All posts tagged: 1870s

Rate the Dress: 1871 butterflies & bows

For last week’s Rate the Dress I showed you menswear, and like most menswear Rate the Dresses, it wasn’t that popular in terms of votes and comments – it’s not that those that commented didn’t like it, just that very few of you commented.  I think we don’t really know what to do with menswear.  We’re so used to it being boring that super exciting and embellished historical examples are a bit weird and scary, and more restrained historical examples are, well, boring. The 1840s summer whites of last week straddled the line between weird and boring, but did it fairly well, so, despite slightly odd proportions, and an overall pyjama-y look, they managed a quite respectable 8 out of 10. I knew exactly what kind of dress I wanted to show you this week, but every example I found was in white or ecru, and I thought that, as a contrast to last week, I should probably find something that was a colour. In the end, I’ve succeeded in finding an option that 1) …

Rate the Dress: Jules James Rougeron adds the finishing touches, 1877

Oh dearie me!  Last week I showed you a wedding dress in deep, rich aubergine, with a very assymetrical skirt that was dubbed: sloppy, saggy, limp, crushed, and like ‘stockings that got one leg twisted when you put them on’.  Poor bride!  Poor dress, and a very sad 5.5 out of 10. Some the criticism of the aubergine dress was of how limp and crumpled it looked, which is partly a product of time: you may have liked it a lot better had you seen it worn in the mid 1880s.  For this week’s Rate the Dress we’re going back just a couple of years and looking at a dress that is as fresh and crisp today as it was in 1877 – because it’s a painting. Jules James Rougeron (1841-1880) painted sweet, romantic genre scenes that met the popular taste for undemanding works that featured pretty women in pretty frocks. His works appealed to the same audience as his contemporary, Tissot, though Rougeron was, and is, less famous. In “Toilette” Rougeron depicts a fashionably dressed woman admiring …

Rate the Dress: Summer Whites of the 1870s

Huzzah!  We have a winner!  Last week I showed a court dress in black satin with gold embroidery, and, with only 4 out of 30 votes coming in at anything but a perfect 10, the dress scored a truly spectacular 9.8 out of 10, which is pretty much as close as I think we’ll ever get to a perfect 10!  (such a change from Charles of the week before, who actually did better than I thought – 6.3 out of 10, for “Fantastic outfit, wrong wearer” as HoiLei succinctly put it.) This dress is inspired by the recent weather: it has been HOT.  Not too bad in Wellington, but I spent the weekend in Hamilton and it was 30 degrees and 60% humidity, and I had models in period dress, and there was a lot of discussion about how you handled that kind of heat historically. Here is one example of how: Superficially this dress is the complete opposite of last weeks: light cotton instead of heavy silk, white instead of black, an overall impression of lightness …