Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Gold lace and a blue bow, 20s style

Oh, poor bow dress from last week!  It did even WORSE than the Worth gown, coming in at a 5.8 out of 10 (compared to 6.4 for the Worth).  Reactions were hugely along the lines of ‘blah’, with a reasonable sprinkling of total dislike, and just a few actual fans.

Confession time: I’m actually one of the fans.  I thought the way the scallops framed the front bodice was very smart, creating an interesting interplay between the effect of a very tailored bodice, with an almost waistcoast look, and the very summery fabric, and perky, silky, bunchy bustle.  I’d even recreate it if I could find suitable fabric.  But…I would leave off the four lower bodice bows, and just keep the ones on the wrist and bustle.  And do them in copenhagen blue, rather than red, and maybe white-on-white rather than ecru and white.  So definitely not a perfect 10 from me either, but anything that could be considered for a heavily-inspired recreation is easily an 8 in my books!.

Todays turquoise blue and bright gold dress jumped out at me as a Rate the Dress choice for this week, as a vivid counterpoint to the more muted tones of the last few RTD choices.   It was only once I began to write about it that I realised that the other (super obvious) thematic link between it and last week’s dress is a big ole’ bow stuck to the front of it.

Oops!  Will this one be more popular than last weeks?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10


*I’ve also seen this dress described as voided velvet, but KSUM described it as gold lace, so I’ll stick to that until I can find the actual museum record.







  1. I very much like the drama of the gold lace fabric and would love to make a tunic from it, but even though I like the color combo, I don’t like the form of the bow and whatever-it-is perching on the shoulder (made me think that a moulting bird landed on it).

    The bow’s size and placement, while perhaps period appropriate, look like crass advertising – “Getcher Hoo-Ha Right Here!”. The bow inevitably draws the eye to a somewhat unfortunate target for an elegant evening.

    6 of 10

  2. Charlotte says

    “What were they thinking?!” was the first overwhelming thought as I viewed the whole dress. Dress fabric: gorgeous. Color scheme: divine. Giant crotch-bow? No thank you. The fabric, drape, color and shape of the bow are all lovely…just that placement! Move it to the right hip to balance the blue feathers on the shoulder and you have a 10/10. However, I absolutely love the colors and fabrics of the dress, so I will still give it a 9/9. Maybe I will pretend that it’s on the mannequin backwards.

  3. I REALLY love the gold fabric! Fabulous! I kind of like the weird shoulder-thingy, if it had been on both shoulders it wouldn’t have looked right. All in all, I like that it isn’t over-done, and the fabric is the main awesomeness in the outfit.

    The bow is pretty, at first I wasn’t sure I liked where it was placed, but then again…..where else would you put it? Maybe more diagonal, to match the assymetrical shoulder fringe?

    The one thing that bugs me: the gold doesn’t really go with the sea-foam blue. The blue, even in it’s original form, would have looked AMAZING with silver, but I think the gold needs more of a rich turquoise to really harmonize with the dress.

  4. I fear this dress also has a bow issue, but of a different kind.

    First of all, I love the fabric! It is so evocative of bright sun, and light shimmering off green leaves. Heavenly! And the dress has the basic 20’s silhouette, which is usually graceful and easy to wear.

    Then the designer put that stupid turquoise green pompon on the shoulder and a huge, matching, bow *right over the crotch*. These “ornaments” go a long way toward making the dress ugly and incorporates an indelicate (as opposed to subtle) sexual reference. Ugh.

    If the ornamentation (assuming a dress made from such fabric needs any) had been in keeping with the flowing gold and green fabric, this dress could have been a perfect 10. If I were allowed to snip the bow and pompon off, the resulting dress would be an 8. As it is, 6.5 again.

    Note: Another commenter sees the leaf motifs on the dress as “sea foam blue.” My monitor is not showing it that way, but even if it were I disagree with her; I’d think those colors go together just fine. But the bow and pompon, on the other hand…

  5. Heather Eagle says

    The fabric of this dress immediately reminded me of Daenery’s Quarth dress from Game of Thrones (which I love).

    I do have to agree with the other commenters on the bow placement; it just ruins the elegance of this dress! I’m also not the biggest fan of the horzontal line of the waist. Maybe a sash/belt would have helped?

    I do like the shoulder pom pom tho! It’s quickly and fun and makes this feel like a dress worn by somebody I’d want to know!


  6. Rachel says

    I do love me a 1920s frock. The relaxed cut and scalloped hem are lovely – and that shimmering mermaidy fabric is just delightful to study.

    Then someone had to go slap a hairball and a fig-leaf bow on it!

