French Robe à la polonaise, ca. 1778-1780
More surviving eighteenth-century costumes have been altered several times. Ladies updated their dresses, then passed them on to relatives or servants, who made further changes to adjust the size. There was also a thriving second-hand clothes market. This winged polonaise is so small that it must have been worn by a girl of no more than fourteen. The dress’s small size and the radical fashion change in the last decade of the eighteenth century helped to preserve it from alterations or subsequent wear for fancy dress.
source: MET Museum