Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Christina of Denmark (well, maybe) in 1570

Last week was all about tea and tea gowns, and the Rate the Dress was, appropriately enough, a tea gown.  It was rather popular, except with those of you who didn’t think it was tea gown-y enough, or those of you who simply didn’t like the idea of tea gowns, and thought it was too tea gown-y.  You can’t please everyone!  Still, it rated a very respectable 8.7 out of 10.

A long, long time ago, as my second Rate the Dress ever, you commented on Christina of Denmark as a teenager, and prospective bride, in mourning attire.  Unfortunately, the comments got lost in the blog switchover, and I don’t have a record of exactly what you thought!

Let’s see how Christina grew up.

Portrait of a Lady identified as Christina of Denmark, Dowager-Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, 1568-1572, by Anonymous French artist known as the Monogrammist G.E.C. fl. 1560-1575

Well, if this portrait actually is of Christina, not very well!  That beaky nose!  That sallow complexion!  At first I could not comprehend that it might be the same person, but on closer inspection, the deep set eyes, and the pronounced cheekbones are still there.  Of course, the eyes have switched from chocolate brown in Holbein’s portrait to hazel in this one, which is most suspicious!

Anyway, whether or not this is Christina is beside the point, because what I really want to know is, what do you think of the whoever-she-is’s taste in clothes?  The stiff, sharp sleeves?  The elaborate silver and gold metal bobbin lace?  The silk gauze sleeves? The touch of colour in the petticoat?  Just the thing for a noblewoman of a certain age?  Or just awful on any woman of any age?

Rate the Dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. Zach says

    Well, she may not be all that pretty to look at, but she does have a nice figure! I actually really like her dress–that trim is beautiful! It is a different style of dressing, but I like it for the era. It is a tad funny how poofy her bottom sleeves are, and the neck ruff looks somewhat uncomfortable, but they don’t detract from the entire outfit. Her hat is wonderful though! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a gown from that era, perfectly preserved?

    I’ll give it a ten out of ten!

  2. Laura says

    I like it. My favorite part on another garment would be the lower sleeves, but I feel they are jarring with the rest of the gown. I’m not into the dress with thick necks along with ruffs. But I think it’s pretty. I’ll give it a 7.

  3. Okay… I love the bodice and the skirt with its coral pink underskirt (because just because you’re in mourning doesn’t mean you can’t have fun clothes), but I do not love those sleeves. It’s that tight band on the oversleeves that’s putting me off. 8/10, though I’d probably give it the full 10 if the sleeves were different.

  4. The sheer sleeves are weeeeird. I’m fascinated, though – never seen anything from the 16th c. quite like that. I love the rest of her look, though. I’ll give it a 7

  5. I love the contrast between the coral and the black. The trim is also beautful. It is hard to coment on the size of the sleeves or the fact that her head is not correct to her body size beacause proportion had not been a concideration in paintings until much later. And any one who wrote ruffs I have great great appreacation for, they where fixed together with pins hundreds of them all over the neck and dress to hold it onto the to person once place in the dress. 8/10 from me.

  6. I can’t explain it, but I seem to have a great aversion to this dress. Somewhere between the neck ruff, the strange sleeves, the heavy black fabric with the even heavier metallic embroidered trim, I find myself cringing at the thought of trying to wear it. Even the pinkish contrast underskirt can’t save this one. Though it may have been different in the 1570’s, these days, just because you are a dowager dutchess doesn’t mean you have to dress like one. 3/10

  7. I rather like it. It’s sort of the costume ideas of the 1570s taken to an elegant extreme. 8 of 10 (because the transparent lower oversleeves are a bit too weird to be properly elegant).

  8. I’ve always loved clothes from that era no matter how uncomfortable they would have been. Love the embroidery, the colour of the underskirt lifts it. 9/10

  9. I kind of like the sheer sleeves, they’re very off-putting but in a good way. I’m not sure where I stand with the rest of the dress, but for the sleeves and trim, I’d say it’s a fair looking ensemble.



