs. John W. Mackay
Worn by Mrs. George Rose, née Josephine Maginnis, the donor's mother

LSM #1967.029.04a

Tailcoat and trousers
Revol, New Orleans

Throughout the twentieth century and still today, costume de rigueur for men's formal evening attire consisted of a black tailcoat and trousers, white dress shirt with a stiff front, wing collar, white piqué bowtie and vest, white gloves, and black patent leather pumps or loafers.

Beau Brummel introduced black as the preferred color for men's evening wear in England in 1810. Changes since that time have been made gradually and through small details. For example, a front crease did not appear on trousers until the 1880s. After 1900, trousers had creases on the front and back.

Gift of Mrs. George Mayer

LSM #1965.