20th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Flower Fantasy

Some of you may have wondered why there was no Rate the Dress when you got up this morning.  I’m just really tired, and overworked.  There is a lot going on this time of year: Windy Lindy, student marking, and me trying to do everything all at once!  So RTD just wasn’t a priority.

Which is why there is now a rate the dress, but no tally-up of last week’s selection (hehe, THAT is going to be fun).  I’m going to go hang out the laundry and do a bit of gardening to relax, and then I’ll get back to it.

At least picking the  rating choice was easy.  This has been in my file as the selection for the week before Halloween for almost a year now.  How could it not be?  It’s a fancy dress that has enormous beetles and insects all over it!

Fancy dress, circa 1900

Fancy dress, circa 1907

So what do you think?  If you saw someone dressed as this at a costume party circa 1907, would you think ‘That is SO AWESOME!” (or whatever the ca. 1900 equivalent of “SO AWESOME” is – I welcome your suggestions on that point).  Or would you think “Creepy and horrible”?  Or “Random and messy?”

What’s the verdict on the buggy flower frock?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

*And if anyone has a link to the original source for this image, that would be much appreciated!  I’ve seen it pop up on pinterest, but never with a link back to an original page.


  1. Well, I enjoyed 15 mins of hunting through the internets to see if I could identify the beetle-bee hybrid she is wearing with no success. But I was well entertained!

    I would rate the dress at 5 for comfort, bug accuracy, and a fabulous head piece.

    • I’ve identified them! They’re May bugs. There used to be swarms of them in Europe. It does not happen anymore and you don’t see them much; it only happened once during my life so far (which is why I managed to identify them). But it would undoubtedly be a regular and easily identifiable occurrence in this lady’s time.

      • Thank you so much for identifying them! I couldn’t figure out why she would make up a bug when they are enough odd examples out there…

  2. Melissa says

    I kinda love it! She’s like the Lady Gaga of 1907 😛 I’m giving it a 9!

  3. I don’t think it’s “random and messy” at all; to the contrary, it’s very strongly themed, and works well with the theme.

    But the result! Sorry, it reads “creepy and horrible” to me. If *that’s* what Mother Nature looks like, I’m afraid I prefer the works of people. 5, because as a Halloween costume it’s a success, but I can’t bring myself to like it.

      • Maud’s 10,000+ words condensed into nine words – not by me but I can’t remember who did this! A wicked person clearly.

        “Come into the garden, fair maid:
        Ever been laid?”

  4. Yes! I don’t exactly know what she’s trying to be but I love it! I might have to copy it for my own costume. 9/10 because I can’t imagine what one would reply to the question “what are you supposed to be?”

  5. Rachel says

    merriam-webster.commerriam-webster.comToday I learned that enormous bugs and full-on frontal symmetry don’t really work. Especially paper bugs. Better to go with something more off-center.

    On the other hand, a floral fancy dress covered with bugs is an intriguing idea. Given her expression, she knows it too.

    My suggestion for “so awesome” – corking good!

    Score? Wish I knew the colors, but … 4.5

    Still not as scary as last week’s dress.

  6. I agree with Catherine. Creepy and horrible with a large dose of “ick”. And you’re talking to the woman who just fed her kids spaghetti done up to look like worms, with eyeball meatballs and “witch finger” green beans! So 2/10 for pure squick factor!

  7. It’s weird all right, but mostly in a fun way that works for Halloween. I think there’s a bit too much insect though, and her facial expression is really creepy. Still, I guess that’s quite suitable for the occasion. 8/10

  8. Tracy Ragland says

    As a costume, it is simply perfection! Whimsy (okay…pure nuttiness) to the tenth power! 10/10

  9. Top notch, I love the flower sleeves and the ridiculously detailed bees. The hat and choker are totally bizarre and just the right amount of creepy… It’s for Halloween, after all! 10/10

  10. Elise says

    When it’s Halloween, taste isn’t as important as vim. This lady knows what she wants to be for the holiday and that’s just great.9/10 because she’s game, and being game is great.

  11. Okay. Now that I’m about 99,999999999% sure she’s supposed to be a swarm of May bugs, and considering I’ve actually experienced a swarm of May bugs, I think it’s equal parts absolutely cool and absolutely creepy. Creepy factor varies a lot with the language the original wearer would have used. “Cockchafer” sounds awful and is definitely a pest. “May bug” is just fine, even whimsical. “Chroust” (the Czech word) is somewhere in between.
    5/10 for execution, 10/10 for the idea, makes 7,5/10.

    (By the way, considering she’s supposed to be a swarm of May bugs, which is a European thing, I’m also about 99% sure it’s not a “Halloween” costume. Fancy costume, yes, but the occasion would not have been Halloween, and considering they’re May bugs, it stands to reason it would not have been in Autumn either, right?)

