Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Pink Aesthetic Tea Gown

It’s been a while since I did a Rate the Dress post.  I was (and am) struggling to keep up with blogging and life in the era of Covid.

Then a WordPress update borked all the formatting on my blog, which was so disheartening I just stopped.  I still haven’t figured out how to fix it without going back and re-writing thousands of posts…

So for now, enjoy a random Rate the Dress post, that hopefully will be the beginning of more regular posting on this theme!

Last weeks/months/oh goodness I don’t even want to think about it rating: a 1807-10 evening dress/court gown bedazzled with gold

There was MUCH love for the early 18th century very gold and sparkly court dress, with a few points off here and there because it wasn’t the very best dress of its era some of you had seen, and a few more from people who just flat out don’t like Regency.

The Total: 9.2 out of 10

At least if I was going to take a 5 month hiatus from Rate the Dress I left it on a high note!

This week: an 1890s tea gown in the aesthetic style

This week’s Rate the Dress is a tea gown (follow the link to learn more about tea gowns) in the aesthetic style.  It combines the comfort and (relative) ease of wear that was originally supposed to be the point of a tea gown, with the luxurious fabrics and whimsical use of trim and design features that came to be the defining characteristic of a tea gown.

This tea gown features a body and lower sleeves of fine, lightweight wool in a deep muted rose pink.

The dress is topped by a pleated yoke and full gigot sleeves in pinky brown silk with a small geometric pattern in a pink which matches the wool.

The fullness of the sleeves and the interest of the silk fabric are balanced by a scalloped pleat and bow effect on the hem trimming.

In keeping with the less-confining ethos of aesthetic dress, the gown falls semi-loosely from the over-bust yoke, with shaping provided by a ribbon that sweeps down from the front bust to the waist, and back up again to the centre back.

Unless I am much mistaken, the looseness is an illusion: the dress is built over a fitted under-bodice, which the ribbon and back pleats are tacked to to provide more shaping.

What do you think of this example of 1890s fashion?  Do you like the aesthetic-inspired mix of drape and structure, geometry and softness?

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.


  1. Nancy says

    I think I like the details best in this teagown. I like how the pattern on the silk matches the wool body and lower sleeves. I like the scalloped hem and the ribbon details. Overall, I’d rate it a 7.5.

  2. Elise says

    You do YOU! We all of us are reevaluating throughout this Covid era. Artists especially ought to listen to their minds and bodies.

  3. nofixedstars says

    so lovely to see a “rate the dress” post again! i am sorry about your formatting issues…i had bad experiences with wordpress myself. in fact, the mere sight of “wordpress” evokes profanity. i hope your problem gets sorted.

    generally, i like tea dresses, and i like aesthetic pieces. i have mixed feelings about this one, though. perhaps it’s the colour; pepto-bismol pink is not top of my list. the ribbon detail at the bodice fidgets me, for some reason. the silhouette is nice. i like the fabrics fine, and i quite like the fussy little pleats-and-bows detailing, or i would, in some other hue. i feel i’m being unfair to it, lol. ah well…’tis what it is.

    rating: 7/10

  4. Welcome back! I have really missed your rate the dress postings. This was a great dress to start up again with! I love everything about it. That shade of pink/rose is Exquisite! I�m giving this one a 10 out of 10

  5. Lynne says

    I love it! Not normally a big fan of pink, but this lovely warm, dusty colour is beautiful. The mixture of the wool and the silk is excellent – love the way the fine wool drapes. The ribbon shaping is interesting and very effective. Do you think it is attached at the side-seams, or might there be embroidered loops? Might it go into a V shape at the seam?
    The trim at the bottom of the skirt is a winner, too. Decorative yet subtle.

    10 out of 10 Welcome back!

  6. Fiona says

    6 wonderful construction but the colour is just too much for me. Also the dots of the sleeves and pleats and bows of the hem just seem odd to me.

  7. Kathy Hanyok says

    This gown is lovely! The color, like the heart of a juicy peach, looks as fresh as if it were made yesterday. The scalloped pleats are so precious! The only thing I don’t like is the ribbon at the waist back. It breaks up the lines of the pleated back. 9.5 of 10. Welcome back!

  8. Erika says

    So glad that Rate the Dress is back! I was just looking around your website a couple of days ago, wondering what was happening. I love the trim at the hem, but not on the wrist/sleeves. The bow in back is good, but in the front is just weird to me.
    As someone else said ‘pepto-bismol pink’ is not an appealing color to me, but I think the combination of wool and printed silk is inspired.
    8.5 of 10

  9. Welcome back, and what an elegant gown with which to do so.
    I think this is lovely, I am a big fan of mixed textures in a single tonal, it always seems very opulent to me. It’s a pretty colour to my eye. I love the shape, and the hem is a work of art. The sweep of the wool part from the bust appeals to me and the sleeves are just pouffy enough.

