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Rate the Dress: Sunny 1780s Redingote

I’m deep, deep in 1780s stay madness at the moment, so it’s probably not a huge surprise that I’ve picked something on-theme. And I’m always in favour of yellow, so yellow it is.

Last week: a red velvet Edwardian frock with a hint of pinaforeness 

After the silence of the week before, there were so many comments on the pinafore dress. I must admit, I was quite surprised at how popular it was. I guess the pinafore look is in historically as well!

The Total: 8.7 out of 10

And many, many thanks to Cynthia Amneus of the Cincinnati Art Museum, who weighed in with additional information on the dress in the comments.

This week: a yellow silk 1780s redingote

This 1780s redingote is a wonderful example of the variation in garments seen in the last quarter of the 18th century.

Redingote, 1785-95, silk, Musee Galliera

It features a fitted bodice, front fastening, with slim, curved 3/4 sleeves, a wide double collar with decorative reverse-scalloped edging, and a cutaway front (the so-called zone-front). The photographs are not clear enough to see if the back bodice is cut in one with the skirt, or separate. Either is possible, but the latter is more likely. There is some sort of fringed decoration at the bottom of the bodice front – possibly a type of fly fringing.

Redingote, 1785-95, silk, Musee Galliera

The flat, single-colour fabric is a definite departure from the brocaded floral silks popular in earlier decades, and anticipates the lighter fabrics of the centuries end. The overall effect, with pastel hue and trained skirt, is decidedly of a garment for someone who wasn’t worried about stains.

What do you think?

(I have restrained myself mightily and am not availing myself of all the puns that ‘redingote’ so readily suggests (well, mostly).

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.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is 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!  And 0 is not on a scale of 1 to 10.  Thanks in advance!)

22 Comments

  1. Awww.
    I like it a lot. Would wear. Plain fabric, but enough interesting pattern shapes to make up for it in my eyes.
    The fly fringe is odd and lonely, though.
    9/10

  2. It’s a particularly lovely shade of yellow – not too acid, and I love the look of the collar in the back. The sweep of the line from the bodice cutaway through the overskirt is elegant.

    9.5 of 10

  3. Nicole B. says

    *Cringe* Sorry, I’ll pass. I guess I just really, really don’t like big, flat collars. I also don’t like the fringe at the bottom of the bodice–I could have handled the bodice without that. The cutaway design is rather nice, as are the train and the tidy sleeves.

    It does look like a well-constructed gown, from what I can see. The color doesn’t rub me one way or the other.

    4/10

  4. Anna says

    I think it’s lovely, though I’m not sure I’m enthusiastic about the collar.

    9/10

    • Ooops. Hit send too early.

      Anyway, with suitable accessories it could be stunning, though it’s a bit too plain otherwise. 7.5 out of 10.

  5. Daniel Milford-Cottam says

    Hmm. Too much butter yellow for me, actually. I don’t think monochrome works for this design because my eye doesn’t have anything to rest on, I’m just sort of floating around this butter blob. It’s a nice cut and design, but it really needs accessories or some kind of definition to make it more distinctive and defined. It’s a bit Disney Princess (like they said, give us something simple and easy to animate and all in one colour).

    Not off-putting at all, it’s very charming, but it lacks definition and excitement and even though it was obviously handmade, it still looks a bit generic and background extra as opposed to a dress for a star.

    7. 5/10. I don’t hate it, I’m just kinda bored.

    • JessieRoo says

      It’s a little like a butter sculpture, but instead of being that of a chicken or cow it is one of the most elegant (though headless) lady at the fair. I actually really like it, but I am have a background in baking and pastry, so naturally I gravitate to all things buttery.

  6. PepperReed says

    9.5/10

    I love this style! The clean, unfussy lines, the mellow color (and I’m not a yellow fan), the lux fabric — even plain you can see the quality — make this a winner and one I would wear.

    0.5 off for lack of detailed pictures, and the ‘fringe’ only in front seems unbalanced.

