19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: 1870s colours

A few of you liked Maria Theresa’s masque frock last week, but most of you were rather lukewarm, with the main complaint being that the patterns were too busy and aggressive, and the whole thing didn’t go together. It rated a 5.9 out of 10.

This week, our rate the dress is a bit toned down pattern-wise, but not colour-wise.

Day dress, Silk, c. 1872, Gift of Steven Porterfield, Collection of the FIDM Museum

Yep.  That’s quite some colour in quite a combination.  What do you think?

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. Last week, the only lucid thought I had about MT’s dress was that the ostrich plumes made her look like a carousel horse….

    This week. Well. I was scrolling down, enjoying the dress very much, and then WHAM! That skirt hit me like a sack of fuschia potatoes. Scallopped potatoes. The ruffles and scallops are not my thing–these gorgous, saturated colors would have worked better without the clown-like alternating ruffle-rows. For some reason the scalloped trim also strikes me as cheap fairy costume-ish (did Disney do something like that at some point?)

    6, and submitting for a skirt-redo.

  2. A sack of fuschia potatoes I think describes my opinion the best. There’s another gown like this in the V&A, with the obnoxious color and the scallopy-ness, although I like this one better, haha. I give it 4 – i like the bodice, afterall.

  3. 3. The colors clash, imho. I love them individually, but not together.

    The skirt… well, without the top scalloped bit, it might be okay, but the shape conflicts with the lower ruffles.

    In different colors, the bodice would be quite nice.

  4. Elise says

    I love the colors. So there. But I don’t like–at all–the rufflies and the scallops. No no no. 6

  5. Mlle. Sophie says

    Oh my dear goodness gracious! I can’t believe you chose this dress! I saw it recently on display when I was at the Los Angelos FIDM on a trip. I saw it here and was like … hmm that looks familiar! Anyway I agree that the weird scallopy thing does not agree with the dress …. at all! Still I give it a six and 1/2 since it really is much prettier in person!

  6. I like the color and the decorating. But I can’t really stomach the flounces used to trim the skirt.

  7. I’m not a big fan of that color combo, nor the scallops, nor the bodice. But I do love the bustle part, so I give it a 4 🙂

  8. I really like it. I love the colours together, I’m a big fan of putting close colours together. I love the van dykeing, the cut and the style.
    I do not however like the frills around the bottom. They just don’t go. Another layer of van dykeing maybe, or just a plain underskirt maybe.
    7.5 I’m being hard cos of those frills.

  9. Frecklehead says

    I like the color combo very much, though it seems a little theatrical. I love the cut of the dress! 8/10.

  10. Madame Ornata says

    I enjoy the boldness and vibrancy of the colour combo and it’s not easy to combine two so close together. The art is getting the tone and balance right. I think they pull it off well and some equally bold young woman would have loved the statement it made.

    The bodice works and I agree with MrsC it needs another van dykeing layer (just one), to define the colour transition between layers) and echo the top colour balance below and then ditch those awful frills and scallop have a nice clean line.

    The bustle and basic shapes are lovely. For me I’d make the neck lower, but only cos I don’t suit high necks. 6.5 as is.

  11. I like the color combo, although if the sweet potato color were a little brighter and the wine tone just a bit more purple, they would be a lot more complimentary. However, I detest the ruffles at the bottom of the skirt. I like ruffles ideologically, but the only kind of ruffle I consistently hate is the ruched, four inch [approx.] at the base of a long skirt. It just comes off as corny and Holly Hobby-ish. I’m voting 8 for daring mix of colors, with a 4 point deduction for ditsy skirt ruffle, so an overall score of 4.

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