We’ve been having very spring-y weather in Wellington, by which I mean changeable. It’s very four seasons in one day! Wind, rain, sun, and then back again.
So I’ve picked a Rate the Dress for changeable temperatures – although it probably wouldn’t do well in a good spring shower.
Last Week: an 1860s day dress in bright blue
Last week’s bright blue 1860s number had two distinct pools: it’s fabulous (but badly displayed) and; those shoulders and sleeves are just terrible under any circumstances.
The Total: 8.7 out of 10
Not bad, if not as brilliant as the colour.
This week: a 1820s dress & spencer ensemble
So many of you loved last week’s bright blue, but you know I’m always a fan of white-on-white texture, or (in this case) palest blush on ivory texture.
This 1820s ensemble consists of a dress, and a spencer to wear over the dress.
The silk fabrics, light colour and elaborate trims suggest both pieces were for very fine occasions. By itself the dress could be worn to dinners, and even country balls: the addition of the spencer makes the outfit suitable for formal outdoor wear and church.
The dress features a moderately low, square neckline, trimmed with half-bow ‘leaf’ shapes that mirror each other as they frame the neckline, coming together to form a flat bow shape at the centre front.
Typically of late teens and early 20s fashion the dress is cut without a train and features a padded and quilted hem with elaborate trimming that mimics the neckline trim.
The long sleeves of the dress are trimmed with more bows and half-bows, forming a faux cuff, or a band holding the sleeve snug to the arm.
Long sleeves suggest the dress was meant to be worn as formal daywear, or for dinners, as ball dresses or evening dresses would have had shorter sleeves. However, some period writing suggests that in the country, and further away from fashionable centres, women were more likely to blur the rules, so a dress like this might have been worn to a ball.
With the addition of the spencer, it might also have been worn to a wedding – perhaps even the wearer’s own. It’s certainly fancy enough, and while white wedding dresses wouldn’t be de rigueur until after Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding, lighter shades were common for wedding attire in the 1810s and 20s, even as the overall fashion palette moved away from Regency white.
So, what do you think of this ensemble? Another boring example of the early 19th century obsession with non-colours, or an elegant expression of texture and restraint?
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!)