The Ladies' Paradise: Artifact Study

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One of the most popular ladies' items sold in department stores was the mantle. This garment, being loose fitting over the shoulders, allowed it to be mass produced to fit nearly everyone with little to no alterations. One such article is present in the University of Rhode Island's Historic Textile and Costume Collection. This mantle, dated 1890-1900, is from Au Bon Marché. It is possible to speculate that the owner travelled to Paris and purchased this garment. Following its expansion in the 1860s, it was quite popular for tourists to visit Bon Marché and other large stores in order to soak in the latest French fashions and bring them home. Ready-made attire was perfect for travellers, for it did not require numerous fittings and a lot of time to acquire.