  10. I really like the colors and overall shape of the gown; the sheer lower sleeves make her arms look like they’re encased in plastic tubes or something, and it’s kind of upsetting me, haha. Sooo maybe we can compromise at 7?

  11. I love the whole thing. The ruff thing would hide a double chin! The colors work for me. The gauzy sleeves would keep you from over heating (not to mention they are pretty!) I love all the bling of the trim! It would be a show stopper if you showed up at a costume party in that! The only thing I would change is move the cuff of the upper sleeve down to hide my matronly arms. 9

  12. Elise says

    I can’t look at the dress because I’m too busy wanting to give this woman a hug.

  13. Black Tulip says

    I’m with Stella on this one. Like the underskirt, like the dress, like the trim, would really like the gauzy sleeves in another context, but the undersleeve/oversleeve join just doesn’t work.


  14. Seamstrix says

    I love this dress and would gladly wear it any day! That bobbin lace alone is roughly the equivalent of a performance sports car so she’s showing some serious bling which would have glistened in the light. I like the sheer under-sleeves and imagine the silk gauze would glisten slightly in the light as well. I loves me some sparkly/shiney!

    P.S. I don’t think it’s Christina- there are just too many bone structure differences from the younger portrait. In any case I think this woman had rockin’ style. 9/10

  15. Adela says

    Googleing around gives me 5 other portraits of Christina and they all have that nose and so does the portrait of her sister, daughter and mother. Holbein’s seems to be the exception but his is more face on less profile.

  16. Lynne says

    This is one of those scary paintings in which the proportions are all up the creek. Her head is about the same size as her upper body. This makes the very wide braid/embroidered strips look even more out of proportion – more decoration than body. If you slide the picture up until the lady’s head is cut off, this is kinder to the dress, which then looks pretty good, give or take the puffed tops to the decorated sleeves which may again be victims of the artist’s proportion problems. 7 out of 10.

  17. Overall I like most of the dress. I like the style. I like the embellishments. I really like the hat. Not sure about the orange petticoat or the sleeves. At least not all together. Also not a fan of the neck ruffles, though I do realize that was the thing to wear back in the day, so no points off for that.

    I dither…. Ummmm….. Hmmmm…..


  18. Daniel says

    Gonna have to say 6.5/10 here, magnificent as it is, I think the proportions are all a bit out of whack and that’s throwing it off. Lovely contrast of rosy pink and intense black and love the contrast of the heavy braiding against the fabrics, love the gold embroidery against the white gauze too though not sure they go together properly. I want to rate it higher but something is preventing me and am not sure what.

  19. I don’t know why, but my immediate, gut reaction is that she looks like a Muppet. I think it might be because the proportions are all goofy, but I keep trying to rate the dress and just want to rate the Muppet instead.

    So. This is the best Muppet costume I have ever seen.

    There. That’s out of my system.

    The dress itself…it’s nice enough. I like the unusual elements of the sheer sleeves and the peachy petticoat, so I’ll throw a 7 at it even though the upper sleeves look like they’re trying to vie with the ruff to eat her face. Her very large, disproportionate face.

  20. The Mad Purple Chicken says

    Wow, that’s really, really weird. The sleeves have brought my brain to a screeching halt and I’m having trouble forming an opinion on them, I think I like them, in any case the are better than 1830’s sleeves. I like the trim and the little pairs of pearls. I like her hair, her french hood, and that really cool earring. The shoulder UFO’s are very interesting, the cuffs are lovely and the pomander tassel thingy is fabulous.

    However I think the ruff is a bit too high and the whole outfit makes her head look a bit to big(Down with the bloody big head!).
    While the embroidery on the petticoat is stunning, it doesn’t go very well with the black.

    The necklace is nice but it’s confusing me. Is the stonehenge/teddy bear/gingerbread man thing on her pendant supposed to represent anything, or is it just a random arrangement of gems?

    I’m feeling quite mixed up about this outfit, I guess it gets an 8.

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