    The bow’s placement was badly judged, and the dispirited sea anemone epaulet is kind of just sitting there… And overall, while I like this style, this particular dress kind of just hits all the notes in a fairly boring way – baggy top, scalloped hem, metallic overlay, low waist, jarringly large embellishments at pelvis and shoulder – it feels like we’ve been here before, many times.

    But on the other hand, that’s a look I like. And I like the dress’ main fabric. It’s weird, but lovely, like some rare sea creature.

    So maybe a sea anemone was the right call?


  7. E Zenker says

    What a pretty dress! And I love the color combination. The bow is right where it should be … when you sit it is in your lap.

  8. Buttercup says

    At first glance I really liked this dress and thought yes we are on a winner here. I could even live with the bunch of lettuce fastened to the shoulder. Unfortunately when I scrolled down and saw the hideous crotch bow it was game over. This dress has so much going for it in terms of colour, style and design, but then the “ugly” fairies took over and killed it with poor embellishment decisions. I hope that after this disaster they went back to their real jobs decorating Christmas trees! 5/10

  9. Wendy says

    Love this dress. Love the colors. Love the feather epaulette, and even dig the bow. This dress needs a real figure in motion under it to show off its loveliness. Super fun. 9/10

  10. Tegan says

    It’s the style of 20s dress I don’t like (I prefer more interesting lines than a box with a low belt) but it is a pretty version.

    9/10 for reasonably pretty if not to my taste

  11. Meira says

    I love it! I love that it looks like she’s growing a coral up her body and it’s growing out on her shoulder. Blue and gold will always get me, too. Minus points for that crotch-bow, though. I’m not a fan of crotch-bows.


  12. Daniel Milford-Cottam says

    Hmm. Kind of like a cheap chocolate wrapper with bits of mouldy blue-green all over it, something a bit more fungal tricking out on the shoulder, and a mould-coloured pussy cat bow in an unfortunately literal, incredibly crass location.

    I feel kind of like a beast, but I’m not liking this one too much either. I think the gold comes off as a particularly cheap, QVC/Argos bling shade, just a fraction, and the blue could be pretty, but the combination is horrible, and the dress unfortunately makes me think of something blue and utterly repulsive that I’m not about to mention in case anyone is fool enough to Google it. But trust me, it’s bad, and it’s in the worst possible taste, and mentioning it here is not a line I’m prepared to cross. I struggled to decide which was least appealing, this or the previous dress, which I think is because both really could be nice, but both just went just a little wrong in almost every single respect/detail, adding up to an overall effect of Ugh, all the more disquieting because if all these little details/colours were tweaked just a fraction, the resulting dress might actually turn out quite nice whilst being still kind of similar

    It’s another 1/10, I’m afraid. And that’s because, like the dress before it, I’m so dreadfully disappointed in it as I feel like it had so much potential, and yet it’s really let me down again. The ideas are fine, but the execution/realisation fails.

  13. Heather says

    If only the bow were placed more to the side of the dress, if they had to have the bow there. I like it, love the colors. I hate how they just stick the dress on a dummy though. It’s crying out for pearls and shoes and a cute cloche hat. Or…Phryne Fisher. She’d do it justice. 😉

    • Chloe says

      Since its from a museum, you can imagine they want to exhibit the dress as an object itself, and not part of an ensemble. They don’t know what shoes and cloche were worn with it, so why give it false context?

      • I can guarantee that a cloche was never worn with this dress. It’s an evening dress, and cloches were daytime hats. 🙂

  14. Emelie says

    I’m sad. This dress would have been flimsy and whimsy and delicate, it would have been 20s done right – fabric with a drape that matches the silluette, beautiful in its simplicity. But someone had to go place a huge, stiff, honking BOW at the most unfortunate place imaginable. It does not work. It doesn’t even begin to work. And because the culprit could see how little the bow had to do there they tried to match it with some strange tuft on the shoulder, which could have been OK in a different composition but now isn’t.

    This dress could have been a 9, but the horrible crime of fashion has brought it down to 4.5/10

  15. ceci says

    Interesting how wrong crotch ornamentation looks – is this a current culture vs ’20s culture thing, I wonder? Minus the bow I’d say a solid 10; with the bow its impossible to love…..


  16. Joni says

    Would the placement of the bow not have prompted the same response in the period? I don’t know much about 1920s fashions.

    I like the colour and shape, I’m not sure about the seaweed-y shoulder ornamentation, and the bow is a definite no.


  17. Lynne says

    I’m with the many who love, love the fabric. (That was a blast it took from Daniel!) It looks soft and drapey, and suits the simple cut of the dress so well. I actually like ” the dispirited sea anemone epaulet”. Wonderful description from Rachel! Is that a string of sea-green beads hanging down from it?? But I am with everyone else in deploring the poor dispirited badly-placed bow. It could have looked perkier when the dress was new, which might have worked.

