Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: a 17th century Woman in Red

Almost all of you loved last week’s 1910ish Rate the Dress, but those who found it a little fussy, or the neckline a little high, or the bodice a little odd dragged the rating down from a high 9 to a 8.7 out of 10.

I’ve belatedly realised that something a little Christmas-y might have been a good pick for Rate the Dress, so to keep in the spirit (better late than never), here is a holiday appropriate red and white dress for a pregnant woman.

Marcus Gheeraerts II, Portrait of a Woman in Red, 1620, Collection of the Tate

The only sombre note to this ornate ensemble is the black ribbon on her wrist, a memento commemorating someone who had died (hopefully not the father of her unborn child!).

How do you feel about the outfit?  I’ve never done maternity wear before, so it is interesting to see what you will make of the shortened bodice, the red petticoat paired with the white top, and the elaborate patterning and lace trimming.

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. That’s a very nice dress and the color combination is very lovely. The lace is attractive, it being gold-colored. I didn’t know how pregnant women dressed in the 17th century, so thank you for posting this picture.
    It almost resembles an Regency dress with the high waistline.

  2. I love the color scheme, and the patterns. The translucent ruff and partlet are exquisite, and I don’t mind the long hanging sleeves on the bodice. But I don’t care for the low neckline/high waist combination (though this isn’t a very flagrant example). So I’ll say a 7.5 for this one.

  3. i love this dress, i love the colors and the ornateness. sure beats the ugly mumus i wore when i was pregnant! i give it a 10!

  4. Wish I could ask her to turn around, I want a better look at fabic on sleeve and train.

    • Elise says

      Wouldn’t the back be lovely?

      I love orange-red and gold. And although it is very beautiful and ornate, there is nothing froufy about it. She is a very stately pregnant lady! I give it a 9.

  5. I love the dress – can never dislike red and white combo, and I also love the early 17th c. style. A note about the pregnancy, though – I’m not entirely she she is pregnant. There are a great many early 17th c. portrait like this that show the fashion for pulling the skirt up high over a jacket/waistcoat. Here are some examples:

    1625: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/media/2/7/0/4/12.jpg
    1610: http://www.vam.ac.uk/images/image/12661-popup.html
    1595: http://www.gogmsite.net/the_late_farthingale_era_fr/1595ca_portrait_of_an_unkno_2.html

    The hand position is typical of portraits of this period (1620s), so may not necessarily be alluding to pregnancy.

    • I wasn’t sure about the pregnancy, but most of the portraits with very obvious fake pregnancy looks are from earlier, and the museum credits this one as being of a pregnant woman, so I’m willing to go with that.

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