Great Neckline Alert.

by Erin on November 30, 2006


ebay item 8305987417

For a multitude of reasons (including my propensity to pull unintentional pratfalls of physical-comedienne proportions and an unfortunate tendency to rest my clasped hands on top of my head for no good reason) I just don't do strapless (or even spaghetti straps). This can be a hardship at holiday-party-dress time, when it seems as if there's a law against having more than three square inches of fabric above your sternum.

This dress steps forward brilliantly to beat all those strapless numbers at their own game. It's freaking gorgeous, isn't it? I love the hammered-metal color and the absolutely stunning neckline. Strapless can look too girly-debutante, and spaghetti straps too casual; this dress is definitely neither. I don't know if this particular kind of neckline has a name, but, if not, I propose "empress". (There's nothing "sweetheart" about this one.)

The only bad news is that this dress is nearly $800 … that's, well, a LOT. Click on the image to visit the Elizabeth Charles online boutique, where it's being sold.

I'm pretty sure I've seen this neckline on at least ONE of the umpty-billion vintage patterns I have. And I have some really, really nice green satin … now all I need is a good excuse to wear it! Thank goodness for holiday parties.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie November 30, 2006 at 9:10 am

It truly is a lovely dress. Too bad it’s not for me. With my uneven shoulders and miss-sized ta-ta’s I would pull that neckline in ways it was never intended!

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Carrie November 30, 2006 at 9:10 am

It truly is a lovely dress. Too bad it’s not for me. With my uneven shoulders and miss-sized ta-ta’s I would pull that neckline in ways it was never intended!

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bani November 30, 2006 at 9:43 am

I am so sick of strapless and spaghetti straps. So Sick. All it says is “we were too cheap to work out a pattern with sleeves”. Plus I’m 30+ now dammit and would like fecking sleeves!

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sonya November 30, 2006 at 10:12 am

Ooh, I love this dress! Unfortunately, styles like this never fit me in the stores due to my disproportionately large hips. It’s very similar to Vogue 8280, though I like the cap sleeves and slightly rounded neckline of the Elizabeth Charles version better.

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) November 30, 2006 at 10:26 am

Would you call this a modified “keyhole” neckline?

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 10:26 am

Yes, Vogue 8280 — and look at all the sleeve options. Love this dress. Also look at Vogue 2858, a remake of a l944 design. Different midriff and skirt treatment but simiilar neckline.Mary Fran

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Gidget Bananas November 30, 2006 at 10:38 am

I hate strapless dresses. There, I’ve said it. And I do love this curvy grown-up dress.

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Nadine November 30, 2006 at 11:04 am

I’ve always loved this neckline! It first flattered the life out of me in a high school Shakespeare-era comedy.

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vespabelle November 30, 2006 at 11:29 am

I love this dress. I have a dress that’s similar. I loved the neckline so much I had my wedding dress made with the same neckline! I think designers forget that many of us MUST WEAR a bra. I found a cute (and cheap) dress at Nordstrom Rack the other day and it was perfect (color, fit, style, everything!) except that the neckline plunged so low that I would have to go braless. And I cannot go braless! How many size 12 women can go braless? (now that I think of it, I may actually fit into that vintage “empress neckline” dress so I don’t need a new dress!)

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Maryam in Marrakesh November 30, 2006 at 11:47 am

Eeek, $800 is definitely out of my price range. But it is a lovely neckline. Thank you for sharing it.

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southern stitcher November 30, 2006 at 11:53 am

It’s gorgeous! A very grown-up dress, not a cutesy teenybop style. How about dark teal for a knockout look?

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 11:55 am

Please say this below is very similar!LOL McCalls 5269http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5269.htm?tab=whats_new&page=1Because I have just ordered this pattern for my DD to wear to a dance. I like the flounce hem version, she likes the straight…we’ll see.

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 12:03 pm

looks like a modified or “opened” Queen Ann neckline… no?

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Marie-Christine November 30, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Oh, this is so gorgeous! I have no doubt that you can make it though, it’ll be a piece of cake… Use the Vogue 8280 pattern, it’s the thing of the moment anyway so you may as well go with it :-).

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Madeleine Powers November 30, 2006 at 12:49 pm

“Queen Anne” neckline is definitely how I know that one, and I love it to death myself. Actually managed to find a couple long-sleeve tees with this neckline.

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 1:15 pm

The McCalls and Vogue patterns are close, but I love how the back neckline on this one shapes to the nape of the neck. Very lovely with short hair or an up-do.Amy

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Robinson November 30, 2006 at 1:24 pm

This type of neckline generally has not appealed to me in the past, but this one is lovely. I too love the way it shapes to the nape of the neck. It might make me rethink this neckline.

