The Halloween run-up purple and black dress from last week was very divisive. You either loved the dress, or hated it. One thing you did agree on though: the fringe was not good. Perhaps my anti-fringe stance has influenced all of you after all! The pro-black and purple-ites won a slight victory, bringing the rating in at 6.7 out of 10
Last week I gave a taste of the season, and I promised a proper Halloween Rate the Dress for this week, but when I came to pick something, I realised what a mistake my promise was! How was I ever to live up to last year’s Victorian Batgirl? How was I ever to find something else that was said ‘Halloween’ so clearly, that was from a different period (because the whole point is variety), and that wasn’t so historical that the costume would make no sense from a modern perspective.
So I thought about the timeless trends in costuming: things that make Halloween costumes Halloween costumes, and it boiled down to three things: scary, sexy and cross-dressing. Last year we covered scary and sexy, so this year we’ll look at the one that is left: crossdressing.
With a little sexy thrown in.
Yep, crossdressing goes back a long time, and even happened in those periods that we think of as very prudish, like the early Victorians. Here is a suggestion for fancy dress from August 1830:
We are going to ignore the woman in crazy ethnic peasant dress on the right, and focus on her companion on the left. Let’s take a closer look:
Yep. That’s definitely a woman. In man’s clothes. In fact, I think she is supposed to be a soldier. The saucily tilted tricorn hat, frogged vest, blue jacket, white pantaloons, and red sash certainly give that impression. Among others.
So, does everyone love a girl in uniform? Or is sexy cross-dressing tacky and unattractive in any era?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
ETA: As people are having trouble seeing the soldier uniform, here are a few examples that might help you visualise it:
An illustration of French gendarme uniforms in 1830:
A 1940s costume from the Powerhouse. 100 years, and still very similar!
And check out this page of French military uniforms