All posts filed under: Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: a flower garden in white, ca 1910

Last week’s Rate the Dress was an extremely mauve 1860s extravaganza with gold straw embroidery.  Some things you all agreed on.  By and large, everyone was very impressed by the straw embroidery, but not everyone liked the way it worked with the mauve, or the combination of motifs in the embroidery.  Some things split you into two groups.  Generally you were either very pro-bow, or very anti-bow when it came to the evening bodice, and very pro-mauve, or anti-mauve when it came to the colour.  The trickiest thing divided you into more opinions than I could count.  Was the day bodice cut for a fuller figure, or for a fashionably shapeless silhouette? (I lean towards the former, because as a dressmaker, I don’t think you could get the shape to stay without a body’s curves under it to support it).  And, whichever you believed, was the shape a nice change, or frumpy? The shape was very tricky indeed, because it brought up the issue of body shapes, and how we talk about them.  In Rate …

Rate the Dress: Lightning bolts, fringe, bobbles, straw, and miles of mauveine

What an interesting conversation we had about Heather Firbank’s extremely purple walking costume from last week!  And what interesting ratings!  Basically, everyone who didn’t like things disliked the bits that I particularly liked.  The symmetrical/asymmetrical contrast (so weird to modern eyes, but so typical of the era) came in for particular criticism, as did the ‘mean little buckles’ (which I thought were such a neat, severe, ultra-modern touch!). One thing that I thoroughly expected everyone to criticise the ensemble for (and which certainly annoyed me every time I looked at it) was the non-matching of the ribbon trim at the corners of the jacket.  Oddly, it received only one mention! And that’s the fabulous thing about Rate the Dress: all these different opinions, each of us looking at the same thing, and drawing on different experiences and associations for our likes and dislikes, all rounding out to a random-but-not score, which in last week’s case, was 8.6 out of 10. I did not intend to pick another extremely purple ensemble this week.  And then I ran …

Rate the Dress: a very purple walking costume, 1912

Last week’s rate the dress was an 1817 paisley-on-paisley pelisse and not-quite-poke bonnet, as depicted in a period fashion plate that was re-coloured in the 1940s.  Paisley on paisley was more popular than I had presumed, though there was a pill in the pudding:  the ‘perplexing purple purse’ (as Tracy dubbed it), which, as Daniel showed us by finding the original, un-re-coloured fashion plate, wasn’t intended to be violent violet! The other thing that didn’t tickle everyone’s fancy was the plethora of ruffles, but since you’d be hard pressed to find something from the late 1810s that wasn’t abundantly frilled, that can’t be helped.  All in all, the outfit came in at 8.3 out of 10, which is pretty fabulous for a not-so-popular late Regency look. Since vivid purple didn’t work for you last week, but black might have, I’ve gone with a purple and black ensemble this week (it made sense in my mind!). The obvious place to go looking for purple clothes was in the wardrobe of Heather Firbank, whose closet has featured on Rate …