18th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Anna Karolina in blue

A few of you like the red floral and striped 1890s dress last week, but most of you found it well, frankly headache inducing, or even more frankly, umm…anatomically suggestive.  I was NOT expecting that!  Eye-strain or brain-stain, the dress raked in a barely positive  5.9  out of 10.

This week I’m going from anatomically suggestive dress to someone who probably would have enjoyed the suggestion.

Anna Karolina Orzelska, the illegitemate daughter of Augustus II of Saxony and Poland, is shown in a blue dress with silver trimmings.  Anna was an ‘adventuress’ (was there ever a more evocative description?) known for her beauty, uncanny resemblance to her father, and scandalous behaviour – quite a feat considering she lived at the wildest court in early 18th century Europe!

Antoine Pesne, Portrait of Anna Orzelska with a pug, circa 1728, National Museum, Warsaw

via Wikimedia Commons

When not posing in pretty (?) blue dresses Anna entertained herself by drinking, smoking, dressing like a man, and having numerous affairs, including one with the future Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Her life was certainly wild and unconventional, but what do you think of her dress?  Does it manage to capture her distinctive personality in an elegant and attractive way, or is it a bog-standard early 18th century princess dress, lacking taste and originality in its execution?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.


  1. Elise says

    I just ADORE the first half of the 18th century! (First half and last 15 years, especially!) And I just ADORE this dress. It’s so geometrically balanced as the bodice lace matches the shape of the skirt, and how the silver of the dress is echoed in the sleeves. And it would look beautiful on me. 10/10

    And regarding the last dress–hahahahahahahahaha!

  2. Zach says

    Oh, I love it! While it can’t always beat my favorite (green), blue frequently comes as a close second. Some things just look better in blue, like cars, and this dress is no exception, in my mind, anyway. Silver and blue is actually one of my favorite combinations. It reminds me of night.

    Ten out of ten. Did anyone notice how it looks like the dog has a beard, or is it just me?

    • The Mad Purple Chicken says

      I don’t think it’s a beard, just a shadow on a wrinkly neck that the artist made too dark. It does look funny though.

  3. “drinking, smoking, dressing like a man, and having numerous affairs”

    Sounds like a life I’d like, as well as a dress I love. 9/1o for the dress, 10/1o for Anna!

  4. Stella says

    I’m giving this dress the full 10/10. It’s partly because I love the colour with the contrasting underskirt and embroidery, but also because I’m a die-hard 18th century fan and therefore the style appeals.

  5. I think this dress is gorgeous, it shows enough to suggest at her personality while at the same time being stylish for the time and pretty. 10/10

  6. AmyR says

    It is a fairly standard configuration, though the embellishment of the blue sections where they part in the front is quite nice. I will give it 9/10 for period, but 6/10 for displaying her unique qualities, I am afraid.

  7. Daniel says

    That’s stunning. Gorgeous shade of blue in a gorgeous satin fabric, accented perfectly with just the right amount of silver embroidery and a hint of silver tissue in the petticoat. It’s not overblown or overdone, just the right quantity of fabric, embellishment and everything. It also helps that the wearer has such a great expression, she looks mischievous and ironic and it makes the dress even more delightful. I’m gonna say 10/10, it’s just fabulous.

  8. Lynne says

    10/10. Oh, she is beautiful! And she has chosen a dress that suits her beauty perfectly. The colour is so right with her dark hair, and the blue makes that glorious expanse of alabaster ‘upper chest’ look luminous.

    The lace of the neckline, the embroidery on the skirt – just beautiful.

    And the hair is so pretty – look at those two little kiss-curls on the forehead. If she was such an adventuress, maybe the wee curls are meant to suggest horns – the cuckolding of unsuspecting wives. Usually shown on a husband who has been cuckolded, of course, but I’m sure the allusion would be understood.

  9. Gorgeous! I would TOTALLY wear that dress. I want it! The colour is stunning and I love the embroidery down the front of the skirt. So, so pretty. She has a very knowing look, too.

    10 out of 10 from me!

  10. Definitely don’t approve of her lifestyle, but the dress is absolutely beautiful. I love blue, and I love blue and silver even more! I’d totally wear that dress. Every single day. 10/10.

