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Were Parasol Pockets for real???

Bustle Dress with Parasol Pocket

Bustle Day Dress with Parasol Pocket - 1870’s – 3 piece silk daydress - Carmel with small brown stripe

Trim is of self fabric, cut on the bias. The silhouette emphasis is on the back of the skirt. Features ruching, flouncing and various embellishments in the form of bows, ruffles and more ruching.

The overskirt features a Parasol pocket. There doesn’t seem to be any actual written proof the pocket is met to actually hold a parasol. Bustle era clothing had many strange shaped places to hold ones “stuff” and its possible the name Parasol pocket was created as a way to describe the larger pocket. You mostly see “parasol” pockets on day dresses during the middle bustle period 1870’s. Although the idea is lovely, it is only practical on the strongest and sturdiest of fabrics.

The dress below is part of my collection; you can see quite plainly the Parasol Pocket. The dress itself is made of a very lightweight silk. The pocket has been fastened to the dress by hand stitches along each edge. I don’t see any evidence of anything thing of weight being carried in the pocket, so I would guess it was created for purely esthetic purposes.


Later on in the century, you started to see ball gowns equipped with a Fan pocket. That would make more sense as the fashionable late Victorian fan was light weight, but very large. It would be akward to manage such an item and a fan pocket would be a perfect spot to store ones fan until needed.

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