20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Blue and Green in 1913

Last week’s striped 1680s frock did very well indeed, with most of you loving it.  It rated an impressive round 9 out of 10, missing out on a perfect score because of her awkward headscarf (hey a girl’s got to keep her hair tidy in the wind!) and the fringing.  I’m clearly not the only one who doesn’t like fringe.

I have no idea what last weeks frock has to do with this weeks frock.  I could get really convoluted and say something about from stripes to dots, or your liking the classic ‘go together’ red, white, and blue, but what do you think of the classic no-no of blue and green etc, etc.  In reality though, I wanted to post the 17th century dress, and now I want to post this one.  That is it.

But now that I’ve mentioned it, this week’s dress is indeed in blue and green.  Clearly Jeanne Hallee and the wearer didn’t think that the colours needed ‘something in between’, or the wearer wasn’t afraid to be a fool, or felt that her blue flower nullified the clause about only fools and flowers wearing blue and green.*

Evening gown, Jeanne Hallee, 1913-1914, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Whatever the case, this dress is most definitely petrol blue and grass green, and proudly so!  How do you feel about it?  Bad colours?  Good colours but bad design?  Meh?

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10

* And yes, I’m aware the phrase probably dates to the 30s and 40s, but I can’t find out anything more about it, so if you know any reliable sources, please tell!

38 Comments

  1. 10!

    LOVE IT.

    My two favorite colors! I don’t hesitate to wear green and blue together….. so I guess I am a fool! LOL
    And it is such a pretty style! I love the little dots.

  2. LOVE the dress, except for the beige lace camisole, which should have been either a slighter lighter blue or green

  3. Daniel says

    Love this era!! The colour combination is pretty unusual but I think I like it – then again I’m not sure. But I think it is a beautiful gown, love the silhouette and the cut. I think the con with this is that the green is a beautiful green, and the blue is just a touch drab, but I can’t imagine it would work as well if the blue was more cornflower or sky…

    9/10, I was going “Five, six, seven, eight, yes, definitely eight, eight and a half, nine…” and then stalled at nine, so 9/10 it is.

  4. Mercy says

    9/10 love the colours (except the pinky-beige), love the shape

  5. Elise says

    You know, I actually spent some time thinking–usually I just start and go. There are so many elements that I like: I love the patterned velvet, and I love the blue and green together. I love the shape. But I just don’t like the ecru at the bust. And a pet peeve of mine are clothes that are centered and one part, and off to the side in another part. The top and bottom are separately beautiful, but just don’t work together. But oh! The colors! I hope that a dark-haired lady wore this! 7/10

  6. Liz says

    Love the blue & green! I don’t like the cream lace insert, but the rest of the dress is gorgeous. I’ll have to save this one as inspiration for the titanic dinner at Dress U next year.

  7. Elizabeth says

    10!!! There is NOTHING that I do not absolutely LOVE about this dress!

  8. Zach says

    You know, I am a lover of late edwardian gowns…I love just about every one of them. When I was reading the first few paraghraphs, all I saw was the top portion of the gown, which is divine! Unfortunately, I scrolled down and saw the horrid mix of colors they used. All of the fabric they used was lovely, and the green would have been lovely on something else or in another shade of blue. The colors just don’t look good together to me…. The silhouette is indeed lovely. The green beads even look pretty on that dress, but that green fabric adds too much of the color to the dress. The flower is also kind of ugly. If it had been a partially closed or in the shape of a rose, it would have been better.

    Seven and a half out of ten.

  9. I don’t think the blue and green colour scheme is a problem at all, in fact I think it’s rather beautiful. The only thing I don’t like is that the green fabric almost looks like crocodile skin. Might be a bad photo, but as it’s all I have to go on it’s going to affect my score. On the other hand, I love the bodice and the silhouette is great. I’d give it a seven-and-a-half.

  10. I like it. the colors aren’t all that great, though…maybe I’m just enamoured with teens right now…I give it a 7

  11. Tamsin says

    Mmm… I’m undecided on the colour combination, but it certainly doesn’t repel me. I love the style, so this one is 9/10 for me.

  12. I would love to love it, but no, I can’t. I love blue and green together, and I love these together (or at least the way I see them on my monitor). But I don’t like the lace insert, I don’t like the flower (rather the execution than the idea) and don’t like the shape of the skirt.
    But I think the worst part is the beading – it’s completely throwing the balance off, and when I imagine it without it, it’s much better.
    So I think that’s an 8 without the beading and a 5 with it…

  13. Stella says

    Love, love, love it. Especially the skirt draping. 10/10

  14. I’m torn on this one. The silhouette is stunning, and the drape of the skirt is gorgeous. I don’t have a problem with green and blue together, and this green and this blue certainly don’t swear at each other… and yet I think I’d like the dress better if the green part of the skirt had been blue instead. Maybe it’s because it’s asymmetrical, and the extreme colour difference makes that even more obvious? Hmmm. Anyway, I’d still give it 9 out of 10, because the lines of the dress are just about perfect, and I don’t *mind* the green/blue combination.

