Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: muslin frills in 1822

Feelings on Anne of Austria’s over the top fleur de lys Rate the Dress were mixed, reflecting the division in taste between the minimalists and the maximalists.  Some of you didn’t like the dress aesthetically, but recognised that it achieved its aim.  It rated a 7 out of 10.

This week I visit an era that mixed minimalism and maximalism in equal parts: the 1820s and 30s.  Such a juxtaposition creates a trying time for fashion.  Past ratings have shown that occasionally designers get the Romantic silhouette right, but it is no easy feat.

Will this uber-feminine froth of muslin, lace and puffs over baby girl pink, from the collection of the V&A win your approval?  Or will you find the triple tiers of trim and daringly low cut back too perplexing, and condemn the dress?

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. Amy B. says

    8 out of ten. It’s very sweet and feminine. I think the ruffles on the bottom are well balanced by the ruffles on the bodice. I took two points off because it’s just a trifle juvinile. Of course, if this was a dress for a young girl just barely out in society it would be perfect.

    • I would think that the low back would be rather daring for a girl just out in society! I’m quite enthralled by the low back – it’s really the first time it has been seen in Western fashion, and won’t be seen again for another century.

  2. So pretty! I love the frills because they are focussed, albeit into opposite places, and the simplicity of the rest of the dress is a nice foil. I have a real soft spot for colours under a layer of cream or black, and the pink under the cream is a nice effect. I do like the back too, it would have been so cool to wear on a hot evening made hotter with lots of candles. Can’t say I like the lace overly, it reminds me of those cheap rachelles you get off a roll these days, but I am sure that up close it would be clearly not anything like that (of course they knew nothing back then about the horrors of nylon lace yet to come!) And quite a clever transition from front to back, looks a bit obvious on the dummy but on a person the arm would hide it.
    So, overall I give it an 8.

  3. Courtney says

    Love, love, LOVE. 9..5/10 – I only took off half a point because, well.. I’m not entirely sure how this would look on someone, nor if the low back might have been too daring.

  4. Mlle. Sophie says

    I think it’s so sweet! It’s not too much like a lot of Romantic Period frocks with their unnecessary puffed sleeves and abundance of trim. I love it and would totally make it! I’ll give it a 7.5, points off for the slight business of the back.

  5. I like this dress. I’m a lover of Regency dresses, so I’m biased. Lol.
    Can you imagine this dress floating and flowing in a Regency dance?
    Complete with a pair of long white ball gloves and a matching lace shawl.
    The gentleman glancing at her warm exposed back while trying so hard to make decent conversation?
    It looks as through it was made for dancing, it has no train and is hemmed for movement.
    The color could be richer to show the lovely lace and the design of the sleeves. Had it been my dress I would have choose a rich rose silk.
    I give it a 8/10.

  6. Joie de Vivre says

    Despite my general dislike of lace and frills and froufrou, I think this dress achieves its aim well. The bodice is actually surprisingly pretty and well balanced with the sleeves, and although I don’t like frills on hems as a rule these ones do well to balance out the bodice so it doesn’t get too top heavy. I really like the scooped back neckline (is it a neckline if it is at the back?) but not so sure about the extra fabric gathered in at the back. The lace does look a bit cheap but I can gloss over that. However I do agree with others that the colour is a bit inspid. So although this isn’t a garment I’d wear for jollies, 8 for its own inherent prettieness. 1.5 marks off for the colour and half mark for the slightly naff lace and slightly akward excessive gathers at the back.

  7. I like it. Rather than intended for a young girl, I should think it would either be a young “ish” unmarried, respectably minxy sort or for a pretty young wife with daring taste in daywear? At any rate, I’d totally wear that. 10 of 10, because I suspect that the color might have faded slightly from the original, and even if that is the original color, very pale colors suit ladies of very pale complexions. No lady sported a tan.

  8. I would like it better without the 3 ruffles at the bottom (being short, I avoid horizontal lines), but otherwise it is very pretty.

  9. Kathy P says

    I can’t decide if I think it’s sweet or tacky. Perhaps if it was shown with the underdress it was probably worn over I could make a better call.

    5 I half hate it and half love it.

  10. I love the front bodice and back skirt. The back bodice and front skirt look sort of lopsided to me. So the first variant gets an 8 and the other a 4. Total of 6. That’s a prettyrounded figure, isn’t it?

  11. I am sorry but I just don’t like it, it looks like a shower curtain, even the colour looks like that pink colour shower curtains go when they start to grow that pink algae on them. And it kind of droops as though the fabric has dropped and the lines aren’t straight as tho it has been badly sewn. No I just can’t say anything nice about this dress, I know that is a little mean, but it has struck a discord with me.
    3/10 for the pretty lace on the ruffles, there you go, a kind word.

  12. I think it’s adorable and would love to wear it. The ruffles on top could stand to be a hair smaller but over all I love it.


  13. I’d give it an 9. The frilliness is perfect — balanced and not over-the-top. The only thing I don’t really like is the color of the lace: I can’t tell if it’s the photo or if it’s a side effect of the dress being nearly 200 years old, but the dress would look better if the lace were more white than cream.

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