20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Chanel does trousers

Julia of the Perfect Victorian Figure says that I do too many frilly uber-historical dresses for ‘Rate the Dress’, and challenged me to post a 1930s Chanel trouser suit for your perusal.

There aren’t actually that many 1930s Chanel trouser suits out there, so hopefully this one will meet with your approval as a suitable interesting ‘Rate the Dress’, although it might not meet with your approval as a suitable elegant and sartorially fabulous ensemble.

Evening suit and blouse on a model, Chanel, 1937-38, collection of the V&A

Evening suit and blouse (detail), Chanel, 1937-38, collection of the V&A

Between the 1930s photograph and the detail of the extent blouse and jacket, what do you think of the ensemble?  Imagine Diana Vreeland in it, with a black ribbon around her neck, and a red rose tucked into it, as V&A’s blurb describes.

Fabulous?  Or Frumpy?

Rate the Dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. 8 of 10. I love it for Hollywood starlets. I’d probably wear it to a fancy event. I love the obscurity of it 🙂

  2. I like it, though I admit it would only work on a slender woman–it would indeed look “frumpy” on a woman with a heavier build, or even real curves.

  3. Melissa says

    I can’t imagine too many people pulling this look off today, but I think it is fabulous for its time. The collar is a bit fussy, but it is otherwise great! 9/10

  4. 9
    It’s shiny, it’s gorgeous. It definitely needs that boyish flapper figure to work properly, though.

  5. It’s a lovely cut, I would love to see the toile. Sequins are not my taste and the lace puts it over the top. And it’s a very nice lace too. Now if it was made with a non-sequin material like a silk, I think the lace would have been much nicer because it would not be competing with the sequin.

    • Chanel was a huge fan of sequins, and lace, which always surprises people who think of her as the queen of subtle minimalism.

      • I know, when I see “Chanel” I think of her jacket and suits, the tweed ones. Sequins were totally new to me.

  6. Yik, looks like black snakeskin to me. Love the lace, love the shoes, admire the maximalism of the conept but I do not like it, Sam I am! 5/10.

  7. Madame Ornata says

    I like the cut and the combination of textures while unusual in being both simple and fussy at the same time, seems to work for me or at least clash enough to be interesting and unusual without being terrribly wrong. That lace is so very pretty close up. I love trousers so it great to see some. I agree it is a hard style to pull it off successfully so it is great to see someone really working it and showing it to advantage. 6.5/10

  8. Julia Waite says

    I want to wear this to the office!
    Chanel is so clever…its practical because its essentially pants a shirt and jacket….buts is sparkly and awesome for after work drinks on a Friday night 10/10!!!!

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