  15. I think it’s gorgeous. With the multiple layers and the blue/green combination it remids me of peacock feathers or butterfly wings. Even the flower is well placed and not out of proportion 10/10

  16. dawn s says

    10. I love everything about it and would wear it today. Colors are great and so is the design. I never heard you can’t mix blues and greens and I do it all the time.

  17. dawn s says

    Yes, peacock feathers are the perfect example of the loveliness of the blue green combination!

  18. Totally wrong time period, but it makes me think of Emily of New Moon. I love it. I even love the nougat camisole, it picks up the gold in the lowest layer of blue.

    10 out of 10

    • Not actually totally the wrong time period. Emily of New Moon wasn’t written until the 1920s, and LM Montgomery always kept the timeperiod intentionally vague. So Emily could be imagined as a woman in the early teens!

  19. Oooooh. I like this one. I don’t necessarily love the flower, but I don’t hate it. It is ok for a giant flower. And I agree with an earlier comment about the lace – a pale blue or green could have tied the whole thing together a bit better for me, but I love the draping on the fabric, and I do like these colors together. Overall I really like it.

    8/10

  20. Libby says

    I think that the blue and green look great together! Of course, I am a fan of peacocks and the Edwardian period, so this is right up my alley. 9.5, it’s not a 10 because I think there are too many textures.

  21. Alexandra says

    Love everything about it, except the way it is displayed. Was the original owner really so tall they couldn’t display it without so much fabric pooled on the floor?

    9/10

    • The pooling fabric looks weird, but is probably period accurate Alexandra. Quite a few of the fanciest reception dresses from that period were worn well past floor length, to give the impression of floating, and to evoke statues of the ancient Greeks. It also to emphasized how wealth the wearer was: “look, I’m so rich I don’t even need to be able to walk properly!”. This can be verified by checking the wear and dirt patterns on the extent dresses. The things people do for fashion!

      My laurel dress, and the dress it is based on, both trail on the grown intentionally.

  22. I LOVE it. I really do. Especially the colors. I imagine this worn by a woman who WORE her clothes, you know? And I think she’d need to have dark hair. And killer posture.

    One complaint–the beige lace could have coordinated better. A pale blue or a notch less beige and a notch more ivory would have done it for me.

    It reminds me of a mermaid–in a good way. I would make a revised version of this gown for modern formal wear. Maybe I will…

    9 out of 10 🙂

  23. I think the use of a blue and a green of such similar colour value is really interesting. Very low contrast as a result – all the contrast is in the textures. I really like that! And normally I would also not go for a side split with a centred front like that, but somehow the lines all line up, helped by that flower, and they work for me. Also, the yellow touch in the centre of the flower seems to help gel the different colours. On a real, flesh coloured person, the underbodice would probably disappear a lot more. I like that it allows the lines of the blue chiffon to lead the eye.
    I pretty much love most dresses from this era so I am going to be predisposed to one so classic in its lines. I can imagine it in burgundy and red, or burnt orange and looking fab too.
    I love the experimental and slightly risk taking use of an unconventional colour combination, the bold lines and use of textures. The only thing I wish the designer had resisted was all over beading the bodice in straight lines. It doesn’t quite gel with the flowing aesthete of the rest and a more random effect I feel would have been more perfect. So, 9.5/10.

  24. I adore this gown. I like that the color palette is a little different than we’re used to. And almost “zany” effect, but still tasteful and elegant. The cut is divine.

    9.7/10

  25. Maire Smith says

    *Love* the blue and green, but the beige brings it down to 7/10.

  26. Caroline says

    Wow! I love this period and I love this dress! I like each color individually but they work well together here. I love the silhouette especially. Only I don’t like the added lace front. 9/10

  27. 10. Hands down. I love Blue and Green together. Here the saying is “blue and green must never be seen” (together). I’m dying to make a blue and green dress… I bet I could shorten this and adapt it to a summer work dress…

    • Other options to the saying are “Blue and green must never be seen / without another colour in between” or “Blue and green must never be seen, except on fools and flowers”

      Apparently in parts of the UK they say “Red and green must never be seen / except upon the Irish queen”

  28. MissTinaBunni says

    I based my wedding dress very closely on this. Green velvet over beige velvet with gathered flower and draped accent in blue sari weight silk. So obviously, I love it. Yes it was a 1913 theme wedding with peacocks on the invitations.

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