19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Winter Fantasy

I was quite surprised by the very enthusiastic response to Queen Adelaide last week.  The 1830s are usually so unpopular, and Adelaide’s velvet and lace dress had so much potential for ridicule, and yet so many of you loved it, giving it an 8.4 out of 10.  Sweets to the sweet then!

This week I thought I’d carry on the zig-zag vandyked theme that we have had for the last few weeks, and (since it is Christmas), give you a bonus double rate the dress.    What do you think of these two young ladies and their festive skating attire?

Skating, late 1860s

I don’t know a great deal about this artwork.  Based on the overall silhouettes and the trim on the garments, I think it’s late 1860s, and I doubt it was really intended to be literally copied in actual garments, but, hey, every once in a while we can have a little fun with fantasy!

Are our heroines having fun with fantasty?  How would you rate each of their frocks?  Do you prefer the blonde in her fur-trimmed green jacket and pink and red skirt with vandykes and pleating?  Or the brunette in her red military inspired jacket, with blue-grey skirt and yellow gloves?  Are they a perfect holiday scene, or a terrible example of Victorian mis-matching?

Rate the Dresses on a Scale of 1 to 10


  1. Overall, I like the brunette’s ensemble the best, the blond just isn’t jiving with me. 🙂 Maybe it’s the combination of springy colors with winter green and fur… I don’t know! But the brunette’s ensemble is much more agreeable to me, with the grey accenting the red, Beautiful!
    Brunette: 9
    Blondie: 5
    overall rating: 7

  2. 8/10 to each. The blonde looks very Elf on a Shelf cute and I love military inspiration, but I don’t love the underskirts with their respective jackets.

  3. I love the shorter more practical skirts for skating. I like all the individual pieces but do hate the mismatching. I’ll give a 7/10

  4. Louisa says

    I love the brunette’s outfit. I think the color combination is bright and festive and would work all winter long, and the jacket details are so fun! I’m not really sure what’s going on with the giant feather in her cap, but it reminds me of Hermes/Mercury so I’ll take it. 9/10!

    Sadly, I’m not a big fan of the blonde’s outfit. The color combination is definitely festive and I’m guessing the brown fur trim would look pretty nice in real life- I do really like her coat! But the pink zigzag underskirt clashes to me, and reminds me too much of these vintage elf figurines: http://blog.rubylane.com/files/u3/er-elves-pixies-japan-christmas_260679648581.jpg She gets a 6/10.

    What about the kids in the background? The girl’s outfit is pretty cute- I really do like the grey, red & yellow of the brunette’s outfit echoed here! And I think the colors in the boy’s outfit show how much nicer the blonde’s outfit would look without that pink layer!

  5. These are so sweet, but the brunette’s ensemble gets the higher rating from me. There’s just so much going on for the blonde’s outfit that I don’t know where to look. 8/10 for the brunette, 7/10 for the blonde. I do love the fur-trimming on the green jacket, but the mis-matching for the rest of it hurts my eyes. It would be fun to wear a fluffy petticoat for skating. Assuming things didn’t fly upward during a fall, there’d be plenty of padding to keep extremities from getting scraped up.

  6. I love the brunette’s outfit – corded jackets are one of my soft spots, and so is blue-grey… 9/10, one point down for the weird batty feather on her hat.
    Blonde… is kind of ridiculous. I keep finding ridiculous things about her attire. Look, her muff looks like a spool of thread! Seriously! 😀

  7. I’m feeling so very Christmas-y today that I can’t find anything at all wrong with either! I do prefer the brunette’s, but I still love the blonde’s (especially the skirt–it must be a beautiful dress!) and the girl in the background has a lovely dress too! I’ll keep things short today (so much to do, you know), so here’s my rating:

    Ten out of ten, and Happy Holidays!

  8. Lynne says

    I’m a sucker for the military look – show me a frogged jacket, and I am lost! So I have to go with the brunette. But I also love green, and green with a fur trim – yum! Wonderful fantasy picture.

    I have a nasty streak of realist in me, though, and those skirts are highly unlikely skating skirts. I’m no skater – the times I tried, I sat down a lot, and this would not be good for those flimsy little numbers. A gel would go for an old solid-colour wool number for that kind of outing, I’m thinking. And that fantasy tower would not do well in an earthquake!

    But it is such a charming picture. The little whippet/greyhound dog, dancing along (probably wishing it lived in a time when people made Christmas sweaters for dogs – have you seen them this year?!!), the sleigh, the nice lad, and three cute, daft hats! Overall rating: 9 out of 10.

  9. Angela Wicentowich says

    I love both the jackets and the muff is fantastic. I agree with some of the others that the skirts aren’t that spectacular, but overall I like both their looks.
    I give the green jacket an 8.5/10 and the red jacket a 9/10.

  10. Sue H says

    This is fun and full of steampunk possibilities, though the skirts do look like they were grafted in from some other season. I love the little winged hat – but only one? otherwise it’s just a bizarre feather. Since it is Christmas I’ll go high 8/10.
    Merry Christmas!

  11. I love them both, impractical and silly though they may be! I’ll love to make a copy of either, just for sillyness and giggles. 9/10

  12. The general silhouette and color scheme of these skating costumes are lovely, but the ornamentation is silly and overdone, and the hats are ridiculous. 6 of 10 again, mostly due to the hats.

  13. Myrthe says

    I really love these dresses. My favourite is the one on the right, I want that coat! I’d give the left one a 9, only because I don’t like the fur too much, the one on the right a 9.5, because I’d love it even more if the skirt was green.

  14. Demented Seamstress says

    They’re cute. I prefer the brunettes outfit, the cord stuff on the front of the jacket is awesome. Not sure how I feel about the colour schemes or the fur trim across the bust. I think my opinion works out to an 8.

  15. I love the brunette’s outfit! I would personally wear it, without the flounces on the skirt. 9/10. The blonde’s…I don’t like it quite as much…I don’t like the smashed-together look of the green+fur trim+orange-red+zigzag+pleats…just way too much together at the same time. 5/10

  16. Hannah Alyse says

    Both are 10’s!!! I love everything- the colors, details, shapes, layers, accessories- its all fabulous 🙂

  17. Daniel says

    Has to be a music sheet cover or something like that – certainly not a fashion plate. Quite risque actually! I’d say around 1870 myself. The outfits don’t really thrill me overmuch generally, though I do really like the brunette’s little military frock coat with deep white fur trimming and matching hat – tres oo la la – but not with the dull blue-grey flounced skirt. Love her boots though, so for her I’ll say 7.5/10.

    The blonde – again, I really like the jacket with the faux tablier effect in front. The brown fur muff with a pink satin lining is… ahem… I think “a bit Meret Oppenheim” is the nicest and least controversial way to put it without getting too explicit, though the fact said handwarmer is called what it is is already bad enough. I think I like the idea of the hat, which is a stocking cap with a tassel merged with a sort of wimpley drape, but not the actual result. Again, her boots are fab. For me, I think would have given her petticoat to the brunette, with the tomatoey red more co-ordinated to the brunette’s red jacket, and the brunette’s flouncy skirt to the blonde, in a slightly better colour – maybe a coordinating green or even a contrasting rose pink to pick up on the muff theme. But again, I have to rate her so I’d say – ooooooh…. 7.5 again, that’ll do. Both have issues, but both have a lot to like, so I think 7.5 all round is fair.

  18. Claire Payne says

    I like them both the same in their own way. I love the sillouettes and the detail on each. A festive 10 out of 10 from me.

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