18th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the dress: 1780s yellow

Last week you dubbed Belleuse’s turn of the century madame with her cinched waist a mis-match.  None of the garments was particularly special, and they certainly didn’t go together, earning it a dismal 4.4 out of 10.

To avoid last week’s complaint, this week is all about matchy-matchy, and I also thought it was due time to show you an extent garment again.

This ensemble of yellow striped caraco and petticoat is on display at La Petit Trianon until 9 October in Le XVIIIe au goût du jour, an exhibition celebrating the 18th century influence on modern fashion.  If you can’t make it to France in the next month, you’ll just have enjoy it online, and you can start by considering whether you enjoy this late 18th century frock.

Caraco & jupe, 1785, probably French, silk with ribbon border, Musee Galliera

Caraco & jupe, 1785, probably French, silk with ribbon border, Musee Galliera

The later 18th century is generally a popular era, but this ensemble has some challenging aspects; yellow isn’t everyones favourite colour, especially when paired with pink, and the ruffles on the bodice might be just a bit overwhelming.

What do you think?  Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. I’m just bored by this, especially the petticoat (seriously, add a ruffle, tucks, something!) Also not excited about the color… maybe I’d like it if it was blue or pink, but grayish-yellow – bleck. 2/10

  2. I actually like the color, though I’m not usually big on yellows. I was a little unsure about the pink, but it’s okay, I suppose. I don’t really feel in love with it, but I kind of like it. It gets extra points for the great design and just being from the eighteenth century.

    Nine points out of ten.

  3. Well, I don’t particularly care for yellow, or pink, or the two together. And the ruffles are a bit much. I also feel like there is something a bit off about the proportions on the length of the top? Despite all this at first glance I really sort of liked it. Although, perhaps compared to last week, anything would look good? The more I look the more I feel there isn’t anything particularly special, but there also isn’t anything particularly bad about it either. I wouldn’t not wear the dress, but I am also not dying to have one in my closet either.


  4. I love the 18th century. I love caracos. I don’t mind yellow, even when paired with pink. But this is just blaaaahhhh. There’s just nothing strikingly nice about it, save the very basic pleating into fullness at the back of the jacket. Which is neither special nor extraordinary, just how this garment is typically made, but nice. The ruffles look squashed and unexciting instead of adding sumptuousness to the ensemble (as though someone figured, well, I *must* decorate this thing, but I’d really rather not), there isn’t enough pink to temper all that yellow (why bother including the pink at all?) and the proportion feels a touch oddly long in the front. Nothing awful–just nothing heart-fluttering, either.

    A 5. Because it is merely what it is. With a nice back.

  5. You have to see the garment up close to appreciate it, I think. Click the image, then click again for the full-size version. All of a sudden the stripes acquire some pizzaz and the pink some life.

    I do like the jacket, very much. The pink appears to have faded, and the yellow perhaps some too, and the ruches once upon a time likely had more body. In its first years, then, the jacket was probably handsome especially if paired with a gauzy neckerchief and perhaps a crossed scarf on top. Pair it with a pretty hat with some floating ribbons, pink and yellow shoes, and methinks the ensemble might wake up and sing.

    I’d liefer have a different skirt, though. This feels very country wear, and is probably more appropriate for a walk with the dogs than something with a flounce, but I’d dearly like some ruching below to balance the ruching above. Or perhaps a gauzy apron to break the expanse of stripe?

    Very best,

  6. Oops, forgot the score. I give it a 7, and a scolding to Versailles for failing to put a whole ensemble together so that we might see the dress in more of an original context.

    Very best,


  7. Elizabeth says

    When I looked at it the first time I was definitely drawn by the yellow color…I do LOVE yellow! But I did think it was kind of boring. However, I enlarged the picture and all the details came out! You really do have to see it enlarged to appreciate the subtle detailing. With that said, with 18th century clothing you kind of expect something a little more noticeable and spectacular. I don’t love it, but I do like it.


  8. ellipsisknits says

    I’m not entirely sure how something with that many ruffles can be boring, but somehow it is. Too narrow of a stripe perhaps? I rather like the silhouette from the back, but…blah.


  9. Stella says

    I like the colour, and I like the front view, but the back just doesn’t grab me somehow. 7/10

  10. Oddly plain, for 1780s. The color is okay (I suspect it was brighter but has faded), but it badly needs contrasting accessories; maybe a sash and a stomacher, and a lace fichu and ruffles for the sleeves. 6 as it is, 8 for the potential.

  11. I like the colour combination, at least here. I don’t like the shape of the skirt very much, and the length of the caraco combined with it, but I like the overall ensemble in spite of that. 7/10.

  12. I agree that its the age of the dress and uninspiring presentation that makes it look a bit dull. When it was bright and fresh and crisp and new I’m sure it was lovely. I’d like to see it in a contemporary painting, accessorised with a posy of pink roses and perhaps a pretty hat.

    7/10 – largely for what it could be

  13. Daniel says

    The colour combo is not my cup of tea, and I do love the style of this period, but while it DOES look fab enlarged, it’s a pretty challenging colour combo. A bit My Little Pony-ish.

    6.5/10 because I like it but don’t like the colours too much

  14. Hello! I’ve been enjoying your blog! Here’s what I thought about this dress:

    The yellow color is fun & cheerful, while the ruffles add a lot of cuteness. Though it’s rather simple and casual and no match for a more detailed & accessorized dress.


  15. I love it! Whenever I see yellow and pink together it’s absolutely neon and it makes me want to barf. Not this one..I love the muted pink color. I love the yellow stripes. I love the colors together! And the ruched trim is so beautiful.
    The back is amazing. I wonder how many yard of fabric are in the jacket??

    I give it a 10.

  16. 8/10 very pretty but not all that amazing. I actually like the yellow and pink I’m not sure if many could pull it off though.

  17. The bodice reminds me of a daffodil’s trumpet, the way the tabs and peplum frill almost organically. Very pretty in an untypical way. And yup, thanks for the hot tip to look closer, this dress definitely looks better in a bigger photo.
    I like it, because it is a bit different. But I don’t love it because I am a fabric junkie.

  18. I like it ok. Everyone else said all the things I was thinking. Great minds. 7/10

  19. I have to admit that at first glance, I liked it. Looking closer, I like it even more. But who thought of putting pink trim on it? The dress needs more contrast and the pink just isn’t doing it for me.

    On the upside, I love the silhouette.

    8/10 for the yellow and the silhouette.

    4/10 for the yucky pink trim and the lack of decoration.

    7/10 Overall.

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