19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Worth of 1875

UPDATE: Five months late I am happy to tell you that Anne of Denmark rated a 7.5 out of 10, and that while not all of you loved the dress as a dress, you all agreed that Anne was rocking it, and had the attitude to pull off pretty much anything.  Sounds like Anne grew into her style!

I think this Worth afternoon dress transitions nicely from Anne of Denmark’s dress last week.  There is something every so slightly reminiscent of the early 17th century in the deep neckline and the front bow, and the whole extremely sculpted silhouette is something it shares with the late Elizabethan.

The overall look, however, is quite late Victorian, with its abundance of construction details and overall impression of upholstery.  You rather liked our last ‘upholstery’ Rate the Dress.  What do you think of this one?

Evening Dress, Charles Frederick Worth, ca 1875, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evening Dress, Charles Frederick Worth, ca 1875, Metropolitan Museum of Art

How do you feel about the two shades of dark teal green with touches of gold?  The bows front and back?  The asymmetrical fringed apron drape?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10


  1. Chante says

    I love the color, the shape, the bows, the neckline, and the wee little tuxedo-esque tails in the back. I hate the apron thing. It looks like a left-over piece of curtain. 6.5

  2. Lynne says

    I do like this. Love the fabric and the colours. I don’t love the fringed apron drape. It cuts the skirt in half. Mind, I have spent my life trying to look taller. Maybe this lady was already there!

    8 out of 10.

  3. 7/10 – This looks like battle armor to me, the texture of the top, the rigidity of the whole silhouette. The only part I actually dislike is the asymmetrical fringed apron drape, but I have a feeling that it was necessary in it’s period to modify the otherwise pure bell shaped lines of the dress. Perhaps the colors that show on my display are not true – it is certain that the very slightly yellower green of the skirt and bodice trim don’t seem optimal for the rich teal of the gold embroidered? bodice and train fabric – which is so amazingly over the top. The lines and some details do recall the late 17th & very early 18th century gowns of Louis XIV’s court and the ‘First Churchills’ series later episodes.

  4. I love the gold flecking on the bodice and back of the skirt, but it needs to lose the drape, or at least the fringe, which is reminiscent of a poorly made bed in a cheap motel. 8/10

  5. Ooh yes, I love it. I’m okay with the apron drape, but I’m not sure about the fringe. I’m still going to give it 10/10 though. The colours are just stunning.

  6. That is stunningly gorgeous. I’ve always been partial to green, but this creation does my favourite colour some real justice!

  7. I just found your blog about a week ago and have already read through all of the back posts…you do amazing work! It is very inspiring…maybe I’ll finally tackle that 18th century short gown I’ve had the pattern and fabric for for ages.

    As for the dress…well, aside from the fact that Worth is possibly my favorite designer, I love the entire look of the gown. The front drape with the fringe is by far my favorite feature. It adds a bit of fun somehow by giving a hint of upholstery without going too far. I also love the contrast of the fabrics. In the front view, I wasn’t so sure about them, but from the back, I love it!

  8. Zip Zip says

    Mmm, Worth may have been in creative mode on the back, and in bored “whatever” mode on the front. Had he used piped trim in teal, with some flecking on the front, instead of the same-old, same-old fringe, the dress would have hung better together, methinks. The asymmetric drape forecasts the 1880s, but doesn’t work well here. Perhaps rows of piping and kilting instead down the front, or just a symmetric apron.

    7 out of 10

  9. 10/10!! (Can I give it any higher?)
    This is one of my very favorite bustle era dresses. I have been pining over recreating it for a few years now. It’s just… perfect! It’s semi-simple in comparison to other dresses of the period, yet it’s so elegant. The double point at the back of the bodice is a lovely detail. And the dark blue, light green, and gold are a marvelous combination. So good! But it is a Worth, after all 🙂

  10. Oooo! I do love this dress. I especially love the back-it’s pretty stunning! The back is certainly better than the front, with the weird bow. I give it 8/10.

  11. It’s like a Franken-dress! Seriously!

    “Angry Sue chopped up both of her sister, Charlotte’s, ballgowns in a blind rage, leaving only remnants of fabric and a gown-less sister. The ball was in two days, so Charlotte and her mother took what wasn’t completely unusable from the two gowns and made one out of it. The result is seen above.”

