Market Lavington Museum

A Charleston dress

Named after a town in South Carolina and popularised in the 1923 ‘Runnin’ Wild’ show, the Charleston dance epitomised the mid 1920s. It had a simple rhythm charleston and exuberant leg movements, requiring suitable clothing. A dress that was not too long and had a wide skirt was ideal.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have such a garment.

charleston dress 3

Made of blue chiffon, with a swirling pattern and uneven hem length, it does not look too special when hanging from a coat hanger. However, the circular skirt is very full and well suited to accommodating the energetic, kicking steps of the dance.

charleston dress 2

We are lucky that such a flimsy garment has been preserved and can represent its era after almost a century.