I've never done two One Shot posts in a row. This object, when it came to my notice, made me stop still. When we look at something like this we are not simply seeing a garment from another time. We are getting a window into the way people thought and felt about themselves, and the world they inhabited. We get a glimpse, albeit through our own lens in the 21st century, of the world they themselves existed in. We get a sense, from a remove, of the rules, restrictions, and also allowances that a certain time permitted.
Made in 1856 in France, this dress is entirely of silk, with some simple netting lace, and narrow guimp to finish the trimmings. Dresses of this sort, with two bodices were quite common. It was a practical solution, especially considering the amount of space a dress would take up in storage. A lady could go from day to evening with the same ensemble, and it would take up far less space than two complete dresses.
So take a good long look through this particular window, and think about what it might have been like in 1865.