Fashion - Walking Dress

The 19th century was a time of great change in women's fashion. The century began with high waistlines and straight skirts, and by the 1850s, the style had evolved into a more natural waistline and full skirt. Adelicia Acklen's clothing choices showcase the most fashionable trends from Europe and North America during that time. Follow Belmont Mansion as we embark on a nine part series showcasing the dresses, jewelry, and fashion choices of Adelicia Acklen.

Here Adelicia is wearing a Walking or Visiting dress around 1866. This is a dress she would have worn while out and about during the day, whether visiting a friend or shopping. This photograph displays one of the best examples of Adelicia’s adhesion to the latest trends. During the mid 1860’s, emphasis on the skirt began shift to the back of the dress using more fabric, embellishments, bustling, and trains. This photograph features each of these slight changes in silhouette in the gathering of fabric at the back and the use of embroidered folds of fabric just visible from the angle of the photograph. Adelicia’s wealth can also be perceived from examining both her and her daughters dress. The extensive use of embroidered ribbon and fringe embellishments would be both fashionable and expensive. The more embellishments, the higher the cost of the materials and the labor it took to make the dress. Having a skirt that was trimmed in four layers of embroidered ribbon would have not only been impressionable, but would have also displayed her wealth.

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GPS ADDRESS

Belmont Blvd & Acklen Avenue 

Nashville, TN 37212

MAILING ADDRESS

1900 Belmont Blvd

Nashville, TN 37212

615-460-5459

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The architecture of Belmont Mansion makes it one of the most significant homes of 19th century Tennessee.

Sold by the Acklen family in 1887, the house went to a developer who began one of Nashville’s early suburbs.

It was then purchased by two women who in 1890 started a college which evolved into Belmont University. Today the Belmont Mansion Association, which was formed in 1972, owns the collection, runs the museum, and shares this unique story of 19th century Nashville with visitors from far and near.

Photos by Ed Houk