All posts tagged: 19th Century

Day dress and cape of shot silk, early 1850s, The John Bright Historic Costume Collection

Rate the Dress: Purple, purple, and more purple, 1850s

When we bought our lovely little cottage four years ago, the master bedroom was painted purple floor to ceiling. It was awful*. When I saw today’s Rate the Dress it instantly reminded me of our previously-purple bedroom: not because it is necessarily awful, even really the same colour, but because it is a lot of purple, and because friends said of our bedroom “that colour might be really nice in something else, but not as a bedroom.”** Last week: a 1920s day dress in printed silk It was very easy to tell what people would give as a rating for last week’s dress, depending on what words you used for it. Those who found it ‘subtle’ or ‘delicate’ or ‘refined’ rated it above an 8, those who felt it was ‘blah’ or ‘washed out’ or a ‘sack’ gave it significantly less. side note: Catherine says it was a rice cake: healthful but not appealing. I happen to adore rice cakes. And a whole host of other very delicately flavoured foods with dry crunchy textures. My …

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/159169

Rate the Dress: Late Victorian totally un-neutral

Last week’s dress was deemed quietly elegant and almost offensively in-offensive.  Beautiful (excepting, perhaps the sleeve bows), but too retiring and neutral to inspire much passion on either end (excepting, perhaps, once again, when it came to the bows).  So this week I’ve chosen a dress, that while in (technically) neutral shades of browns & blacks, and sleek in silhouette, is determinedly un-neutral in every other respect.  You might, in the end, decide it is also elegant, but not for reasons of quietude! Last week: early Victorian neutrals Things I took away from your responses: You thought the dress was pretty but ultimately a little boring. You don’t like brown. You really, really didn’t like those sleeve bows. But even if you don’t like brown and bows you recognise and reward good construction. The Total: 8.4 Exactly the rating that a dress that would be supremely appropriate at any event without ever drawing attention to itself would be expected to get.  And I learned a lot about early Victorian trims that kind of look like …

Rate the Dress: Worth takes on three centuries of fashion

Last week’s Rate the dress took us to the 1740s.  This week we’re travelling back in time half a century to ca. 1690, AND forward half a century to ca. 1790, and finishing up ca. 1890, all in one dress.  Only Worth would try that!  But did he succeed? Last week: An unknown young lady of ca. 1740 by Bartholemew Dandridge I’m always a bit trepidatious when I post a historical child for Rate the Dress because of the children-as-adults issue.  Luckily the response to our girl-on-the-cusp-of-adolescence was (almost) unanimously positive.  You thought she was perfectly dressed for a young lady in her first almost-grown-up frock, with the ideal balance of frills and boldness. The Total: 9.3 out of 10 It was the princess dress to appeal to both our inner little-girl and our more critical adult selves! This week: A House of Worth Reception gown of ca. 1890 This grape purple and pale gold Worth reception gown from ca 1890 is heavy on the historicism.  It has a skirt inspired by mantua fashionable in …