All posts filed under: Rate the dress

Blue silk taffeta evening dress with two-tier skirt. All hems are finished with a border of silver floral jacquard ribbon and fringe. American, ca. 1855 Silk taffeta, jacquard woven ribbon, silk fringe, KSUM 2005.6.4 a-d

Rate the Dress: Blue borders on big skirts & berthas

Rate the Dress is going big, little, and back to big again, with this blue bell shaped 1850s number. Last week: a 1790s dress and matching fichu Not everyone was sold on the shape of the dress, and the teeny-tiny bodice, but the sheer fabulosity of the embroidery carried the day, and (despite one person rating it only 1!) the dress rocked in with a round score of… The Total: 9 out of 10 The things that a good fichu can hide! This week: a crinoline era gown in cobalt blue This dress belonged to Virginia Shields Vaden before her marriage to William Vaden in 1858. It’s a classic example of mid-late 1850s fashion, with its full tiered skirt, wide sleeves, and deep bertha. The bright colour is a lovely illustration that the wardrobes of unmarried women weren’t confined to muted, pale shades. The fabrics illustrate textile advances of the mid-19th century. The ribbon borders of the sleeves and berthe, and deep patterned hems of the skirt, were woven on a jacquard loom. The jacquard loom …

Rate the Dress: the littlest bodice and the biggest garden of embroidery

This week’s Rate the Dress goes from big 1890s sleeves, to little tiny 1790s bodices Last week: an 1890s reception gown in pumpkin orange  Many of you loved the Anne reference, but not everyone is a puffed sleeve fan. It lost some points just for the sleeves. And gained some just for the sleeves. And lost some points just for the colour. And gained some just for the colour. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was a not-sure-ness about the scale of the beading and the chiffon overlay. The Total: 7.9 out of 10 Well, and improvement on the week before, and almost good enough to count as a proper success. This week: a 1790s dress and matching fichu This dress represents a very brief and specific moment of fashion, where the last remnants of 18th century styles, in the form of fichu and an open overskirt, meet the extremely brief bodice of the early Regency/Empire silhouette. When I say extremely brief, I mean it. The bodice appears to be no more than four …

Rate the Dress: Puffed sleeves & pumpkin orange

A colleague and I were discussing Anne of Green Gables and her love of puffed sleeves today. It’s amazing how that episode has become such a defining feature of so many of our formative years – and often our introduction to historical fashion. In keeping with our talk, I’ve picked an 1890s dress with the puffiest of puffed sleeves for this week’s Rate the Dress, although the colour might not have been so much to Anne’s taste – at least not for long. Last week: a 1920s number in tomato red and fuchsia with gold Ratings for last week’s dress were all over the place – everything from 1 to 10, and every number in between (except 2, which rather disappoints me. 2 is a much more inventive rating than 1 – it says “I really don’t like this, but I have thought about exactly, exactly why). There were four times as many 10s and 1s, but also quite a lot of the in-betweens, which will explain the rating of… The Total: 7.5 out of …