  11. I give it a 10 too! Early 18th century is so pretty- I wish I could pull it off!

  12. Tourbillion says

    I am a cat, so I find her choice of a “dog” revolting. However the dress is very lovely. It could use trim hanging off it for me to attack. I would like to hide under the skirt. I am giving it an 8 because it looks a lot like Queen Elizabeth Christine’s blue dress (the countess does it better though) and I could accidentally attack the Queen by mistake. What a faux pas!

    • The Mad Purple Chicken says

      Congratulations for operating a computer without opposable thumbs.

  13. 10/10 for the dress itself. And on her figure and colouring. But on her personality? Not so much. Blue is a heavenly colour, is it not?

    Still, 10/10 for the dress, because it’s so fabulous, well-proportioned (nice change from last week 🙂 and of course I love the colour! Also, there’s something interesting going on with the collar and cuffs. Some hints of the male costume she liked wearing?

  14. Blue and silver is such a pretty combination! But I’m not a fan of the random bits of orange. This dress also hit the sweet spot with the skirt silhouette – all round and romantic. Although, -1 for having the world’s worst accessory: sad pug. 8/10

  15. I *love* the dress. It is very tasteful, but the shade of blue makes it distinctive all the same. A 10, and I’d wear it in a hot second if I could make or buy a duplicate in my size.

  16. That is just the loveliest shade of blue–and the silver and blue and little dab of pink from the flowers and her shoes (!) is just so harmonious. Between the understated but beautiful trim, it hits the sweet spot of delicate without losing substance. I actually love that she’s left her neckline bare–the contrast between her fair skin and the deep blue is all the adornment it needs. My only complaint–her head looks kind of tiny and she could have done something a little less blah with her hair (the flowers protruding from her head don’t do much for me)…but the dress earns 9.5/10 for just about perfect.

  17. Cheyene says



    It’s certainly getting high scores!

    But that dog- ugh- that dog! WHAT is dripping all over her arm?! Does it have a beard, as Zach pointed out it looking like? Oh, I just made the image bigger, and it is just the front paw over her arm. But the dog looks like a cross with a monkey.

    Other than the dog (Which I definitely don’t count as an outfit accessory ) I love it.

  18. Carolyn says

    Pretty, pretty dress. Love the blue/silver combo. Looks like a princess dress, but not a sugar-sweet Disney one. Definitely a dress for a grown woman of a mischevious temperament. 10/10.

  19. Judi says

    Love it. 10. It reminds me of an illustration in an early (pre-Disney) Cinderella story that I remember from my childhood.

    • Elise says

      Aren’t non-Disney illustrations wonderful?

  20. Jamie says

    Well, it may be standard or not have anything too out of the ordinary (compared to some others… @_@ ), but I really like it! I like the edging on the front split part, and the fabric of the skirt underneath. The blue of the dress is wonderful! The flowers on the bust are a bit odd-looking to me, but I’m sure it’s normal! 😉 The cane seems a little out of character, or maybe she’s trying to be unconventional? It’s fun nonetheless. The dog is adorable, but the creepy statues in the back aren’t. Hahah.


    (Hah, sorry, I couldn’t help pointing out what jumped to mind last week. 😉 )

  21. I rate it a ten.

    I love the color, the style, the detail. If I was an 18th century miss, this would be in my wardrobe.


  22. The Mad Purple Chicken says


    Another dress to add to my list of to-die-for costumes.

    It’s stunning, I love the colour, the embroidery, the cuffs, the unusual collar, everything! Kind of a shame that the silly little dog blocks the view of the bodice.

    As others have noted, there is something slightly masculine about the collar and cuffs, but, didn’t anyone see the POCKET FLAPS!


    • I was waiting for someone to notice those! They are so clever, and ridiculous, and I don’t think I have ever seen them on a dress before.

    • I figured it out after my comment was posted, and since I have an annoying habit of replying to my own comments to add things I realised too late, I did not bother this time… 😀

  23. love the colours…they look luxurious.
    That poor dog doesn’t look happy. lol

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