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Date: 1923

Material: pongee silk, lace, shell buttons



Label: none

Textured pink pongee silk envelope chemise with ecru lace at bust and hem.  Flap closure with two shell buttons at center from and back of garment.  Side dart sand pleats to give garment fullness at the hips.  Silk ribbon straps and bow at bust.


Bust: 33 inches

Waist: 34 inches

Hips: 35.5 inches

Length: 25 (not including straps)

Strap height: 7.5 inches

More Information: First appearing in 1917, the envelope chemise gained several names throughout the era, including cami-knickers and step-ins. The small placard between the legs differentiates this garment from a slip or chemise, and could be worn either under or over a corset.

Mary Brooks Picken, fashion professor at Columbia, founder of the Women’s Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, and one of five founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, wrote in Dress and Look Slender, 1924, that “Combination suits. . . are suggested for slenderness. . . . For without smooth, perfect fitting underwear, your outer garments cannot possibly give you that appearance of sylph-like slenderness which is your goal.” Picken also stated something similar in Underwear and Lingerie, 1925, further emphasizing slenderness and the use of cami-knickers: “The manner in which a combination is cut makes it possible to obtain a very slender effect through the upper portion with a flare or fulness below it. This undergarment is therefore a wise choice for the woman inclined to stoutness.”

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