  7. Elise says

    I wanna marry it. Flaws and all. (And I am too much in love to enumerate the flaws, so no rating)

  8. Lynne says

    It is in many ways charming, and it is yellow. Very good. But I’d like a bit more zing. Deeper, richer yellow? It could look right on a really striking brunette.

    But…

    7.5

  9. Christina Kinsey says

    A pretty dress, simple and summery. It might need some trimming or accessories to give it some definition as the colour is pretty but maybe a bit light.
    I give it an 8, lovely but needs a bit more

  10. Sue says

    I love the cut of the collar, the clean lines, the soft yellow, and the simple femininity of this! It seems to need a little something where the collar meets in front – a bit of lace, a flower, or a brooch would be lovely – but overall it’s delightfully fresh and dainty. The hint of (possible) fly fringe adds delicate texture and interest. (Just read up on fly fringe – had never heard the term before. Now I’m wondering if that might be the type of fringe mentioned in Jane Austen’s work. I seem to recall at least one character “sorting a fringe” for someone else [maybe Fanny Price for Lady Bertram?])
    9.5

  11. Heather says

    I really love the style and the color of the dress. 18th century is definitely my favorite era. I just wish there were a little more going on with this to break up the monotony of the color. More texture to the fabric, a different colored trim, something. It’s still beautiful, but not my favorite example from the period. 8/10

  12. JessieRoo says

    This one is so light and airy compared to other similar garments I’ve seen. The collar is lovely, and I like how plain and simple it is over all-perfect for pairing with different accessories, speaking of which, it would look smashing with sort of medium blue ( I can picture the precise color, but don’t know how to describe it) sash tied in a nice big, fat bow. Not my absolute favorite piece of this style and time period, but only because there are so many other gorgeous dresses from that time.
    8/10

  13. JessieRoo says

    I didn’t think to say earlier, but this is the perfect light, buttery shade of yellow to compliment a whole range of complexions and hair colors. I think it would look equally amazing on very dark brown skin as on a very fair blond.

  14. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    The color is lovely, and the collar adds rear interest. It’s perky, and it feminizes the multi-caped style.

    It’s oddly plain for that era, but maybe redingotes were fashionable in monochrome.

    Mentally adding lace sleeves and fichu, floral embroidered stockings, and bright green shoes, with a stylish wide hat, and wandering across the terraces of my mansion …

    9.5

  15. Crumpled Rag says

    I’m not a great fan of yellow, but this is a good-looking fabric, and I really like the whole back style especially the back of the collar, but oh what happened at the front? The collar loses all the lovely shape of the back and the fringe looks like a late afterthought, a ruffle with the same shaping as the back of the collar would have been lovely.
    6/10

  16. dropping stitches says

    I love the silk. I need to wear this in a summer garden. I love the slim bodice and the 3/4 sleeves ( and I hate 3/4 sleeves in modern clothes). The extra length at the back adds some interest and probably looks great running up or down grand staircases. Just add a dramatic fan accessory and sip some iced tea.

    8.5/10

  17. Rebecca says

    I looked for other pictures of this gown. There was one in low light, that a visitor took while viewing it at the museum. The trim at the bottom of the bodice looked more like pleats than fringe in that photo. The color looked like a rich gold in the low light picture, which I like better than this nearly dead daffodil hue. Speaking of dying daffodils, that is a good discription of the limp collar/shoulder details. But the back is exquisite. And I will roll back my pale yellow tisk, as the color has mellowed with time.

    7.5

  18. It’s nice, especially the back view, but there are some things I’d change.
    I usually really like this style of collar but it looks a bit weird here because the top layer doesn’t go all the way to the front. It’s also rather too much yellow with the matching petticoat. With a white petticoat and some contrasting accessories it would be so much better.
    I can’t rate it too low though, 1785-95 is my favorite decade!

    8.5/10

  19. Veronica says

    Love the yellow, like the back bodice seaming and the back of the collar, but the front looks a bit limp. The front collar lacks definition, and the bodice fringe seems strangely stuffy for such a pale colour. That said, it seems better the more I look at it so …
    7/10.

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