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John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
Miss Cara Burch, ca. 1888
Oil on canvas
Charles F. Smith Fund - 1942.02

White dresses were ubiquitous for young girls during the last decades of the nineteenth century. White symbolized youth and purity. It was also an indicator of high social standing, as the maintenance of an abundance of white clothing required household help. This blouse-style dress worn by Cara Burch has a low, loose waist accented with a self-fabric belt that ties in the back. The long sleeves are capped with a puff, and the dress has a wide yoke trimmed with an eyelet ruffle. The high neck also has an eyelet ruffle. The blouse or yoked form of dress was worn mainly by girls up to the age of ten.