Big Sleeves

This late 1890s dress is an example of the extreme puffed sleeves that were popular at the time. The sleeves were actually a two-part sleeve; there is a normal sized sleeve inside, then stuffing or padding of some type, then the outer puffed part that you see in the picture. They look dreadful to me, but some ladies love them. Our woman pictured is soft and round as was the style. My grandmother was encouraged to drink a cup of cream a day to keep her soft figure! Oh why isn’t that look prized today instead of the rail thin look?? Also note her hair piece at the back of her head. It would have been a two pronged fork that was used to secure a twist of hair and the decorative piece was proudly shown off. These were often carved from tortoise shell, but early plastics and rubber were sometimes used.

Klapper was the photographer, located at the southeast corner of 75th Street and First Avenue, New York. I haven’t been able to find anything on him, however there is a Dr. Klapper currently in practice in New York. :-)


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike Brubaker
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 17:09:13

    She looks uncomfortable. A new corset? And I like how the ornate rattan furniture mimics the shape and styles of the dress.


  2. usermattw
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 19:02:46

    I think these sleeves can look stately and elegant, but they make this woman look like a linebacker, poor thing. That’s interesting that they are a multi-part element to the dress, I didn’t know that. And I knew that a softer look was more fashionable at one time, but I’m amazed that your grandmother was encouraged to drink a cup of cream each day! Amazed, and a little jealous, frankly. :-)


  3. Trackback: Big sleeves & mangy fur « Who Were They?
  4. Milan Kofol
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 12:04:49

    I have a formal wedding photograph done in the Klapper studio
    of my grandmother and grandfather with two witnesses in July 1915. It is in the same style and color.

    Milan Kofol


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