18th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Eleanor Frances Dixie puts her gloves on

Last week’s green and black 1920s frock proved very divisive.  People either loved it, or hated it.  To be perfectly honest, all the love took me completely by surprise.  I was convinced that everyone would think it frumpy and dowdy, but all you ‘want it now!-ers’ balanced the ‘old lady being eaten by her dress-ers’ and it rated a 6.3 out of 10.

Inspired by Madame Ornata’s finished pet en l’aire, this week let’s look at 1750’s fashion.  I present the very slim Eleanor Frances Dixie in a brocaded robe a la francaise, in the act of putting her gloves on.

Portrait of Eleanor Frances Dixie, daughter of Wolstan Dixie, 4th Baronet b Henry Pickering (fl.1740-1771), circa 1753

Madame O accessorised her pet en l’aire with a rosy petticoat and stomacher, and a very hat-y hat.  Miss Dixie accessorieses her robe with lace cuffs, a very sheer fichu, a lawn cap, and blue silk bow at her centre front, and a blue silk trimmed bergere.  And, of course, the gloves.

What do you think of it all?  You’ve seen Miss Dixie put her gloves on, but as you rate her dress, please do feel free to leave yours off.

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. I don’t love the fabric it’s made of – I don’t love that check-pattern vs. flowers thing going on. I’d prefer just plain flowers or (much less) just plain checks. Not both at the same time.
    Other than that, I love it. It has all of my favourite elements of 18th century – the gorgeous elegance without the over-the-top sumptuosness. And a bergere with blue ribbon does not hurt. 😉

    • P.S. I want to thank you for these Rate the Dress posts. They’re amazing for opening my eyes to things I like and don’t like in things I previously didn’t think I’d like at all. 🙂 (Not exactly the case of a sleek light-coloured dress with blue accents, that sort of thing I have always liked; but in general, like last week’s dress – I wouldn’t think I’d like that shade of bright green, but I did!)

  2. I agree with above comment completely. the fabric isn’t great, but the form is excellent. another 8/10 😉

  3. I cannot help but feel that Eleanor was born 50 years too soon. Was ever a woman born to wear Regency?

  4. Ingrid says

    The sheer fichu rocks! The gloves are nice and complete the outfit nicely. True, a different fabric would have made it look even better, but I like it quite right. I give 9/10

  5. I like it. 8. The giant lacey sleeve flounces are a bit much for me, but that’s just my preference. The fabric is lovely, and I like the blue accents.

  6. Caroline says

    I absolutely love this!
    Well most things mid-late 18th century will send me through the roof, but the colors and detailing are really very nice.
    I think the fabric looks a bit busy, but I feel like it would look different in certain lights, and anyway…. it’s still beautiful (-;
    I’m not sure about rating, but I’ll go with my gut and give it a 10!

  7. I’m not wild about the print, either, or the extremely low neckline, but otherwise I think it an elegant ensemble. 8 of 10.

  8. I like it, and I can imagine that the fabric would have a gorgeous sheen and texture in real life, the checks would make the light dance off the surface of the fabric. I like it. 9/10, just because I think the flounces and bows aren’t really in proportion to the rest of her.

  9. Not in love with the print on the fabric, but otherwise much dress love. I love the sleeves, and while I am usually not a fan of bows on busts or backsides, here I think it looks good.


  10. Adela says

    I like everything but the dingy colour which looks too much someone forgot to change the rinse water. Can’t blame the painting for that given the hat and gloves have a nice bright cream. 6

  11. Jay says

    Fish scales.
    I’ll take the fabric for something else but hate this dress.
    5 for the fabric zero for the dress.

  12. Got to love a robe a la francaise, but this one is not an exciting example. The fabric is not to my taste, I prefer the higher contrast prints or the tone on tone ones myself. I don’t care for the extra long engageates, and the front is positively indecent being so low cut. Proportionally her er, bust points, would show through the see through fichu – the painting distends her torso, it’s odd. At worst I think she looks like Kevin Spacey in drag.
    I do like the bergere hat with the little puffs around it and I do like the shade of blue used on it and the bow on the bodice.
    3/10 for the hat!

  13. Elise says

    I like the hat! I love bergeres! I think the painting is just so interesting. She looks like she has such a long torso, already, and so the engagettes, the neckline, along with the loose glove make her look even longer. And I like the fabric: I think it’s sweet-looking. And I bet the pattern would hide dirt pretty well!

  14. I have a feeling the fabric would have been much prettier in real life, and didn’t translate well to being painted. Perhaps like this: http://bit.ly/khutNn I can imagine the check pattern being much subtler in real life, just giving the fabric a bit more sheen and life and making the flowers stand out.

    Aside from that, I love the dress–so simple for the time period, capturing all the sumptuousness without going over-the-top. The engageantes are a dream–such soft, drapey lace! And she did exactly right to accent it with blue.

    9/10, because she really could have used a pair of earrings–like simple pearl or blue paste drops.

  15. I love it, especially the blue accents! I just wonder if the fabric on her shoes matches the fabric of her gown. 9/10

  16. Madame Ornata says

    It all just falls a litle bit flat for me. I seriously love this time period but this look is not up there with my favourites. Between the frosty glare from the wearer, the cold drab colours of dress I just wanna run and put a warm jersey on. This, with the texture of the fabric (somewhat akin to scales) I get the impression a dead fish is staring back at me. I like the hat and the blue bow and the fabric and lace might be nicer in real life. So poisson features gets a 4.5/10 from me.

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