First Prize!

by Erin on February 28, 2007

Liberty Duro

So, I forgot (again) to tell you (or at least the Chicagoland-area you) that I would be on Chicago Tonight on WTTW last night. (I was only talking about txt-messaging abbreviations, LOL.)

But, I figured, I might as well wear a Duro. (A Duro, as some of you have asked recently, is a kimono-style dress with contrast banding, as popularized by the designer Duro Olowu. That makes 'Duro', like 'cardigan', an eponym.)

The Duro worked fine on TV (as far as I can tell, being no expert on production values, and only being able to watch myself for a few minutes post-show, before it was time to put the little boy to bed). I'm sure someone helpful will tell me if it didn't …

The only problem with wearing dresses on TV is that the mic guy doesn't have a super-convenient place to put the mic. With a Duro, though, you hang the box on the back sash, and run the cord & mic through the wide sleeve to the front vee. Works fine! (Occasionally when I've worn dresses to speak they have to hang the mic box from my back bra strap. Not ideal.)

The print fabric here is Liberty, a pattern called "First Prize". Here's a non-flashy photo:

Liberty Duro

The banding is quilting cotton. It's a little rough next to the fine lawn, but I haven't been able to find good colors in cotton lawn, unfortunately. And it's probably one of those things that I'm the only one who notices, too. I'm also convinced that either my mannequin has a decided list to one side (or maybe I do?), or the floor of my sewing room is slanted. (Or maybe I just can't hold a camera straight? My worldview is skewed? Something's going on.)

I'm also showing it here with the tank I usually wear under this one; a plain milk-chocolatey one from H&M. (I don't think you can tell here, but it matches a brown tone in the center of the First Prize rosettes.) Lots of you have commented about how deep the Duro necklines are, and I wanted to show you how I manage to wear them without being, in the classic words of somebody-or-other, a "cleavage-y slutbomb." (Not that I think cleavage is necessarily slutty, and of course it's the patriarchy that defines sluttiness anyway, always with an eye to perpetuating itself and controlling uppity women, but I just really like the word slutbomb. ) I also like having a chance to throw another color into the Duro mix with various tanks. Not to mention being far too lazy to alter the pattern to have a higher neckline.

I can't remember if I posted this one before, or not! (Do I repeat myself? Very well then, I repeat myself.) If I have posted it before, I'm sure someone helpful will post it in the comments.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

twollin February 28, 2007 at 7:58 am

And those of us, who are (as Manolo would say)or who are threatened by, the cleavagey slutbombs, thank you so much for presenting such a simple and timely solution to exhibiting the chilly cleavagey bits.

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Rebecca February 28, 2007 at 8:25 am

I love this dress! The chocolate and red….beautiful! Did you find the fabric online or in London?I’m hard at work on Butterick’s version. I’m using two Amy Butler prints in sky blue and olive. Wonder if I can find sky blue shoes in time for Easter.

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bani February 28, 2007 at 8:29 am

Yes, tank tops under low-cut tops are fantastic. During my pregnancy I’ve been wearing all my wrap dresses, and I realised I was exposing a LOT of breast every time I bent over, so Time For Vests. Although perhaps I should just write slutbomb on my tits, and then if someone says “hey, why have you written slutbomb on your tits?” I’ll know they peeked. :PI love the colour combo on this Duro!

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sara jane February 28, 2007 at 8:39 am

Ooh! We skipped watching Chicago Tonight last night in favor of The Daily Show. Thank heavens for Tivo – I can see you and your Duro! Love the tank with it, too.

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Thoughts on Life and Millinery. February 28, 2007 at 8:44 am

I’m finally brainwashed, or evangelized into the Duro denomination. Glory…all it took was a trip to Nordies and trying on their pricy version of this design. (Shockingly, they don’t know what the term “duro” means. I educated them posthaste.)Would you please get cracking on posting the all duro pattern link? I’m going to make a duro to match my new hat that I’m making for Easter:http://jillthinksdifferent.blogspot.com/2007/02/sneak-preview.html I want to know in advance which patterns have what pros and cons. Thanking you in advance….Jill

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roach February 28, 2007 at 8:50 am

For the two Duros I made I put in a little triangle of fabric to make what I called a “privacy panel” and just handtacked it in place.

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Kathy February 28, 2007 at 9:12 am

Love the duro! Love the fabric, colors, tank top. I am also in fear of having the “cleavage-y-slut-bomb” look, and have used tanks and camis to keep it at bay under lower-cut tops and sweaters. Kudos, Erin…

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nicole February 28, 2007 at 9:34 am

I’m new-ish to reading your blog and LOVE it! I wanted to ask if you’d seen “Music & Lyrics” with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore yet? I saw it recently and thought of your blog because in one scene she was wearing the most FANTASTIC dress and I believe it would qualify as a Duro – the fabric was divine and the cut looked fantastic on her! Thanks to you and Drew I may just be inspired to try my hand at sewing one in hopes of it looking as good on me!

