20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Golf wear for 1917

Last week’s extremely red Elise dress was very popular with most of you, coming in at 8.3 out of 10.

I can’t say I thought it deserved that rating: to me it looked like Elise asked her clients to each list the things they wanted in a dress and when it came time to make one client’s dress she realised she didn’t know whose list belonged to whom, so Elise used them all to create the dress.  So some of the ideas were brilliant (that train!), and some were naff (the weird scrunching), but they certainly shouldn’t have all been on one dress!  But that was just my opinion, and the fun of Rate the Dress is in the range of tastes!

I’ve had a request to do more sportswear for ‘Rate the Dress.’  That fits in perfectly with the NZ Summer theme that I wanted to go for, so here is my first offering, a golfing outfit from 1917

Woman in golf clothes holding a golf club. 1917, NYPL

Alas, it is in black and white, and all we know is that the hat is in green and white.  You’ll have to colour the rest of the suit in your imagination.  The caption describes the ensemble as ‘fetching’.  Do you agree?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.


  1. I love the shape of the jacket and skirt, particularly of the collar. But I think the small check of the cap clashes with the striping of the rest of the suit–it should have been solid white instead. Otherwise, I like it. 9 of 10.

  2. I dislike golf…but, if I had this outfit, I’d be out on the greens immediately!

    Like Catherine, I do think the check of the cap clashes – so that deducts. 9 / 10

  3. I like this outfit, but there isn’t anything that really stands out and makes me fall in love with it. I do think it is cute, but don’t really have many feelings beyond that.


  4. Yay, I absolutely love WWI clothes! Here, the full skirt, the tiny buttons, the use of stripes – all fabulous. 10/10.

  5. Yes, I love it! I would wear it!. I give it a 9, just because the hat might not work in real life.

  6. “Well, I cannot wait to get out on the links–but I do wish I could figure out what happened to that spouted saucepan I had out this morning. Where could it be…and gracious! but my hat feels heavy.”

    Aside from the kind of silly cap, it’s a simple, pleasant ensemble that’s actually conducive to the activity it was designed for (bonus! I mean–how many times do you see a “sporting outfit” that no one could move in or a “dinner dress” that you couldn’t eat a morsel of food in the bodice?). It’ s a bit overly-simple-looking on paper, but I imagine that the silk and the diagonal stripes would make for a lovely skirt in motion–when she takes a hearty swing with her club! However, I’m finding the repetitive nature of the diagonal stripes recurring in the outfit a bit uninspired. So, a 6, for a nicer-than-simply-average, serviceable outfit.

  7. Daniel says

    LOVE this era. Think it’s so underrated and it always amazes me how wearable so much of it still looks now, you could easily go out in this outfit now and nobody would think you looked strange. Stripes: yay! It’s quite simple, but I think the simplicity has charm. It’s a 10/10 from me because it is so tough to do a proper “simple” outfit that doesn’t look boring, bland or uninspired, or worse, date super-fast, and for me, the World War I outfits managed to nail this to perfection.

    • Daniel says

      Well, perhaps not the hat though – but I dunno, without the chinstrap it looks quite a current shape.

  8. Zach says

    That’s really cute! I’m not sure about the hat, but it might actually work well. I love the frivolous and over-done, but simple things are nice every now and again too.

  9. Lynne says

    What the well-to-do were wearing during WWI. The Tommy Atkins chin strap is a token nod to the boys in the trenches, and the hat had a practical side – early golf-links were beside the sea, and land and sea breezes could blow your hat off when had both hands and your mind on your golf club. The skirt could do a Marilyn on you in those circumstances, mind you. No sign of austerity there. Lots of silk in a dynamic diagonal design. Green and cream or white, maybe. Could be very pretty, and I love the shoes! Black and white? Dark green and white? I’d wear them now! I think it’s a very attractive jacket and skirt, of its time. Nicely balanced, and more ‘pretty’ than we might think of sportswear now. 8/10

  10. I love it! The shoes are especially fetching! I actually like the hat too. It’s a little spunky. 🙂

    9 out of 10

  11. Laurel Parker says

    I am with Daniel about the era being wonderful and underrated. However, I think this is one of the worst examples of the period I’ve ever seen. As a retried milliner, I have an aversion for sewn hats, and this is one of the worst I ever saw. I also dont like the bold diagonal stripe. Nor would I want it in green and white. Love white and green is my favorite color, but together – they call for a tiny drop of retsin ( for non-Americans – that comes from an ad for breath mints) . What I do like is the collar. Diagonal stripes are at their best on collars and it drapes very prettily across the shoulders. Love the shoes too, but they’re typical for the period. Dislike the cinched in waist. I prefer the belt sort of floating, like they so often were then. Worst of all is the assymetricl hem, which I suspect is the work of the artist and not what the dress really looked like. Won’t consciously grade on that, though it does affect my over all opinion

    I give it a 2, because the overall effect is downright ugly and I think a designer had to work hard to make an ugly outfit in that time period.

  12. I think it is ka ka. I’m not a fan of the era. I hate golf. Ladies who did like golf would be trying not have that skirt blow up over the watering can they had on their heads. The stripe tie on the jacket does not hide the fact that it is a shapeless sack (shapeless sacks were coming in which is why I don’t like that era). 1/10 It gets the one for the cute shoes.

  13. Caroline says

    I like this era. Not really a fan of this hat though… hmm. I feel like the collar is a bit weird from this angle and I find the balloon like qualities of the center front of the blouse a touch confusing. Still, all in all I do like it and would make a tweaked version 7/10

  14. I’m going to say that the hat is making this for me. Loving the collar and small button combos- 9/10

  15. The word golf and the hat puts me off. But the stripes sound interesting.

    • I can’t say the golf part does anything for me either. 😉 I think of it as walking around a beautiful garden swinging a stick and it sounds so much more appealing!

  16. ellipsisknits says

    Not really my favorite era, particularly for casual things, but nothing about it’s really offensive.

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