Possibly The Worst 1850s Dress Ever


1859. The Museum at FIT.

It looks like a furry animal (goat, sheep, elk???) got entangled with a fringe machine. All those shades of brown are awful together! And it must be very heavy. I wouldn’t be caught near this. Need I say more? What do you think?


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The Quintessential Clothes Pen creates historical clothing and accessories as well as modern garments.
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25 Responses to Possibly The Worst 1850s Dress Ever

  1. Doris McEwen says:

    I like textures so I find his dress very interesting. Exquisite detailing.

  2. Helen Fratena says:

    Children, let’s all say “Eewwww.” Just like today, not all our ancestors’ had good fashion sense.

  3. Tracy says:

    Looks like a bunch of bathroom rugs were used for trim

  4. Hehe..:p -It looks strange; I think of Scarlet in “Gone with the wind” when she had made a dress out of curtains, as the materials was hard to get in times of war…

    • Hm, yes, I suppose that if you were really hard pressed for materials maybe you would use anything you have. But perhaps then the dress wouldn’t need all the embellishment?

  5. Steph says:

    It looks like Scarlet O’Hara turned a yurt into a dress.

  6. Robin in KS says:

    My gramma had a couch that looked almost exactly like this. I didn’t like it, either.

  7. Jill in AK says:

    It looks like she was attacked by ugly 70s curtains and a bathroom rug. I saw a woman at the grocery store last week who was wearing what looked like a high pile fuzzy rag rug. Bad taste is timeless ;-b

  8. I guess it’d be warm, that’s one point in it’s favour

  9. Sabine says:

    Yes, I agree what an ‘ugly’ garment, yet it would be fun to re-create it 😉

  10. avantgarbe says:

    I was about to say it looks like my bathroom rugs attacked it, but someone beat me to it. Yikes!

  11. elf says:

    Perhaps the dowels were too heavy. I wonfer if bamboo would be lighter. Looks like you all had fun!

  12. Looks frontierish to me… a bit of Dan’l Boone, a bit of Native American dress, a bit of buffalo… prairie dog, too… & a very, very prairie palette. ~ Mom

  13. Sarah says:

    I think this is the kind of thing Louisa May Alcott wrote about with horror….

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