20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress – When Ladies Meet in 1933

Last week Anna Karolina’s pretty princess dress got lots of love.  Someone even described it as “possibly the most perfect dress ever”.  Wowzers!  Still, there are always a few who are a little less impressed, so that brought it from a perfect 10/10 to a still bloomin’ impressive 9.6 out of 10, the best we’ve seen in a long while.

I’m thinking 1930s this week.  Partly it’s because I’ve been showing you my 1930s patterns, partly it’s because my Goldilocks blouse feels 1930s even though the pattern was published in the 40s (do I think it was an earlier pattern that they re-published in the 40s with earlier illustrations?  Yes I do!), and partly it’s because I just bought the most delicious fabric for a future 1930s garment.

So, a ’30s Rate the Dress.

This is Myrna Loy in the pre-code 1933 ‘When Ladies Meet’, about a very ‘modern’ writer who isn’t fussed that her crush has a wife – until she meets the wife.

Myrna Loy in When Ladies Meet (1933)

Myrna Loy in 'When Ladies Meet' (1933)

Myrna Loy with Ann Harding and Alice Brady in ' When Ladies Meet.'

Myrna’s trademark outfit for the film was this white number with spotted trim.  What do you think?  Modern and liberated, just like her character?  And just feminine enough to make a good effort at snaring a man who should be devoted to another woman?  Or are all those ruffles and spots just a bit silly?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.  



  1. Carolyn says

    I like this dress, but it doesn’t seem to me to be telling the story of a progressive career woman. It doesn’t seem to be the dress of a would-be seductress either. Not sure if its the polka-dots or the ruffles or both together, but something in this just doesn’t do it for me. 5/10.

  2. Zach says

    I love it! When I first started reading your blog, I actually hated 30s gowns, but my opinion changed quite a bit there. Now I love them! It fits her wonderfully, and the polka-dots are great–somehow everytime I see them, though, I think of Lucy (from I Love Lucy), which isn’t a bad thing. The simplicity is also lovely; I love over the top, but simple things catch my eye pretty often as well.

    Ten out of ten.

  3. No, they don’t look silly, I think. I like the simple bottom with the more frilly top. Emancipated – I’m not sure, and seductive – I’m even less sure. Clean, fresh, and a little playful – 9 out of 10.

  4. I often wonder which decade I would have loved to have lived in, and the Thirties is always in the Top 5!
    I have to give this a 9 out of 10, it would be a 10 if there were no ruffles. It’s smart, clean, elegant, sassy – especially paired with her hair! I never think long-ish skirts would look good on me but I am prepared to try one like this. I think this dress is glorious! I am also going to try and watch the film, as I am intrigued by the plot. Many thanks for posting this!

    • Elise says

      That’s how I feel: sassy and clean at the same time. I am feeling closer to 8 /10

  5. I like the simplicity of it, but there isn’t anything particularly special that makes me want to give it a high rating. I think it is pretty but not particularly memorable.


  6. Lynne says

    My admiration goes to Myrna and that skirt! There is narry a bump or a bulge. Okay, she’s a slender little thing, but there is a good foundation garment going on under that.

    The seeming-yards of sleek, simple skirt balance the rather busy top. Rather nice. 7 out of 10.

  7. I love the skirt part, but the top is too ruffly and spotty for me; somehow it doesn’t work with the bottom.

  8. I love this dress. From the kimono sleeves to the tie-neck to the straight cut but slightly fluted skirt it’s quintessentially 1930s! And the hat! Oh the hat! I give it 10/10.

  9. Lisa F. says

    I like the look of the dress especially the skirt along with the shoes and stockings. I have always liked colored stockings even today. The shirt is okay. I do like the polka dots but it doesn’t scream sexy if that is what her character is suppose to be. I would give the dress 8 out of 10.

  10. Eh, 7 or 8/10? I like it a lot, but I feel like I should like it more than I do? Does that make sense? It feels like the sort of thing I’d love in theory, but something isn’t doing it for me.

  11. Not a fan of the 30s. Those dresses really only look good on slender figures. And it does look good on her. I think that it makes her look playful which might entice a man away from his duties I think. 6….mostly because it looks good on her but does nothing for me.

  12. Myrna Loy looks great in everything…which makes rating the dress hard, because I would probably be inclined to rate a brown paper bag at least a 5 if she was showing it off with the right hair and accessories!

    It’s a sweet yet grown-up, classic 30s style. I love the ruffles for the movement they add and the contrast in the fabric. But compare this to, say, some of her Thin Man costumes…and it falls kinda flat.

    An 8 for a very nice dress 🙂

  13. Daniel says

    Given the ever increasing volumes of voters I’d say anything over a 9 is close enough to a 10 to be pretty nigh perfect.

    As for Myrna’s dress – Saggy boobs, I’m afraid. Slinky skirt and nice shape, but the polka dots and ditsy ruffles and the slightly saggy boobs aren’t really statement-y enough, so I’m gonna say 6/10 for this. Nice dress, but a little lacking in verve – I’m sure Myrna Loy more than compensated for that though! I suspect it’s one of those dresses where, as Jean Muir once said, “The woman makes a statement and the dress helps”, although as I’ve never seen Myrna Loy in action, (SHOCKING I KNOW) I can’t really comment on that.

    • That’s exactly how I feel. I don’t think we’ll ever get another 10/10.

      I hadn’t actually seen Myrna Loy in action myself until recently. I can see why some people love her so much, but her acting style didn’t light my fires.

  14. Laura says

    The 30s are not my favorite (heresy, I know!), but this mostly has the things I like about the 30s and not the things that I don’t. It’s just lovely, and I give it a 9.

    I did really like last week’s, but it missed being a 10 for being a little too simple/iconic. I’d love to see what different people would put up with the question “which dresses are a 10 for you?”

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