Paleo-Duro.

by Erin on February 28, 2006


McCalls 3070

Isn't this, like, the prehistoric cave-painting version of the Duro Olowu dress? Note the modesty panel in the vee — that's what really marks it out as belonging to another time.

I really like the effect of the striped version, although, of course, it's so much easier to make the stripes on a striped dress match and look good when you are drawing them on. (This is why I spend a lot of time, usually when I'm behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, trying to figure out in my head exactly how many yards ribbon/braid/trim etc. I'd need if I wanted to, say, make a simple dress of lightweight broadcloth and then do the stripedness afterwards. I always get as far as trying to remember the equation for the surface area of a cone, and then either I get to where I'm going, or somebody in the back seat demands that I tell him a story, a story "NOT ABOUT DRESSES!" — although, to be fair, I only tried that once.)

Anyway, I see this for summer in black lightweight linen with either café-au-lait or stark white as the bands, depending on your skin tone, of course. Or, for those of you with those fancy sewing machines that embroider, in white with multicolored floral motifs on the bands. It would also look great in a madras plaid, with bands of white pique or the same plaid running at angles.

If any of those options appeal to you, this pattern (B34) is $22 at So Vintage Patterns. In the meantime, I continue the search.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jenny February 28, 2006 at 10:39 pm

I so love dresses like this; but I was not blessed with a tiny waist. Honestly, how did women manage to look so miniscule in these dresses? A girdle doesn’t even come close to giving me that fabulous hourglass figure. I’m shaped more like a Pepperidge Farms “Milano” cookie…

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Rose March 1, 2006 at 7:51 am

I violently adore the idea of you telling LB stories about dresses!Trick about looking so tiny in those dresses? THOSE ARE DRAWINGS! Exaggerated for effect. Sometimes the women are impossibly tall, too, if you have a good look at how their legs are drawn.

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La BellaDonna March 1, 2006 at 8:53 am

Rose, it’s true that drawings are drawings, but … but …I watched a documentary on strippers of the 40′s and 50′s, and I’ve seen the “bathing beauties” of that era, and they are built differently from the majority of us – even from the majority of today’s “bathing beauties.” I’ve seen the ladies in close to what God gave them – pasties and G-strings and a few feathers – and they have much tinier waists than accompany similar busts and hips these days. Much, much tinier. I don’t know if it’s because most women wore foundation garments then (at least, when not on stage), and we don’t habitually wear waist-cinchers, or what, but the shape of the average figure was different.

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Rose March 1, 2006 at 3:01 pm

La Belladonna — That’s a really good point, actually. Hmm. Perhaps we can get Erin funded to do research on this!PS on Duro dress info: I had a good look at the Anthropologie dress today, and the neckline band is actually a turned-out facing, which is sewn down to the outside of the dress. Interesting! This affects how I’m going to attempt my own version, of course.

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Anonymous March 1, 2006 at 6:04 pm

May I posit a theory?If you don’t have a lot of muscle, and you suck your tummy in really really hard, ala Betty Page, you can kind of create an “internal corset” of a sort.Until you have to breathe, of course.

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Anonymous March 2, 2006 at 9:34 am

I truly believe in the theory that women have just progressively become larger, partly because it relieves me of some of the Godzilla-guilt I feel for having gorilla shoulders, and partly because I outgrew my own mother’s ’57 wedding gown and shoes when I was in 5th grade! Talk about a blow to your ego…

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Floridaprincess March 2, 2006 at 11:01 pm

I agree with anonymous women are getting larger. My mom and I shared clothes for years. I am bigger then her now. I can borrow some of her dresses depends upon the cut. I can not wear her pants. Her waist is like 25 mine is a 29 Arrrgggg!!!! I passed my mom on feet years ago. Iam a size 8 mom is a size 7 but we both have wide feet. My mom is 5’3 Iam 5’6 I used to be almost 5’7 but Iam shrinking. My mom has 50′s shoulders like MM or Jane Russle. I have no shoulders. Mom is medium boned should weigh more then she does. Iam small boned & should weigh a lot less like Audry Hepburn. Funny isint it tho.

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