19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Doucet’s striking stripes

Based on the lack of rating, most of you were rather meh about last week’s Dance Off frocks (or meh about the idea), though the reaction from those who did rate them was reasonably positive.  Those of you who didn’t like the second dress disliked it’s sleeves, and those of you who did like it, felt that the woman wearing it ‘owned it’.  The first lady fared the tiniest bit better, just beating out her rival with a score of 7.4 out of 10 vs 7 out of 10 for the second.

In honour of the HSF Black & White theme, this week’s Rate the Dress is black and white (in fact, it’s one that I featured as inspiration for the challenge).

This Doucet evening gown features bold, graphic black and white (well, ivory) stripes.  One stripe pattern forms chevrons on the skirt, while another accentuates the curves of the bodice.  The face is framed with a wide collar in a balanced stripe.

Evening Dress, Jacques Doucet, 1890s, The Mint Museum

Evening Dress, Jacques Doucet, 1890s, The Mint Museum

The Mint Museum chose to pair the gown with black lace gloves, a black reticule, a fur wrap, a detailed choker necklace, and an aigret in the hair.  Personally, I rather hope the dress was worn with shoes like these!

What do you think?  I’ve only ever featured one other Doucet dress on Rate the Dress, and it didn’t fare too well.  This one is similarly daring and avant garde – strikingly simple for the 1890s in its lack of ornamentation, and rather mad in the usage of different kind of stripes.  Will it be too odd?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10


  1. Ten! I love black & white, I love stripes, and I think they’ve accessorized this dress very well.

  2. i like the color and the stripes idea, (and the accesories are to die for) but i’m not a huge fan of the way the stripes make big, almost strange looking, inverted Vs on the front skirt seam. i feel like the over all design i wonderful, but that just takes away from it. I give it a 5.

  3. I really like the drama of the skirt and the bodice itself, but I don’t care for the stripes of the collar and sleeves. I think I would have preferred a wide-narrow combo again. The accessories are splendid!

    8 of 10

  4. Too much for me. I love the skirt, but I don’t think the stripes continue in a harmonic way up the bodice. 4 from me.

  5. Evey says

    I rarely vote, but this happens to be one of my all time favorite dresses. Totally mad for its time (in the best way), and I am always astonished to imagine piecing together all those stripes. Oh, the swoon-y-ness. 10/10

  6. My first rate. Usually I love the black-and-whites of the late 19th century but in this skirt there’s too much drama – I would have preferred to see the same stripes as in the bodice: more elegant, less blatant. 6/10

  7. Tenshi says

    Simply stunning! From the perfect matching of the stripes over their clever use to the bold contrast of the colours, this is perfection, pure and simple. And I love the choker!

  8. 9/10
    I love black and white, and stripes, and I REALLY love black and whites stripes, hehe!
    But there is something about this dress that prevents me from giving it a total 10, not sure what, though.

  9. I love the black and white dresses of this era – but not this skirt: too blatant, not enough elegance. 6/10

  10. It sort of looks like a prisoner escaped and made a dress… I like the skirt stripes but the sleeves and collar are foolish. 3/10 if worn alone (5/10 if worn with the shoes…). 🙂


  11. mom says

    This is easy. 10/10
    A perfect dress, thank you for showcasing it on your blog!

  12. Love the bodice (with its arrangement of stripes), dislike the skirt (the chevron effect is too costumey for me). So a 7.

  13. I like it, but think it is JUST a little too unsubtle. The stripes are VERY wide and it almost looks cartoonish. Like it was meant to be read from a mile away. I LIKE it, I hasten to emphasise, but I feel like I need to make a big deal out of the fact I like it, so something’s not quite right there. I’m not totally sold on the accessories. The simplicity is amazing, and I love the boldness. 8/10. Something’s bothering me, and always kinda has, about this dress, but I can’t put my finger on what it is AT ALL….

  14. That’s a lot of stripes. A lot of stripes. They’re kind of overwhelming me with the stripes right now. So because it’s just SO stripey, I’m gonna give it a 5/10, though with the shoes I’d bump it up a point just for sheer audacity.

  15. Love. If I were someone who could get away with wearing such dresses, I would only raise the front neckline a pinch and wear it.

    9.5, just because of the pinch.

  16. I love it, although I don’t know that I could pull it off myself.
    Perhaps accessories in a carefully chosen red would give it a bit more je-ne-sais-quoi?
    A 9 nonetheless.

  17. Sue Millerf says

    I love the dress, but think the collar should be black velvet as the different directions of the stripes is very overpowering. For that reason, 8/10

    • Oooh, Sue, that’s a great idea! I think a black velvet collar on the bodice would improve the dress greatly! Then you either use the same striping on the skirt as on the bodice, or you give it a black skirt with much, much *narrower* stripes, almost pin stripes. I wouldn’t mind a black skirt, either, but that could be kind of boring. 🙂

  18. Kathy says

    I love it – a 9. The other Doucet dress was boring. This one is eye-catching! If the accessories had also been B&W, it would have been too much.