    Is that teal? Which one? I’m afraid my color vocabulary is somewhat lacking. We actually had a discussion about that eons ago in high school, having all the guys guess what this one color was (it was during a short break in the class). I, having no earthly idea, guessed “hot pink,” but never again will I mistake fushia for what it is. To me that dress looks like dark blue and light green, so I’ll just go with that, for the sake of my sanity.

    Anyway, that really looks like two different dresses turned into one–I don’t think any of it looks good together. The “blue” and gold would make a very pretty dress, and the shape of the bodice is just magnificent. The skirt, on the other hand, is ugly. It looks like a dog attacked it and they tried to put a piece of those ugly green curtains over the tear, or something. Also, it has fringe. Ugly fringe. Hideous fringe. It isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m going to give Mr. Worth the benifit of the doubt and say someone put something in his, causing him to freak out and run to the curtain section of the nearest craft store.

    Six out of ten. (Very generous! I just love the “blue” and gold part and the bodice construction.)

    • Hayley says

      Totally agree. 5/10 because the ‘blue’ section of the dress is breathtaking, but the teal 1970s curtains section just doesn’t go.

      I don’t understand the choice of teal to go with midnight blue and gold. Maybe if the skirt were gold instead it wouldn’t be so jarring to the eye.

  12. I love the way it hugs the mannequin; if it fit its owner that way, wow!

    I don’t care for the asymetrical front drape–it looks as though it needs adjustment, not like a fashion statement I also don’t care much for the shade of green used for the skirt and trim (should have been a bit darker), though the contrast with the dark blue is nice. And Chuck should have lost the bow on the bodice.

    Other than that, I rather like it . 7.5 of 10.

  13. SilkSmuggler says

    I LOVE THIS!!! I love Worth as a rule, and this period, but this dress is just perfect in my estimation. Its my colours, I love the neck line, I love the pleated ruffle, I love the back.


  14. My husband just said – “That’s a gorgeous dress” so add a 10/10! Actually he had a lot of complements about the dress.

  15. sandra says

    I love this dress. I would wear itnow without the fringe in th front. Definitely a 9.8 from me

  16. Tenshi says

    It’s Worth, and it shows. Nearly everything he ever made is perfection, and this is no exception. I am in love with the somewhat unexpected colour palette, the raizorsharp tailoring, the simplicity of the lines and surprising richness of the blue-gold fabric. 10/10, and if I could, I would rate it even higher. Love, love, love!

  17. The swag is not my favorite part but I think it needs to be there if it was to be the cutting edge of fashion of its time. I would love to have seen it in its day….I’m thinking there has been some fading. 9/10

  18. I love it. I would wear it. It’s not perfect, (I don’t like the fringe in the front, or the little tails in the back) but nothing ever is. 10/10

  19. Seriously, everyone? It looks like two dresses had an accident with a pair of curtains.

    The shape and structure is amazing … the fabrics, colours and trim are awful. Both the top/bottom of the front and the front/back look like they belong to two separate dresses.

    5/10, saved only by the amazing shape.

    • Elise says

      Ok–I’m in! Since we have different tastes, I’ll just take this dress, and then not feel bad if you take a dress I don’t care for. This is a perfect arrangement!

  20. Caroline says

    I love Worth and I love this dress. At first I wasn’t sure about the gold, but then I thought about it sparkling in the Candlelight! The only problem is the asymmetry of the drape. 9

  21. Kylie says

    Love it – all except the weird asymetrical draping, the looks like someone broke the dress. An easy 8/10.

  22. Daniel says

    I love the back view. I love the steampunk bodice. I’m not so sure about the colour combination, but I love the modern steampunkishness. However, I do not love that shade of solid green and the fringe and pleated frilling is a combination I find just a wee bit irritating for some reason. But I do like how it looks really quite modern, bodice wise – if this were in cream tones, it would be a totally contemporary looking bridal gown.

    Love the cut. Really not loving the green. Gonna have to say 7/10 here as that green is not for me at all…

  23. I really like the shape of this and the clean, tailored lines. (Though I’d probably nix the bow on the bodice.) However I don’t care for the colour combination… or maybe it’s the combination of the print with the wide swathes of solid.

