Friday, September 24, 2010

Fashion Don'ts from the Met Museum

I tend to post beautiful historic costumes that I would love to wear, would love to recreate, would adore just being in the same room with if I had the opportunity. But in my browsing, I occasionally find things that make me wonder....why? Why did you do that? Who the heck wore that?

So, just for fun, take a look--are these universally unappealing? Is it just me? Can you see it working for someone...who's not you?

This is listed as a mourning (not morning, early in the day, but mourning, sad) dress from th 1860s. The simple shape of the gown is nice, first thought is JAILBREAK!. There's also something near-clownish about horizontal stripes, so I have a hard time believing that the person wearing this is sad. Unless she's an Emmett Kelly-esque sad clown.

Again, I love the shape of this dress (I'm even working on my own cocktail dress with a very similar square neckline and puffed sleeves) but that print! I think it's about 40 years ahead of its time...because I'm pretty sure this goofball squiggle design was on every motivational poster my middle school kept around from the 80s.

I'm torn on this 1880s gown. Clearly, it's torn, too. I like the dual nature of a lot of the dresses from this period. But this takes things, in my opinion, a step too far. The ornate peach brocade with the smooth lavender taffeta feels...awkward. Maybe it's the warm/cool thing--I usually don't like mixing warm and cool colors. The severity of the contrast doesn't help--the very stiff, heavy upper portion and the ice-cream like pouf of the lower half. I can't help but think of this as the Frankenstein dress.

I can't get the image of an elaborate bathrobe out of my head when I look at this 1860s dress. Maybe it's the plaid--it evokes images of pajama-bedecked families on Christmas morning to me. The bodice draping doesn't help to get rid of the image, either. And my current bathtime kimono has sleeves pretty much identical to these--including wide band at the sleeve hem.
So, is it just me? Show me the beautiful details I missed, or reaffirm that they're just....not quite right. Check out the Met's Costume Institute database for about a gazillion more--most of which are simply stunning, no questions askes.


Sharmon said...

Oh, yeah, if I had to wear that mourning dress I'd be way sad!
I kind of like the two-tone Victorian, though.

Hema P. said...

Rowenna, I agree with you about the third dress -- it feels like the designer had a change of mind/heart halfway through the process. I quite like the silly squiggles one, though! Such a simple, yet elegant, cut. And the motif? Gives me hope that there are souls in every facet of life who think ahead of their times, and hence are remembered later as forward thinkers rather than the eccentrics that they are believed to be during their times ;-).

Thanks for sharing these. I always come to your blog with the anticipation of getting to see beautiful dresses/materials and fun tidbits about them, and you never disappoint me!

Miss Rosemary said...

Most of them gave me pause but the third one really made me say, "Wow. Really?"

Noelle Pierce said...

Love the top of the gold on. Not the bottom so much. And that third one--was that Mellie's dress in Gone With the Wind? I vaguely recall something like it on the mousy character. Huh...maybe that's why.

Isis said...

I like teh last one, actually. :) The others... Well, not exactly. I agree that the forties dress looks like it was made in the 80's!

Rowenna said...

Sharmon--hehe, I know, you're supposed to be wearing the dress because you're sad, not sad because you're wearing the dress!

Hema--thanks for dropping by! I have to admit, that 40s dress would take a really fun wearer to pull it off--so it's got its perks there!

Rosemary--I did a double take on the third one--at first it was like, oh, nice...wait! What?

Noelle--hehe, it does look like something Mellie would have worn :)

Isis--thanks for weighing in! I admit to loving the rich colors of the last one...just not the plaid, so much. But I bet the right person could wear it beautifully (I am not that person).

Brownpaperbaggirl said...

I'm really torn about the 1880s gown, too. It is enchanting in an intriguing way.

Kat Zhang said...

The black dress with squigglys is kinda cute :) I could see an elementary school teacher wearing it or a younger girl :D