This particular type of spectacle was called a pince nez – literally nose pinch. There are no side arms or temples to hold the lenses on the ears, and the glasses rely on being balanced on the bridge of the nose. They have a little spring to them so they can pinch the nose. You can see a delicate chain that trails from the frame of the glasses behind the ear, and then there’s a length of chain the dangles to the blouse.
The blouse is lovely – the decoration could be couching, which is a way of stitching a flexible fiber into place in a pattern, or it could be the decoration is tacked into place or simply sown on with what were probably microscopic stitches made by hand. This blouse has quite a lot of the trim, however it was applied. It goes across the shoulders as well, and possibly down the sleeves.
The subject is also wearing a necklace, a separate bow tie which looks buttoned in place, and there is a collar made of lace. That’s a lot going on for one blouse!
The hair style is tricky for me. It could be a young ladies version of a Gibson girl fashion – note there appears to be a bow in the back – or this could be a later Edwardian era hair style.
The photo itself was cut out of its original form. It looks a lot like a cabinet card in its finish, but I can discern a layer of black or dark colored paper under the photograph, which could be from a 20th century mounting card. The back of the card is not buffed, which was common on cabinet cards. So I’m taking a wild guess at early 20th century.
This image is part of the larger Anspoch collection.