    I’m prepared to go with 9 out of 10. If I were rich, I’d buy lots of that fabric – and give it to Leimomi to make something wonderful with!

  18. Claire Payne says

    The bow is in a most unfortunate position right over the ‘you know what’. Even changing the position of the bow simply wouldn’t do for me however, as this isn’t a bow dress. I’m not sure the tassel on the shoulder works either. Lose it or at least balance out the other shoulder with another tassel. I would wear this if the front was covered entirely with the lace without the gap and if there was a band of the blue around the middle and of course no bow or tassel. Yes that would work for me. As it is the bow has completely ruined it for me so 6 out of 10. I do like the blue and the gold mind you. It’s not all negative.

  19. Karin says

    I’m not sure about the placement of the bow, but what I really dislike is the anemone on the shoulder. I do like the colour combination, and the pattern of the gold fabric is beautiful, as are the scallops on the skirt.


  20. Hearthrose says

    Yes, to modern eyes the first thought is, “a bow – there?” But if one thinks of the fashionable young lady in the 20s, that objection departs.

    At any rate, this shade of gold + aqua is a color combination I’m completely enraptured with.
    And I love the fabric of the gown, the natural motif? To die.
    And I love velvet.

    I find the shoulder poof rather odd, but I’ll go with it.

    If I were a flapper – or inclined, at any time, to lose my mind and wear something that would make me look like a box – I would wear this dress.


  21. Florence says

    I love the colours, love the texture, love the shoulder-thingie!
    But PLEASE, lose the bow!
    The bow brings it down from 10 to 8/10.

  22. Love the fabric, hate the bow. I could live with the tassel, but I’m not a fan of the faux waist separation. If the waist had a strip of blue fabric around it as another commenter suggested I would quite like it, though.

  23. Elle says

    I don’t why but I just don’t love this dress! The fabric looks bad for some reason and the bow looks terrible, just utterly terrible! 6/10

  24. nanny norfolk says

    Again a dreadful bow on a perfectly acceptable dress. Lovely fabric & colours & would have caught the light when the wearer moved, & yes corsages on the shoulder were the fashion, but that ones a bit big & a bit droopy. So because of the corsage & horrible bow in the wrong place it’s 6/10.
    No more bows please.

  25. I love the dress just as it is! I think the bow makes the dress more youthful, and at my age I could use that. I’ll bet that corsage on the shoulder bounced and floated flirtatiously as the wearer danced the night away. The colors are rich and yummy; it seems a perfect example of the flapper era. 10/10 for me.

  26. With regards to what somebody called the “fig-leaf bow”, exactly how see-through is that shimmery gold fabric?
    ie. is it actually necessary to preserve decency?
    Er… er … many aspects of this dress are great. And somebody actually ironed it before photographing, which is good. But as a whole, er…
    Um. Lets say 6/10, and put it on a dark-haired flapper and make some adjustments 🙂

  27. Bernice says

    This is one of those moments when you just have to wonder what the designer really intended when she or he designed this dress. When you think about it, the waist probably is the most obvious place to put a large oversized bow- it’s a natural focus of attention when you look at a dress and, I mean, it would look a bit unbalanced in a lot of other places. I just have to ask, why center front? On a dropped waist dress? This is either a really over sexualised dress or I am reading WAY too much into an innocent attempt at decoration. I mean, I didn’t really see the other possible interpretation of The Bow (let’s agree, it deserves capitalization) until the third or fourth look- even now, I could plausibly believe that it was supposed to be just a bow.
    Without considering all the murky intentions and connotations of the location of The Bow, it still only gets an 8/10 because with such a statement fabric a statement bow like that doesn’t really fit in. The shoulder thing is fine- like a spray of feathers from a bird of paradise or something. A similar decoration in the same colour at the side on the hip (maybe expanding on the bird like theme) would be a lot less out there and a lot less controversial.
    Shall we agree that center front on a drop waisted dress is forbidden territory unless what’s going to be put there is VERY carefully considered?

  28. Hawke says

    This is what I call an image loading dress. It’s one of those ones where you see the top, you love it, then you scroll down to see the entire thing and you have to put your head in your hands. I love the fabric and color combination, but the fig leaf! The fig leaf! Whoever wore this dress must have had a very…saucy sense of humor. I also desperately want to change the pom pom to another bow, because it feels just a bit random to me.


  29. JessieRoo says

    This one was clearly intended to match the late ’60’s wall paper in my grandmother’s house, which isn’t necessarily to say it’s bad.

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