All posts tagged: 1840s

Dress of green changeable silk, 1840s, sold at Augusta Auctions in the Tasha Tudor Historic Costume Collection Sale, Nov 2007

Rate the Dress: Vivid green 1840s

It’s that time again: our weekly look at an example of historical fashion, where we discuss its aesthetic merits within the context of its time. Last week’s discussion around a gold lace 1920s dress got very…weird.  Comments mainly centred (ha ha) around how the hip-level centre-front blue-silk bow would have been perceived in the 1920s.  Was it completely innocent, or a very risqué fig leaf?  (I’m on team ‘innocent within the context of its time’.  After all, we live in a time where you can put a vertical seam with ruching right under a woman’s bottom, specifically to highlight said bottom, on a wedding dress, and no-one makes comments about poop!). Fig-leaf analogies I expected, but then Daniel said it made him think of something utterly repulsive – so naturally my Rate-the-Dress reading friend group has been wracking our combined and considerable imaginations for the last week to figure out what it might be (we’ve kept the discussion off the blog, in the interests of good taste), and we’ve come up completely blank (thank goodness? …

Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, ca. 1840, NPG, detail

Rate the Dress: the Philanthropist in Plaid

Last week’s peach-on-peach 1914 evening dress earned its rating almost entirely on how much you liked said shade.  If it was too much overtones of 1980s bridesmaids dresses – not so much!  I was highly entertained by the wildly varying opinions and some of the descriptions (peach flavoured onion!).  Alas, for something so entertaining, it came in with a rather nondescript rating of 7.3 out of 10.  The lowest in a long while, but far higher than some of the lowest scores. This week let us turn from soft peachy pink, to crisp black and white, as we look at philanthropist, heiress, art collector, honourary beekeeper and goat aficionado, Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Coutts. Angela’s life is remarkable; from inheriting one of the largest fortunes in England (though I’ve always wondered how her four older sisters felt about being left out of it); to using it for a huge range of Very Good Things (many quite unusual and advanced for a lady of her era); to proposing to the  45-years-her-senior Duke of Wellington, fending off …

Rate the Dress: 1840s summer whites for a gentlemen

For last week’s Elizabeth Amalie Rate the Dress I had one request:  Please don’t look at the baby. You looked at the baby.  How could you not!  That was some baby… Luckily looking at the baby resulted in a very entertaining set of comments.  If the baby itself didn’t make you fall off your chair laughing, then Rachel’s imagined conversation with EA, and Mrs C’s all-too-apt Harry Potter reference were sure to! Beyond the most-unfortunate baby, Elizabeth Amalie’s dress was deemed very attractive, but not the most delicious creation of its time, coming in at 8.2 out of 10. I’ve just been to see the Reigning Men exhibition at LACMA* (11 word review: fabulous garments, slightly less fabulous curatorial choices, slightly overwhelming, totally worth it), so have menswear on the mind.  There aren’t that many museums that have a lot of images of fully assembled menswear outfits, so I’ve picked one that is from LACMA, though it isn’t in Reigning Men. This mid-1840s ensemble was made with hot summer temperatures in mind: light colours give …