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Wealthy subjects had many fashionable ensembles to choose from, whereas ordinary working-class ancestors usually donned their best outfit, kept for church on Sundays and special occasions.

Everyone wished to create a good impression in the treasured photographs that would later be shown to family and friends and might be displayed in an album, or hung on the wall.

Buttons as a design element were popular in the early 20th century.

Here they appear as ornamentation to highlight the placket leading from the collar as well as the center seam of the dress.

Family historians often wonder whether their poorer forebears would have been able to dress very fashionably.