    • Oh well done! That is exactly what they look like! And it explains the one beetle on her head! Yes, I didn’t think it was a Halloween costume either (notice I only ever call it fancy dress!), but I usually post a dress up ‘Rate the Dress’ this time of year to fit it with the Halloween theme, whether or not that is what it was worn for.

      • Well, that part of the comment wa sdirected at the commenters who jumped to conclusions…

        I then showed it to mom and she said “chrousti” almost immediately. So I think it’s quite obvious to someone who knows them better.

  12. That’s a postcard, I’m thinking, based on the stamps at the bottom. So she is probably an actress/music hall star of the day.

    Looks like a frou frou frock with cardboard bugs just stuck on it.

    And I just noticed and now I’m really annoyed by it – why the such mismatched sleeves? They’re irritating me. No design reason that I can see – just two completely mismatched sleeves. And as it’s pretty much all you can really see of the dress under the bugs….

    No marks for skirt or bodice, can’t see enough of either, so nil points there.

    Hat – annoying white bit hanging down at the side like a strip of loo paper stuck to your shoe as you emerge from the conveniences.

    Sleeves – mismatched.

    Bugs – cheap and tacky.

    I actually preferred last week’s dress.


    • IMO, it also fails as a costume because it basically looks like she just stuck paper cut-outs to whatever she was wearing at the time, so I’m not even seeing any effort made with the “costuming”. Hence the low score.

  13. Even if it were not originally done as a Halloween costume, it works as one, and not just in 1907.

    I think I’d really get a kick out of wearing this to a costume party and watch people spill their drinks.

    8 of 10 for sheer entertainment value.

  14. Julia Ergane says

    Down right weird! I think it must be a Music Hall costume of some sort because NO ONE in their right mind would use this as a masquerade outfit. So: 5/10 for the Music Hall

  15. holly says

    A 10 for its ridiculousness (and a 10 for you for bringing this to our attention).

  16. I think the 1907 word would be “ripping” and that’s just what I’d be doing if I found such huge bugs all over my dress – ripping them off! I hate bugs, so creepy and horrible is my first reaction, but then it is kind of funny too, especially with her nutty expression. I like it better than last week’s, even with the mad bugs! But I don’t love it. 4/10

  17. I can see the appeal of dressing as a heap of flowers with bugs on it, but I don’t think the concept is carried out very well.

    The 2 dimensional cardboard bugs just look so cheap and tacky, and the mismatched sleeves are really annoying.


  18. Lynne says

    I’m a bit in the middle on this dress. People seem to love it or really not, but I’m going for 6 out of 10. It is odd, quirky, a bit amateurish (which doesn’t hurt – what was a girl to do?), and rather clunky.

    I’m delighted about the May-bugs. Gives it an extra point or two in my eyes. I am a great fan of ‘Cold Comfort Farm’, and who could forget the cringe-making Mr My-bug (actually Meyerberg, I know) who was doing his best to make up to Flora, and then settled on Rennet!

  19. Grace Darling says

    Now that’s something that would be worn at a meeting of the
    Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm,
    or a perfect frock for the Veiled Prophet Parade/Ball that has
    been held in St Louis since 1878

    The 2014 version would include the addition of EpiPens.

    8/10 for the sense of play.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  20. Michele Bashaw says

    It would be no exaggeration that this dress would go over extremely well at our local annual Bee Keeper’s Ball. Costumes are optional for this event, but in this theatre town dress up drama is the key to having fun.

  21. I like it (it’s all “fine and dandy”, as I’ve read in some turn of the century American novels), because it is bound to make all those insectophobes out there at Halloween Parties hyperventilate. I mean, who puts gigantic cardboard insects on a costume and hat? I like the lady’s idea nearly as much as my sister’s when she dressed up as a toothpaste tube one year.

    I would give this costume full marks if it had been themed “horrible spiders of Australia” and if the beetles had been spiders, accordingly.

    So 8/10

  22. I also have this on my “Fancy Dress” Pinterest Board. My first thought? Ginormous creep factor. Then I wondered – Is the message “bee mine” or a pun on “wasp waist”? But now I find it’s compelling in a kinda unsettling way. But she is a cutie and I bet it looked a whole lot better in person. Would love to see it in color!

    I think it deserves multiple rating categories:

    10/10 for sheer creativity,
    10/10 for having the guts to wear it in public,
    10/10 for having a unique costume (I doubt there were duplicates.), and
    10/10 for managing to look cute while wearing it.

  23. The period expression for “Awesome!” in this case would be “She looks quite darp!” or that she is a “peacherino!”

    Although I’m with many others on giving her a 10 for the idea, I’m only giving her a 3 on the execution. To me, it looks like a bunch of print outs (maybe paintings or drawings she did) glued to a regular dress for that period. And yeah, the smile on her face is completely creepy.

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