A tea gown worn by Martha Louise Black. A tea gown was a dress worn at home during the afternoons during high tea or for receiving guests in one's parlour. At the turn of the century, afternoon teas were mostly attended by family and close friends, the hostess often wore an uncorseted gown for the event. For first time in centuries this was an accepted form of dress. According to etiquette of the time these dresses were worn outside of the boudoir to dine with family or for informal tea, but full dress was expected in the evening. It was also stated that the dresses should never have been worn outside.
The regiment of clothing was probably less ridged in the Yukon simply due to the Yukon's informal nature and the limited accessibly to clothing in general. In fact, the sheer fashionability of the women of the Yukon is quite surprising. Since some women had the wherewithal to purchase such gowns, quite a few women had the latest fashions from France and England shipped to the North. Martha Black was quite worldly and such a tea gown would have been used readily in many social engagements. This tea gown dates from between 1912 and 1914. The fine details of beading and embroidery were typical of the extravagance of the affluent ladies of the afternoon tea entertaining era.
MacBride Museum of Yukon History, Whitehorse