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Isabelle February 28, 2007 at 9:44 am

That’s a beautiful dress. Kudos on wearing it on TV! What a pity we can’t rerun the show on the website, though.

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Kristen February 28, 2007 at 10:20 am

being a stalker of your site, i’m purty sure you haven’t posted this one before! And I LOVE IT! It’s my favorite of your duros so far! I’ve had a pattern rotting in my closet for months now – *sigh*, project guilt.

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enc February 28, 2007 at 10:28 am

Nothing to do with the Duro (though your best yet, I think), nor your Channel 11 appearance (nice one!) . . . I am so happy that someone else says “The Chicagoland Area.” That’s what I say when people ask me from whence I came. They don’t get it, and I know it’s too esoteric for anyone outside the Area to understand, but it’s in your DNA when you’re born there, and how do you explain that? I mean, it is so large, it’s truly a Land. ChicagoLand!I’ll shut up now.

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Nadia February 28, 2007 at 10:57 am

I love how you reiterate the same pattern and always make it completely different every time.

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Anonymous February 28, 2007 at 11:20 am

OK, first of all, LOVE those colors. Kristin Scott Thomas in a movie production of Richard III wore a periwinkle dress with deep scarlet trim. It was one of the most ravishing garmets I’ve ever seen. (It’s worth renting the DVD just so you can see this costume.) The colors on this Duro remind me of Kristin Scott Thomas’s dress in that production. Second, I love that you have developed a distinctive personal style that works for you — and is charming & telegenic, too. (I’m that lawyer who has to wear dark suits & the unflattering short hair and I’ve really been thinking about how you have developed a unique style, all your own, that is not too costumey but stands out as your own and have been wishing I could figure out something similar for myself.)And finally, thank you for inspiring me to sew.

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blueprairie February 28, 2007 at 11:27 am

a plea for help from fellow fashionistas (or in my case, fashionista wannabes): I really really want to make a Duro and have bought the plus-size Duro pattern produced by Simplicity (it’s part of their Khaliah Ali line). I was once a pronounced pear but am now more of a slightly off-kilter rectangle, my top half having almost caught up to the rest of me and my waistline having more or less disappeared. As a 5’9″, size 22 (store-bought) or 28 (pattern company size), can I pull off a Duro if I alter the top to show about three inches less of chest?

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Jen February 28, 2007 at 11:34 am

What a lovely dress! The pattern is so cute. And your tank underneath is, of course, a perfect solution.

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IA February 28, 2007 at 11:50 am

I love the red-white-and-brown combo.One of my favorite dresses ever–a knit mock-wrap dress from, of all places, Lands’ End–has that color scheme. I even wrote them a letter praising it. Of course, despite their legendary responsiveness to customer feedback, they’ve never made anything else in that colorway, nor did they ever reissue that dress in other prints. Humph.

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erma February 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

You haven’t posted this dress before, but I’m pretty sure you have posted the fabric. I really like seeing when a fabric you posted in the past turns into a real dress.I think what I love about the Duros, particularly your Duros, are the brilliant pairings of colors and patterns. Nicely done, again!

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Becky O. February 28, 2007 at 1:44 pm

I wish I thought to write “slutbomb” on my breast when I was pregnant… Oh the chances I’ve missed.The brown/red combo is very nice. Great for you fining a matching tank!~Becky

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Anonymous February 28, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Lusciously subtle Whitman reference. Think of me as the dust under your stilletos.

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Anonymous February 28, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I am sooooo glad that you featured Duro today again…because I was just wondering if Oprah’s dress at the Oscar 2007 is a Duro!Check it out..http://fabsugar.com/153022

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Susan February 28, 2007 at 4:20 pm

I’m sorry that I missed seeing you on TV :(How about a little more notice next time? :)

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Moonwishes February 28, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I hope someone has the answer for Blueprairie because I’m basically in the same shape and would love to try a Duro dress as they look so comfy. I’m disabled and comfy is the biggest criteria for clothes for me!

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colleen February 28, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Very pretty. I like red,and recently bought three red prints for a duro dress. Three prints, for me, are difficult to coordinate. It is more challenging to choose fabrics for a duro than for a quilt, I think. Here you go putting a solid with a print and it looks so nice, right after showing that so very understated darth vader and houndstooth creation! When are you finding so much time to sew?

