This week’s Rate the Dress is chosen from one of my favourite historical eras of all time – at least where fabric is concerned! Will it be as popular as last week’s smash-hit Pingat?
Last week: A very large Pingat ballgown
The very large Pingat ballgown received an equally large and enthusiastic response. The only things it was marked down for were the overly-enthusiastic berthe (as an underly endowed woman, I cannot sympathise, as I need all the help I can get from berthe in 1860s dresses!), and the ‘bookmarks’ on the skirt (another thing I can’t sympathise with. Secret book geek dress sounds like pretty much the best thing ever. Even the colours were book themed!)
The Total: 9.6 out of 10
Undercover nerd dress ftw! Would wear blue silk stockings with any day of the week!
This week: An unknown young lady of ca. 1740
We don’t know the identity of this young lady, or when exactly Bartholemew Dandridge painted her portrait, but we can tell a bit about her from the clues in the painting:
The girl wears a formal dress in a brocaded silk, with a ca. 1740 design that transitions between the bold colours and unusual shapes that characterised bizarre silks, and the more delicate, naturalistic rococo silks of the mid-18th century. The lacey, lattice-like shapes on the dress are a classic feature of 1740s silks.
The girl is definitely that. While the full, round skirts, elaborate stomacher, 3/4 length sleeves, and lace-trimmed chemise are all common in fashionable adult dress of the 1740s, the dress bears streamers at the back – typical markers of a girl’s dress. The are usually described as vestigial leading strings, but as they appear primarily in portraits of girls on the brink of adolescence, I also see them as nascent sacque back pleats. They are transitional markers: taking a dress feature associated with childhood (leading strings) and mixing it with a garment feature more common in adult dress (pleats).
So, as an 18th century version of a girls-first formal dress (still sweet and young, but with a few adult features), what do you think of this?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting, but it’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is crazy/totally lacking in taste.
(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5. I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it! Thanks in advance!)