Rate the Dress is going big, little, and back to big again, with this blue bell shaped 1850s number.
Last week: a 1790s dress and matching fichu
Not everyone was sold on the shape of the dress, and the teeny-tiny bodice, but the sheer fabulosity of the embroidery carried the day, and (despite one person rating it only 1!) the dress rocked in with a round score of…
The Total: 9 out of 10
The things that a good fichu can hide!
This week: a crinoline era gown in cobalt blue
This dress belonged to Virginia Shields Vaden before her marriage to William Vaden in 1858.
It’s a classic example of mid-late 1850s fashion, with its full tiered skirt, wide sleeves, and deep bertha.
The bright colour is a lovely illustration that the wardrobes of unmarried women weren’t confined to muted, pale shades.
The fabrics illustrate textile advances of the mid-19th century. The ribbon borders of the sleeves and berthe, and deep patterned hems of the skirt, were woven on a jacquard loom. The jacquard loom was invented in 1801, but improved throughout the 19th century, and the dense patterning, with elaborate motifs that switch between naturalistic florals and geometric lines, is characteristic of designs made possible by developments in the 1850s.
While the dress is contemporary with the invention of aniline dyes, and the vivid hues were probably inspired by the same fashion, it would have been dyed with the natural dye indigo. A synthetic (aniline) dye that replicated the blues of indigo dye wasn’t invented until the 1890s.
What do you think? Do you like the frock?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10
A reminder about rating — feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting. It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste.
(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5. I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment, so I can find it! And 0 is not on a scale of 1 to 10. Thanks in advance!)