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Rate the Dress: 1860s golden yellow moiré

Welcome to all the new readers! Last week’s Rate the Dress must have been shared somewhere, because there was a flood of new commenters.

I’m down in Christchurch this week, doing research and visiting Lynne (who you’ll recognise as a frequent commenter on Rate the Dress posts). It’s been a hectic few weeks of wrapping up school terms, and I’m tired, and was feeling quite uninspired about this week’s Rate the Dress. Nothing I could think of seemed perfect.

So I pulled out all the options, and read out their basic description to Lynne. Purple floral 1880s? Rust on rust 1876? Black & white striped 1869? Yellow with rosettes 1867-8?

Lynne picked the last one, on the premise that it’s spring here, and we’re enjoying a beautiful vase of daffodils, and I went for a walk in the daffodil woods in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens today. She was concerned about the rosettes though: rosettes are so often pinked, and her mothers aversion to unfinished edges has remained.

She need not worry about unfinished edges, these rosettes are nicely finished. They may still be…concerning though. And they yellow isn’t really spring-y and daffodil-y. But if you don’t like the frock you must blame me and not her!

Last Week: an 1890s petal pink reception dress

The ratings for last week’s dress came in two distinct groups: total 10/10 fans, and people who were distinctly meh about it, and rated it 5/10. The first group was decidedly dominant, and combined with the smattering of other respectably high scores, the total has come in at a rather impressive…

The Total: 9 out of 10

Yet again it’s a few decimal points down on the week before.

This week: gold yellow moiré with black lace

After giving you a dress last week that required a bit of imagination to repair defects in the dressing and presentation, I’m afraid I’ve done the same thing again this week.

Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946, Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b
Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b

Although the Metropolitan Museum of Art is usually quite good in its photographs, this one is a bit lacklustre. The mannequin is too short in the torso. It’s also too slim everywhere but the waist: the original wearer must have been possessed a beautifully junoesque figure, and this dress would benefit from a great deal of padding in the bust and upper torso.

Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946, Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b
Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b

The sleeves also need a bit of oomph. The dress would have been worn with engageantes, which would have added a little fullness and structure to the lower sleeves, and possible with sleeve supports in the upper sleeves as well.

Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946, Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b
Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b

On top of all that the dress isn’t in perfect condition. It’s trimmed with some rather delicate lace, which has perished in places. When you rate this dress, please try to imagine it on a mannequin that fits it properly, with the right supports, and with the lace and other bits intact.

Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946, Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b
Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b

As to the rest of the dress, well, that’s what Rate the Dress is about! I can see this one evoking some rather interesting reactions. The rosettes are, indeed, rather nicely finished, but they are…distinctive.

Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946, Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b
Dress, 1867–68, American, silk, Gift of Mrs. Jennie F. Potter, 1946,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, C.I.46.96a, b

I’m guessing that the ratings are going to go one of two ways. Either you are either going to find the rosettes fun and whimsical: the design decision of an assured woman with a sense of humour and a good dash of chutzpah, or you’re going to think the whole thing is hideously clownish.

Am I right?

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.

34 Comments

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