Author: The Dreamstress

Rate the dress: Red bow redux

Last week we took a break from Rate the Dress to take a look at suffragist fashion in New Zealand. The last Rate the Dress was an embroidered 1880s dress which received two main reactions: love, because it looked like a film costume in all the right ways, and ‘nice, but somehow not exciting’.  Still, it came in at 8.6 out of 10, so the fans were in the majority! I posted an 1880s House of Worth dress in pale stone with red bows 7 weeks ago, and it didn’t do particularly well.  So I was fascinated when I found this 1880s dress from the MFA Boston with the same general design scheme: It’s so similar, but in cotton rather than heavy silk, with soft ruffles and scallops rather than crisp pleats, and as a day dress rather than a reception gown, the overall effect is quite different. Is it different enough to get a significantly improved (or reduced!) rating?  Would you like it more or less if I hadn’t pointed out the similarities to …

How to dress like a New Zealand Suffragist

Today is the 124th anniversary of New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to allow women the right to vote.  September 19th is celebrated as White Camellia Day or New Zealand Suffrage Day, the first name after the emblem of the New Zealand suffrage movement: the white camellia. White Camellia Day is particularly exciting this year, as Saturday is a parliamentary election, early voting is already open, so lots of women I know are planning to vote today, and there is a reasonable chance that New Zealand will elect its third female prime minister.  I’m going to vote on Saturday (Mr D & I have a tradition of walking to the polls together ((d’aww)) and I’ll be voting based on policy, not gender, but I still think it’s fantastic that New Zealand has already had two female prime ministers, and might have another. In honour of the elections and Suffrage Day falling so close together, and since there has been discussion of people going to the polls dressed as suffragettes, I thought I’d …

The ideal WWI figure Part IV: staying fashionable and supporting a full bust, 1910s style

In Part IV of The Ideal WWI Figure, let’s look at how women with full busts achieved support and the fashionable silhouette of the period. Part I: The Ideal WWI Figure: a range of Ideals Part II: Breaking Down the Elements that Made the ‘Ideal’ figure Part III: The Changing Ideal Figure, 1913-1921 One of the most common questions I get asked about the Rilla Corset is how to wear it/what you do for bust support if you are very full busted, as it sits below the bust. To answer that question, let’s go back to the source, and look at period accounts, illustrations, and extant examples of bust supporting garments.  There is no better way to find out how to support your bust then to see how it was actually done in period. As we’ve seen from looking at the figure ideals in the 1910s over the last three posts in the series, the ideal WWI bust, whether small or big, was low and drooping, rather than high and perky, as is the modern …