By the late 1770s, the sack-back gown, of which this is an example, was reserved for formal evening or Court dress. The shape of the petticoat, requiring a wide square hoop, also indicates the formality of the ensemble. An arc of precise, wedge-shaped pleats illustrates how the gown was shaped to fit over such a hoop.
The plain fabric and restrained decoration are typical of the late 1770s. Broad and narrow strips of the white silk satin have been edged with silk fringe, gathered and applied to the gown in undulating lines. The fringe is made of looped and knotted floss silk and chenille thread. Lengths of this fringe form tassels which hang from the gown and would have swung and danced as the wearer moved.