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oliviacw November 30, 2006 at 1:55 pm

It’s a cross between a Queen Anne neckline (in the way it widens up as you move down from the shoulders), and a square neckline (because a Queen Anne usually has a sweetheart dip in the center). It is lovely, and very flattering to those of us who are amply endowed.

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blueprairie November 30, 2006 at 1:59 pm

I would call this neckline Elizabethan, m’self.

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Lorna November 30, 2006 at 2:18 pm

This neckline/collar/sleeve treatment is great for making the shoulders more important. It is a smart, elegant….. strong…. dress! I love what you have created here in your website. Lorna

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 2:39 pm

Erica whose blog is Hook & Needles made a similar dress some time ago. Hope I can link you though this -http://www.flickr.com/photos/hookcouture/sets/72157594349092448/show/I think all the rich and famous were wearing this style some time ago.

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Ok Sorry about that the link was bad but you can see her dress here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/hookcouture/So enough of me now.

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) November 30, 2006 at 3:47 pm

I checked out Erica’s blog — wow, that lady does sew!!!

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Anonymous November 30, 2006 at 4:45 pm

I just looked at Erica’s blog as well. I really like the look of the vogue dress. I may have to buy that pattern. (evil laughter ensues)

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Kit LaCroix November 30, 2006 at 9:22 pm

It a lot like the neckline on the dress of mine that you showed in october, except mine had a collar. I was inspired by a picture of marilyn monroe wearing a skirtsuit with that collar, so i think of it as a “monroe collar.”

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Susan November 30, 2006 at 9:32 pm

Very pretty! I don’t do strapless, or sleevess dresses, either, but this is a nice compromise!

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Well Rounded Dresser December 1, 2006 at 2:22 am

A follow up to some body type suggestions – I have had absolutely the best luck dressing my little apple self with maternity clothes – there is some gorgeous “career wear” out there these days! Thanks for the idea.

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Shirlythegirly December 1, 2006 at 3:27 am

Everyones right; it is very similar to the Vogue pattern 8280; I have just entered the world of dressmaking – this pattern is so tricky for an ‘Easy’ pattern. It does however look fantastic on. For anyone in England, Tescos are currently selling a bright red, satin dress exactly the same for about 25!

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Summerset December 1, 2006 at 5:00 am

I have seen similar necklines on vintage patterns in the late 40′s to early 50′s era. It is a lovely neckline – elegant but not too low.

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an9ie December 1, 2006 at 7:58 am

That is such a lovely, classic dress. I’m sure I saw Monica Belluci’s character, Persephone, wear it in The Matrix Reloaded, no?

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Anonymous December 1, 2006 at 9:42 am

Yup, very similar to McCall’s 5269, which I almost bought at the last Hancock’s $.99 sale. The unfortunate puff sleeves on the McCall’s would be easy enough to modify into cap sleeves.Now I wish I’d bought it. Oh well, next time!–Lydia

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nwhepcat December 1, 2006 at 10:03 am

There’s a similar neckline on a ribbed tank top style I found at Kohl’s at the end of the summer. I bought every color they had.

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robertajune December 1, 2006 at 12:09 pm

I recall this neckline from the ’50′s. It also looked fabulous with long sleeves and a full skirt. Such sophistication! Oh, how I wish the current designers would look back into past successful fashions and learn that not everyone is shaped like a 14-year-old, nor do we want to dress like one.

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ambika December 1, 2006 at 1:35 pm

I *love* this neckline. So flattering. I have variations in a couple of different tops (tho not nearly as high at the back of the neck.) This is indeed stunning.

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MinaW December 1, 2006 at 2:27 pm

I think of that neckline as earlier than Elizabethan. The Anne of Cleves portrait has one similar.http://www.marileecody.com/cleves1.jpg(This is a great site, by the way, for Tudor portraits.)If I remember correctly, one dress in the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries in the Metropolitan Museum also has a neckline like that, and that’s a lot earlier.

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sarah December 1, 2006 at 6:26 pm

That is gorgeous. I covet it. One day I will own something so sleek and sophisticated– love the neckline, love the color. It’d look ridiculous on my broad shoulders, but one can always dream…Someone said above: “How many size 12 women can go braless?”To that I respond: well, definitely one, unfortunately. (Hah.)

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divashop December 5, 2006 at 3:23 pm

Truly Adorable!

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