    I think were it made in two solid fabrics, or a solid with a *very* subtle print/texture as contrast, I would love it. But as is, I can only manage to say 7/10, and again, mostly for the lovely lines.

  24. Laurel Parker says

    Once you’ve seen Worth gowns in person, you can never see them quite like you did before. No one in history has ever done design – or workmanship as impeccably as the House of Worth. This dress is a complex cut and a daring color combination, but the overall effect somehow soothes. That is Worth. There’s a reason he was the first to put labels in his clothes.

  25. This is amongst my (many) favorite gowns. I don’t usually like fringe as ornamentation at all in this period, but it does not subtract from the loveliness of this gown. Complete 10. I love the colors, the patterns, the shape.

    • I was surprised at the array of people questioning the color palate. While I don’t do gold in general, I mix dark blues and watery teals often. I love the color combo.

  26. Claire Payne says

    At last, a Worth. I am longing for a good book packed with photos of his work so this week’s rate the dress is a real treat. I love everything about it except for the fringe. The fringe ruins what would otherwise be perfection. 9/10 from me.

  27. I love it. Sometimes I want to tell Worth to back off a little and just trust simplicity…and this is just sumptuous without being over the top. I love the colors. I love the structure in the front and the details on the bodice. My only gripe is that I don’t look good in that color green. No fair. I can’t steal this dress and wear it.


  28. I don’t like the assymetrical fringed apron drape. Other than that -little-detail-, it’s *swoonworthy*.
    Aww. Love the colours!

  29. The Mad Purple Chicken says

    Cool. When I saw the top I immediately thought “super hero”, awesome silhouette, awesome bodice and fantastic fabric combination. I would never think to put those two fabrics together but they work beautifully, Worth is a genius!

    However, the fringe is unforgivable, it’s like someone slashed it with a mop. I know that makes no sense but neither does the fringe thing, so disruptive and random, it totally kills the front of the skirt.


  30. The colours are ‘my colours’, and fit-wise I love the bodice and I love the back, all of it!
    However I am a little -a lot, actually- put off by the front of the skirt, the fringe makes it look like the cheap’n’nasty comfy chairs we had in my first student flat in the UK!

    Therefore it’s a 7/10 from me.

  31. Geoffwah says

    There is so much right with this dress that it’s almost a shame to mention any of the downsides about it.

    Nevertheless, here goes:

    My main trouble here is the fabric for the skirt. Alone it isn’t a terrible color. But combined with the intrigue of the jacket and bodice, the hue doesn’t quite match up in value. The blue of the jacket is more vibrant and the green doesn’t live up to it, containing far too much gray to belong in the same dress. Also, as Stef and others above have mentioned, the ruffle on the hem is both ill-considered and, being the exact same fabric as the rest of the skirt, gives me a home-spun dust ruffle feeling, which doesn’t fit the structured drama of everything above and behind it.

    Speaking of which, the jacket and bodice are just divine, in delicious navy and gold scales. The cut of the neckline, the collar, even the trim and the bow, are de-lovely and the fit and style of the upper portion seem oddly fashionable even now. I can’t say enough about the back of the dress. It’s just breathtakingly done, and gives the feeling of water cascading into a pool of amazing. I would love to have seen this done with either a bluer green or a more yellow green like a chartreuse or even shot silk with a blue or gold weft. That may just be my modern eyes, though.

    The silhouette is unbelievable, and even though the hem makes me want to dig my eyes out with a grapefruit spoon, I’m going to have to 8.5 this dress.

  32. Jordan says

    I love everything about this! 10/10

    I think the fringed apron on the front sort of lends a real life element to the what is otherwise a rather stiff dress (which I do like!!) I think it softens the strong lines a little bit by distracting the eye a bit. Ooooh those lines.

    I’m going to go faint in the corner.

  33. Sophie says

    I’ve been repeatedly told never to wear green with blue… but I still like the dress. If only the front didn’t look like another Scarlett dressed in her curtains!

    • Ok….I didn’t realize this was an old one until I posted my comment…I thought it was a new post…

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