This ensemble characterises fashionable evening wear for women in the late 1870s. The elbow-length sleeves and square neckline show that it was probably a dinner dress rather than ball gown. Tiers of machine-made lace adorn the skirt and bodice; an overskirt of satin swathes the front of the dress. The bodice extends into a point below the waistline in front and back. This was a new style, known as a ‘cuirasse’ bodice, which appeared in fashion magazines about 1875 and remained fashionable through the 1880s.