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Women's pair of knitted cotton mitts

Date: 1900s
Dimensions:
Overall: 450 x 105 mm, 0.03 kg
Medium: Cotton
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Mittens
Object No: V00018339

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    Description
    These white knitted cotton mitts would have originally been worn with a lady's day or walking dress. Seen as less formal than gloves, mitts extended to the elbow and were fingerless. This pair features elaborate geometric patterning.

    The white cotton day dress was a sort of 'uniform' of the ladies of leisure in Australia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Decorated with a white sash and accessorised with veils, hats, mitts and parasols, the white 'sun' dress was worn by women of all ages enjoying fresh air and mild physical exertion, preferably by the sea.
    SignificanceThis pair of white mitts is a rare surviving example of the accessories worn by Edwardian women when visiting the Australian seaside in the early 1900s.
    HistoryBy the early 1900s a thriving tourist industry had become well established around the seaside towns of Australia. The beach had become a place for rest and recreation. Many women took up the fashionable pursuit of promenading along the seashore.

    Wearing the 'uniform' of a white day dress, decorated with a white sash and accessorised with veils, hats and gloves, usually white, to protect precious complexions from the harsh Australian sun, women enjoyed being ladies of leisure. White, cream, or ivory dresses were seen as a symbol of wealth during the Edwardian era. Wearing white or cream-coloured clothing meant you either had a maid at home or you could afford to pay another to wash your clothes.

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