All posts tagged: 1860s

First bustle era dress

Rate the Dress: Crinoline to First Bustle Era transitions

It’s Rate the Dress time!  Every week I post a historical garment, or a portrait, and we rate the garment in the context of it’s time.  This week’s pick is a 1868-70 dress that features the full skirts of the elliptical crinoline era, topped by the bustled skirts of the first bustle era. Last week: a Doucet evening dress in glittering gold organza: Last week’s gold evening gown proved that Doucet the Midas Touch when it comes to fashion, because you loved it.  No one was the least bit worried by the implied lingerie-ness of the dress.  It did lose a half point here or there for the extra back bows (you just can’t get behind those, can you?), and some of you thought there was a disconnect between the skirt and upper bodice.  Points were both gained and lost for fungus-y embroidery.  Mould that breaks the mould?  A few of you saw a face in the bodice, and took points off for that.  Apparently we like garments that have personality, not a personality! The …

Rate the Dress: a butterfly ballgown, ca 1865

Last week’s purple velvet aestheticism inspired reception gown / tea gown proved very popular, with many of you commenting that you loved it because you could actually imagine wearing it.  It did loose points for awkward lower-front rouching (which I hadn’t noticed and will now never be able to unsee!), and not everyone was on-board with the long train, all-over high-necked-with-velvet thing, or the Renaissance sleeves.  So, for lots of excitement with a few niggles, a still very regal score of 8.5 out of 10. Although no-one commented that last week’s gown made them feel hot as happened with the green velvet gown earlier this year, this week I chose a dress that seemed much more summery in theme: an 1860s ballgown of butterfly patterned chiné silk. Were it not for the striking butterfly patterned fabric this dress would never have made it as a Rate the Dress choice.  It’s almost completely devoid of ornamentation or design interest except for the tassel-trimmed sleeves, which would flutter and move with the dress, evoking wings, or delicate …

Rate the Dress: 1860s Aniline & Apron Effects

Thanks for your well wishes on lasts week’s Rate the Dress.  My posts are going to be written with help for at least another week I’m afraid… Quite mixed feelings on last week’s 1906ish corded velvet ensemble.  Some of you thought it rich and regal, some of you thought it irredeemably ugly, and some of you liked it, except for a) the mismatched lace and/or b) the fabric and/or c) the clunky sleeves.  Lots of things to detract from perfection pulled the score down to 6.6 out of 10. I personally loved the fabric and would take a chair upholstered in it any day of the week, but do struggle with 1906 sleeves.  They just make me think of an ape posturing to make itself look as big as possible in the chest and shoulders… This week’s Rate the Dress, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is also purple and black.  The dress, one of the extremely fashionable new purple shades made possible by the discovery of aniline dyes, features the simple shape and enormous swathes of …