The stomacher was a necessary element of a woman’s daily wardrobe in the eighteenth century. Often elaborately decorated with embroidery, ribbon bows, and metal threads, the triangular shaped accessory covered the open front of the robe à la française. As the fundamental style of dress during this period, these gowns were characterized by their front opening and pair of box pleats falling down the back. The stomacher was pinned into the dress with each wear and, because it was removable, could be used to adorn multiple dresses in a woman’s wardrobe.

This stomacher is embroidered in a floral motif with a silver-wrapped silk thread. The raised effect is achieved by working the metal threads over pieces of paperboard stuffing. The linen substrate is reinforced with a paper backing, which may have helped it withstand repeated use. The silver threads would have enhanced the wearer’s beauty by catching the light, while also demonstrating her wealth.

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