enter image description here

This is a painting by John Singer Sargent. What are those things called, hanging down from the little girl's chest? They're not ribbons, they're ... ?


'Garniture'. Decorative pieces of fabric or lace, ribbons, cord, ruffles and bows carefully arranged on the blouse and skirt. a special part of the garniture is the drapery on bustle skirts. In the 1870s to 80s, garniture was almost exclusively on the skirt, then on both, and in the early 20th century only on the blouse. The garniture is the most important part of late 19th century dress and absolutely typical of the era. (from: http://www.marquise.de/en/1800/glossar.shtml)

And from the Oxford English Dictionary:

garniture garniture
[a. F. garniture (f. garnir vb.), which occurs in most of the senses of the Eng. word.]

  1. Ornament, trimming, etc., added to dress.
    1667 Dryden Maiden Queen v. i. A man of garniture and feather is above the dispensation of the sword. 1684 J. Lacy Sir H. Buffoon ii. ii, My French garniture, a pox on 'em, is not yet arrived from Paris. 1706 Phillips (ed. Kersey), Garniture, the trimming of a Suit with Ribbons, precious Stones, &c. as a Garniture of Diamonds. 1710 Steele Tatler No. 116 ⁋7 Stomachers, Caps, Facings of my Wastcoat-Sleeves, and other Garnitures suitable to my Age and Quality. 1753 Hanway Trav. (1762) I. vii. xcv. 437 A garniture of saphirs, as buttons, sword, star, watch, snuff-box, &c. 1840 Dickens Old C. Shop xxviii, A military surtout..which had once been frogged and braided all over, but was now sadly shorn of its garniture. 1897 Globe 18 Feb. 6/3 At the wrists the sleeves..are finished with a two-inch garniture of violets.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.