  10. Florence says

    I really like the ribbon in the back, but not so much in the front. I think I would have preferred if the lower edge of the yoke was shaped instead of straight Love the sleeves!

  11. India says

    Welcome back to Rate the Dress. I’ve missed it.

    As for this dress, love the colour, love the fabric, love the front view, quite like the back view but, of dear, the side view. It’s a bit galleon in full sail although I suppose it might flow nicely as the wearer moved……… maybe. 7

  12. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    Not my favorite era because it tends to excess detailing, but this dress has the posh simplicity I like. Nice fabric choices and contrast in textures. I’m seeing a dusty rose, not a digestive remedy, on my screen.

    I think you are right about the shaping. The ribbon is not doing any work to restrain the skirt – it’s in the pleating.


  13. It’s interesting the front and back view both have more of a hint of the shape, but then the side view is all loose and unrestrained.

    The color is lovely.

  14. Anne M says

    I hope you are able to get the formatting on your website working!!!

    The rose pink used is a very lovely color, both in the wool and the accents on the silk. I’m not particularly fond of the use of two fabrics on the sleeve. At the very least, this dress would be better served if the bow near the cuff was replaced by a band of the silk, perhaps pleated to match the yoke. The pleated trim on the hem is fine, even with the scallops, and the bows are OK, but together they are a bit much. All in all, a nice dress, but not great.

  15. I love the idea of Tea gowns, though often they’re too frumpy/loose with lace and shapelessness. I’m not a fan of pink and this is definitely Barbie-does-1895. But I love the details. For me the most important thing is the two fabrics work together/ are the same colour: just being a little off for me can ruin the combo. I agree with Kathy that it’s a shame about the ribbon on the back, detracting front the beautiful pleats – although I think she just means the bow, as the tail-ends blend perfectly! I also don’t like how it makes the front look like the back! What I hate is the fact that the front waist has no shape- partially obscured by the gigot sleeves in the side view. If the ribbon wrapped around from the back to quietly define the waist it would be so much better. I love the unexpected trim at the hem after that vast plane of plain silk above. I wonder what the hat/headresswould have been like? 8.

  16. JessieRoo says

    The transitions between the two fabrics at the yoke and on the sleeves is just too abrupt, like it needs some sort of trim or detailing to tie the two materials together. Otherwise, the design is nice enough overall and I really like pleated trim at the hem, but I find that shade of pink kind of sickening -something about it reminds of the smell of rotting apples- especially in such a large, uninterrupted expance as the skirt is.

  17. Cirina says

    I like the overall lines, the fabrics and the colors. And the back ribbon.
    But I feel that the brown yoke with the sleeves is too visually heavy and its not sufficiently balanced by the ruffled trim at the skirt. the blunt line across and the pleating of the yoke add to this issue.
    Even a fairly narrow brown trim at the bottom would help things.


  18. Jessie says

    Oh, wow, I get to rate the dress- I found this blog more or less 5 months ago, so although I’ve read, enjoyed, and learned from a whole bunch of rate-the-dresses, this is the first time I’ve participated.

    One of the things that occurs to me is that we get a lot of survivorship bias in old things- the ones that weren’t as nice (or at least compelling) are a lot less likely to survive. With that in mind, I bet whoever wore this was one of the best-dressed people in the room- even if the dress is not such a stand-out when compared to others that we see from the era. I’m trying to rate based a little bit more on what I imagine a “clothing average” would be and less on comparing it to examples I’ve seen on exhibit in museums. (I mean, if the standard is what gets put on display at the Met and such, then basically no one is ever fit to be seen in public, right?)

    I think this dress has a lovely shape and I like the interaction between the different fabrics. It makes me a little sad that the looseness is an illusion.

  19. Katie says

    While the colour is not for me, in another colour I would wear it in a heartbeat. It balances drama with softness and structure with a nice level of etherealness ….I love it! 10/10

  20. Penny says

    I love the colour, the pleated yoke and gigot sleeves. I also quite like the shaping provided by the ribbon. Although for a tea gown, don’t think it really needs to be tacked to a fitted under bodice and would look nicer if they’d let it fall naturally in the back. I quite like the bows on the bottom, but they’re not my favorite adornment. I do feel that the long plain skirt needs a little something extra though. 7/10 for me.

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