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Edwardian  • Evening ball Gown

from before 1900 to about 1918 • The hairstyle should help with dating a photograph.

Although Edwardian women were not bound by the same strict rules as their Victorian sisters they still had a reputation to guard.
Ball gowns themselves were extravagent floaty affairs reaching to the floor cut to emphasise a small waist or later the S shape.
Nearly all studio photographs you will see will be of the head and shoulders which for young women was where the main emphasis lay.
A ball or dance was one of the only occasions it was totally acceptable to have a bare neck and shoulders. The neckline could be very low but a small posy of flowers was worn at the lowest point to obscure any view of a cleavage. This fashion even had a name décolletage Rhymes with : barge
These occasions were very important if she was seeking a suitor on the pull.
Any single woman who wanted to attract the attention of an eligible bachelor available single man needed to strike a balance between looking alluring attracting welcome attention and being considered "fast" easy to get or desperate. It is no different for the girls of today.
They had to choose how low to go and what to show.

• Photo taken about 1912   •

Reputation was everything and if she got it wrong, opinion and gossip could destroy a girl's social life.