Last week’s 1910s suit had a few serious admirers, but also cropped its fair share of criticism: the colours were quite dull, the collar too frivolous, the cuffs awkwardly sized, the proportions off, the pressing issues too distracting, and the presentation poor. I think you’re going to have to learn to forgive the last two from time to time, as if I only chose perfectly pressed and styled and presented garments, my pool to choose from would be so limited, and my choices so well known, it would quite take the fun out of Rate the Dress! Whether it was the styling or just the cumulative effect of all the little flaws, the suit only managed a 6.8 out of 10 – not terrible, but certainly not stellar.
This week’s dress also comes from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Made of rich, brocaded silk (of plain weave, with supplementary wefts forming the pattern, alas the MFA does not tell us if they are left loose as continuous wefts, or cut short on the back of the fabric) my choice continues yesterday’s theme of brocade, damask and jacquard. The dress has a lovely provenance. In 1740 it was worn as a wedding gown by Mary Waters, of Salem, Massachusetts. Twenty-three years later her daughter (also Mary Waters) had it restyled in the fashions of the 1760s, and also wore it as her wedding dress. There are three available images of the gown, and they give three very different options for styling. First, a youthful, romantic look, with an 1760s inspired hairstyle, as it might have been worn by the younger Miss Waters as a bride.
Then, the gown as worn by an older woman – as if the elder Mary Waters had simply allowed her daughter to borrow the gown, and then wore it again herself for years to come.
Finally, a back view (sadly, not in colour) with an interesting cap, so that we can admire the beautifully done pleating:
What do you think of the dress, the vivid green, the striking 1730s brocade? Is it really a dress for all seasons and all decades? Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10