I’ve got a real soft-spot for ca. 1880’s fashion. There’s something about the combination of a fairly sleek silhouette and a ridiculous amount of trim that just tickles my fancy. It was also an era of experimentation and whimsy: silly pockets, and every type of embellishment you could imagine combined. Of course, some examples of the era pull off the ridiculousness better than others. Will this week’s Rate the Dress tickle your fancy?
Last Week: a ca. 1860 dress in stripey plaid
Mixed results on last week’s dress. Most of you liked the sleeves, although the trim was controversial. The fabric was hardly an unmitigated success: even if you liked the fabric’s colours and pattern you weren’t entirely on-board with the combination of print and cut, and thought the stripe-heavy plaid wasn’t suited to gores.
The Total: 7.3 out of 10
A rather mediocre score after the perfection of the week before.
This week: an 1880s reception gown in two parts
There’s an interesting tension to the aesthetic of this gown.
The skirt is absolutely conventionally fashionable for the early 1880s, with its pleated ruffle at the hem, front ruching, ribbon bows, and trained back. But there’s just a hint of the aesthetic movement in the bodice. It’s only a tiny suggestion, but the puffed oversleeves with their ruched cuffs, straight waist, and front gathered bodice all hint at an alternative view of fashion.
There’s some rather clever elements to this dress if you look closely. The way the stripes are used on the bodice to create the impression of a separate centre front panel. The buttons on the waistband, which may mean the train is detachable (and possibly even a later addition to the dress?). Alternatively, the buttons may be a way to fasten the bodice to the skirt. They could be part of the skirts waistband, and fasten through the bodice to hold the two parts perfectly in place.
What do you think? Is this hitting the sweet spot of ca. 1880 fashion?
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. Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. 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.