  19. I like it, but I don’t love it. It sort of feels like something Tim Burton would use in a period piece. It just feels a bit too costume-y.


  20. I absolutely love that dress. I even saved the picture in my inspirations folder so I can try to recreate something similar.

  21. I love this. It’s largely due to loving black/white stripes in Victorian garments, but it’s a perfect example. And I share your hope for the shoes, those are brilliant!
    Because I’d have loved it even more if the whole dress had the stripes as on the bodice, 8.5/10

  22. Helene Illervik says

    I love it! I want it!
    I really like how the stripes change directions, and how they accent the shape of the bodice.
    A 10+ for this!

  23. WitchArachne says

    Yup. That’s gorge. I’d wear that now. It’s the perfect level of out-there.
    I love those big wide Vs down the skirt, and I love how the stripe pattern sort of continues up the dress, but isn’t the same.
    That deep, wide necklane is stunning, although I think I’d prefer it without the sleeves, or with bigger, wider sleeves.
    I’m thinking a 9 is in order.

  24. Not for the faint of heart. It is a statement dress for sure. I like it. I’d wear it. 9/10. It loses a point because I’m not sure I’d try to make one like it.

  25. fidelio says


    I do wish, as some others have, that they’d used the same stripe pattern on the sleeves and bodice as one the skirt–I can see that those might have been a bit wide for the area they were working in, and, notbeing able to find narrower stripes with the same wide-and-narrow effect, they went with the next best thing.

    This is the sort of dress you wear for half-mourning after great-great-aunt Eloise dies, finally, after all these years–it wouldn’t do not to go into black gloves after all, but she was older than sin, didn’t go out in Society, had outlived her contemporaries, and didn’t leave you anything but (speaking of sin!) those rubies, and did anyone believe that story about the Grand Duke?

    • In my opinion, this is the sort of dress you wear for half-mourning your great-great-aunt Eloise–if you never liked Great Aunt Eloise in the first place. That’s because the colors are right for half-mourning, but Eloise would have thought the stripes vulgar and detested them–but she can’t say anything about them now because she’s dead!

  26. Claire says

    Very nice indeed. 9 out 10 from me. I love the stripes, the way they create such a wonderful effect and I love the style but I will take off a point because of the black. (Sorry – nothing against this dress but I am so fed up of the ‘usual sea of black clothing’ in kiwi stores that I have come to loathe black and haven’t bought a piece of black clothing in over 3 years).

  27. Miss Sis says

    Love the chevron striped skirt, totally hate the bodice. They don’t go together AT ALL and the stripe arrangement of the bodice just jars terribly to my eye. I also don’t like the sleeves, they are neither here nor there as far as balancing the rest of the design shape.
    4/10, only because I love stripes and chevrons.

    • In my opinion, this is the sort of dress you wear for half-mourning your great-great-aunt Eloise–if you never liked Great Aunt Eloise in the first place. That’s because the colors are right for half-mourning, but Eloise would have thought the stripes vulgar and detested them–but she can’t say anything about them now because she’s dead!

  28. holly says

    It’s a scroll down fug. Starts promisingly, but the further I got, the less I liked it. Perhaps I’d have been on board if it had been only the upper stripe pattern all over.


  29. karenb says

    I like the bodice but not so much the skirt.too much stripe.
    love the shoes you put a link to….perfect shoes.
    7/10 and if we were rating the shoes you chose…10/10

  30. Lene says

    It’s a shame, that the white of the top does not quite match the white of the skirt. If they both were cream or both ivory, it would look a lot better.

    As it is, the mismatch annoys me, so I deduct 1 point for that.

    However I do like the many different types of stripes.

    All in all:

    • Well, in its defense, the colour change may very well be the effect of time, not something that was present in the original garment.

  31. Tracy says

    I love the silhouette but wish the entire dress had used the wide/narrow fabric. I find it distracting that the bodice and collar are a different stripe. 8/10

  32. I like it, not least because I have a black and white/cream skirt without a matching top and now I can consider non-matching stripes for it 🙂

    It is very bold and dramatic, I think I’ll give it a 9.

  33. mom says

    This must be one of the contenders for Most-Loved Dress on this blog, I don’t remember having read so many enthusiastic comments before. Wow…really a stunning dress.

  34. Brenda says

    I ALMOST like the dress but the chevron stripes of the skirt and the straight stripes of the bodice don’t go well at all, IMO. It’s almost like they are two different dresses. The accessories with all the details, however, are nicely brought out by the simplicity of the bold stripes.


  35. Lynne says

    The shape is beautiful, and I love the shawl collar. But one would have to really fight not to be swamped by the stripes! The skirt is a bit too much for me.

    If we had twenty of these, we could stage a big musical production number.

    6 out of 10.

  36. A friend wrote to me about the dress: “It looks like lawn furniture. Too many stripes going in too many directions! Dresses like that drove the impressionists outside,” all of which is true. My impressions exactly.

    A 3 because of bodice shaping and probably good intent.

  37. Shadytail says

    What a striking dress! I want to wear its New Look equivalent. It’s almost perfect (but not quite).

    9.5 out of 10

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