Silk chiffon day dress

About this object

Emily McCullough was born in India, where her father was a Christian missionary in Calcutta. In the nineteenth century, it was felt that the climate in India was not healthy for European children, so she was brought up in Edinburgh by her aunt and later went to an English boarding school.

Emily trained and worked as a cookery teacher until her marriage. When visiting her uncle in Liverpool, she met her future husband, Philip Tinne, a doctor. He fell in love with her straight away and proposed in May 1910. After a whirlwind romance, they married just two months later in July.

By the time that Emily bought this dress in about 1930, she had been married for nearly twenty years and was in her early forties. When she married, she had been a slim 'size ten'. After giving birth to seven children, she had a more mature figure and this loose dropped-waist dress with its relaxed style suited her well.

At this time, well-off women had outfits for every occasion. Emily would have worn a silk 'day dress' like this, to visit friends or entertain them for lunch in her home.

One of her main activities outside the home was shopping for clothes, which she did every afternoon. She bought loads of clothes, buying several of the same garment in different colours. Some of these even remain in their original packaging, unworn. There is no doubt that between 1910 and 1939 she was what we call today a 'shopaholic'!
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