Närbild på klänning
Photo: Jens Mohr, Hallwyl museum/SHM.
The exhibition is shown October 13th-Januari 28th, 2024

Dressed for dinner

This autumn and winter, the opportunity is given to see how a dinner party was held at the Hallwyl Palace, where social life and dinner parties took center stage. Explore dinner attire from the 1890s to the 1930s, where suits, dresses, and the ceremonial attire of the servants are exhibited.

Winter in the city

Around the turn of the 20th century, the upper class in the city would gather during the winter months after spending the summer on country estates or traveling. The winter season was devoted to social life. In the Hallwyl household, three formal dinner parties were held each year, often in the month of February with a day or two in between.

Photo: Helena Bonnevier, Hallwyl museum/SHM.

It runs in the family

The choice of attire was associated with etiquette and unspoken rules. Men's clothing was meant to convey seriousness and rationality, resulting in practical and understated fashion in muted color palettes. During the daytime, they would wear a shirt, a simpler vest, and a jacket or bonjour, while for dinner and formal occasions, they would opt for a tuxedo or a tailcoat. Women's fashion, on the other hand, exhibited even more variation throughout the day. Daytime garments featured high necklines and long sleeves, while evening attire often had sleeveless designs and décolletage, reflecting the formality and elegance of the occasion.

Photo: Ola Myrin, Hallwyl museum/SHM.

Grand dinner parties

Even though the von Hallwyl couple didn't host many parties each year, they made sure that every occasion was of a high quality, reflecting their social status. At larger gatherings, guests were welcomed by an canopy placed outside the gate to show the host couple's importance. The canopy was so big that it required a couple of police officers to manage the traffic. The colors of the canopy matched the family's coat of arms, which were yellow and black. The same colors were also seen in the clothing of the servants, who moved among the guests and shaped the image of the hosts social standing.

Photo: Helena Bonnevier, Hallwyl museum/SHM.


Everyone in the household had a role to play when preparing for a dinner party. The lady of the house was responsible for the guest list and seating arrangements. Printed invitations were ordered and sent out. The menu was decided by the lady of the house in consultation with the cook, while the maid cleaned and set the table. The footman brought out tableware and gilt bronze table decorations to embellish the dining table.

In addition to arranging tablecloths and napkins, the lady's maid prepared clothes for Wilhelmina. Walter's attire was prepared by the valet. Both of them were expected to provide expertise on etiquette and appropriate clothing choices.

Welcome to the palace

Dressed for Dinner will be on display until Sunday, January 28, 2024. The entrance ticket costs 120 Swedish kronor for adults and includes a visit to the exhibition. It's free for children and young people up to 18 years old to visit the exhibition.

Plan your visit

  • Wardrobe: It is not allowed to bring jackets or bags into the museum. There are lockers in the museum entrance.
  • Food and beverages: It is not allowed to bring food and beverages into the museum.
  • Strollers: Due to safety reasons, strollers are not allowed inside the museum. The nearest place to secure strollers is at Norrmalmstorg.

Plan your visit


The Hallwyl Museum has five floors, but unfortunately, no elevator. The only way around the museum is via stairs. The number of steps varies depending on where you want to go in the house. If you want to take a guided tour of the house, it means at least 103 steps up and down.

About accessibility in the palace

What's on this autumn

We invite you to festive programs such as tea salons, ghost tours, and Christmas at the palace. Welcome!

Kvinna som står och tittar på tavlor