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Karen February 28, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Ok, FINE. I will go buy a duro pattern. You have worn me down! My fiance will not be happy with me if he finds I’ve bought more fabric, since I haven’t finished the quilt for his first neice, so I’ll have to keep it hidden. I am always on a hunt for dresses with sleeves, and this would be great with my boots. Do these work with wool? I’ve got quite a wool collection, but there’s a washability issue. Darnit Erin, I don’t have time to sew these days! I can only resist for so long…

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Anonymous February 28, 2007 at 7:51 pm

probably someone’s already noted this pattern, but here’s a simplicity duro-style dress:http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=6615personally, i like the shorter, puff-sleeved variant best.i haven’t made any duros myself, but i think that style would work for most body types–the wider sleeves especially would probably balance out heavier areas.

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Nadine February 28, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Love the red-and-brown.And THANK YOU for enriching me with “cleavagey slutbomb”! Today I am wearing a low-cut V-neck dress (as I so often do), and all day I have had this happy inner giggle. Cleavagey slutbomb!And there is NO ONE else I know that I can share my hilarity with, except this faithful community of dress-wearing enthusiasts. Hugs!

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Elizabeth February 28, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Erin,Another gorgeous dress and thanks for showing it with your tank top this time around. I could never have pictured it (a problem with my fashion visualization, not with your fine prose.)

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Valerie February 28, 2007 at 8:41 pm

This is my favorite Duro ever. Gorgeous! One day I will try one. Also for the record, I am a big fan of being a cleavage-y slutbomb every now and again. ;)

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Charles February 28, 2007 at 9:07 pm

Oi, I’ve spent 20 minutes thinking and I cannot find one way for the unabashed carrier of a Y chromosome to agree with the statement that cleavage is not equal to slutbomb, without a high chance of it being taken the wrong way. :-((Huh, Google spellcheck doesn’t know about “slutbomb”. Better fix that now because today “I learned a new word”)

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ann February 28, 2007 at 10:32 pm

I agree with Erma about your colour combos in all of these. I hope you have more to show us. This one is lovley

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Erin March 1, 2007 at 7:02 am

Rebecca: I found the fabric in London — it was on sale at the actual Liberty store, even!I haven’t seen Music and Lyrics yet … it might have to be a Netflix special, but I’ll keep my eye out for the Duro when I see it!And Colleen, I don’t have that much time to sew, sadly … I made this dress last fall, and have been lazy about posting it until now. Thanks for all the nice comments, peoples!

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Cynthia March 1, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Erin, did you ever find a pencil skirt with a good waistband?

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Joni March 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Rebecca, I bet your Amy Butler duro will be gorgeous. Dont her fabrics just scream out to be made into a dress?I like this take on the duro as well. Wouldnt it be fun to have 2 dresses in negative images of each other?Not being a slutbomb is actually fairly high on my list of dressing criteria, so I fudged the pattern a little. When I cut out the bodice front, I did the sides and everything at my regular size, but I cut the center front along the lines for the largest size on the pattern. This gave me an extra cm. or two of boob coverage.

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Joni March 1, 2007 at 5:20 pm
Robinson March 3, 2007 at 8:36 am

I’ve always liked the Stephen King a la Carrie’s mother’s take on breasts… “dirt pillows.” It somehow embodies every puritanical feeling about the bosom and makes it seem oh so shameful to even have them attached to ones body. Charles, I think it’s okay for a man to agree that exposed cleavage doesn’t equal “slutbomb” as long as he’s not ogling it when he says it ;)Erin, I think this is my favorite colorway ever of anything you’ve shown. Chocolaty brown combines so beautifully with so many colors.

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knitgirl March 4, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Hi Erin, I love your use of the English language, but “Chicagoland area”??? Horrors! I’ve lived in the Land Beyond O’Hare for the last 44 of my 46 years, and Chicagoland area seems to be a pretty recent term. I personally say Chicago area, or outside Chicago, myself. Love your blog, LOVE The Secret Lives of Dresses, please write more!

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Chelsea March 11, 2007 at 1:30 pm

I did a paper in college (2 years ago) about Chinese text message and chat room abbreviations. They are fascinating! The biggest thing in Chinese is that they’ll type numbers that sound like the words they’re meaning. For example, 88 sounds like “ba ba,” which sounds like “bye bye,” so everyone always says 88 when they’re signing off.Neat, huh?

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judyb March 30, 2008 at 7:08 am

I just came across this post today. Lovely dress. As far as the listing, i think it’s due to the pressure on one side of the camera when you press the shutter release. All my pictures come out slightly tilted down to the right because of it (and i’m too lazy or impulsive to bother paying attention to compensating for it when i take pictures). :-)

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Katherine January 5, 2012 at 11:08 am

Off the top of my head, a potential easy fix for the whole “cleavagey slutbomb” issue could be to add a little hook and eye enclosure partway up the “v” to close it a little. So you get to keep the skin with a veneer of demureness. Might work? Though, I have no cleavage so I probably wouldn’t have a major issue with slutbombitude.

And now I need to make myself a Duro: they look awesome!

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