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Word Count: 848
In the early 1900s clothes were a status symbol Fashion was more important than comfort Fashionable ladies enjoyed the grand occasions surrounding the federation of Australian colonies and later the openings of new federal parliament in Melbourne where royalty was going to be in attendance Society matrons were lucky that the extravagant magnificent dresses of the Edwardian era coincided with Australians own premier events Women liked to have a pinched waist a big bust with no cleavage showing as this was considered vulgar and a big rear end This S shaped silhouette was extremely uncomfortable The skirt fitted tightly over the waist and down to the knees and then in a wave like line showing the petticoat The only problem with these skirts was that when walking down the street the bottom of the dress would pick up rubbish as it dragged along the ground Ladies added volume to their hair by wearing pads called rats to attract even more attention If that failed fake hair was added The most important accessory of all was the hat which was decorated with feathers ribbons and sometimes even stuffed birds of small animals and all this was topped with a large hat pin Ladies wore high-heeled shoes which were pointed and peeped out from beneath the skirt Fashion colours were moving from the bright strong Victorian colours into much more pale colours such as whites mauves and light blues Also the fabrics changed to delicate filmy silks cashmeres tussore and faille Nellie Stewart an Australian actress was reported to be wearing these new fabrics and colours to the Melbourne races Elaborate jewels provided additional glamour The tea gown a loose trailing garment of chiffon or lace was slipped on around 500 pm and the woman could finally enjoy the relief of loosening her stays
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