If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you like

ebay item 8305987417
Mina's dress from the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. Click on the picture to go to the site where you can order a custom reproduction gown from a movie. Examples on the site include Somewhere in Time, Ever After, Titanic, and (of course) Star Wars. (Amidala, not the Leia Slave Girl Costume. If you want that, go here. Not quite sure that last link is SFW. Or actually a dress, but hey.)

The Mina-dress maker says she's happy to work with you to get you what you want, even if you don't see your favorite movie on her site. So perhaps my fantasy of having all the Doris Day outfits from That Touch of Mink can become reality, after all …

Beat the Heat (Sundress Time)

HurdyGurdyMan dress
So cute. So cool. So bright! (Bright is good. Not everything has to be a neutral color, you know.)

At $85, this is fairly reasonably priced for vintage. I've seen stuff much worse than this go for more than $100.

Click on the link to see the back view, and while you're at it, check out the rest of this guy's site — some things seemed to be really cheap! (Haven't purchased from him myself, so can't say anything about quality.) The site is not so fun to navigate, though, so pick a time when you're not in a hurry or cranky … Guys (and I know there's one or two of you reading this, it's okay, I'm glad you're here) check out the Men's 40s and 50s selection because there's an excellent gray wool car coat there …

A quick contest update

First of all: y'all ROCK. The links and so forth sent so far are great!

More details: the contest will end Monday, so you still have time to send me links. I will pay shipping on the dress, don't worry! (Although, if you live in, like, Australia, expect to get it 'round Christmas.) People who asked for other measurements — I'll post 'em up or email them tomorrow, as my little boy has AGAIN absconded with all my upstairs tape measures. (They're the cool round retractable kind, so it's not unreasonable that he takes them every chance he gets.) I have decided that there will be runner-up prizes, but not *what* they will be yet.

You are really, really going to like the stuff folks have sent in. Trust me on this.

A Dress-A-Day Give-A-Way

blue dressTo celebrate me finally adding an "email me!" link to A Dress A Day, I'm giving away this dress. It's one I made a while ago and while I like it, I never, ever have worn it. For one thing, it's navy blue, a color I usually run screaming from (blame Too Much Catholic School–although funny, that didn't ruin the Peter Pan collar …).

It will fit a 36-38" bust, a 30" or so waist, probably hips up to 45" — the skirt is fairly full.

How exactly do you win it, you ask? Just use the new email link (on the right, at the bottom) to send me a link to a dress you like, and tell me why you like it! The dress that I like best will win this dress, and it (and a couple runners-up, if I get more than one I like, which seems highly likely) will be featured on A Dress A Day. Please include the name you'd like your find to be credited with (it doesn't have to be your Realio Trulio Name). Don't worry about sending me your mailing address; I'll email for it if you win.

I should also point out that the dress is made of polyblend shantung. This probably means I will get no entrants. (But it's nice polyblend shantung!)

Employees of A Dress A Day (as if!) and their families are not eligible to win. Cash value of prize: your guess is as good as mine. (If you end up selling it on Ebay let me know what you get for it.) T-shirt on dress form not included. Winner can ask to have "Made For You With Loving Care by Erin" label sewn in; I've never used any of the ones my aunt gave me ten years ago.

Any other questions? Ask me in the comments …

Jil Sander, again

ebay item 8305987417
Thanks to a benevolent commenter on the last entry, I can show you the dress I was talking about — that is, I can gesture vaguely in its direction, as it's mostly covered by a coat. (A coat, which, although it looks interesting, would be about as convenient to wear as a full suit of armor — you can't tell me those drawstring loops wouldn't get caught on every little thing you walked past. I picture the wearer, at the end of the day, removing the small dogs, newspaper kiosks, bicycles, and the odd parking meter that had accumulated all day, caught up in her coat … )

I've been trying to puzzle out how, exactly, the fabric was cut to allow for all those tucks across the bust, but since I suck at origami I'm no closer to knowing now than I was when I was staring at it through the store window night before last.

And, for the "How Would Erin Change This Dress" feature of this blog, I think I'd like to see it in a different color, instead of the oh-so-predictable neutral (is it gray? is it black? is it khaki?) shown here. It's for Spring, dammit, how about primrose yellow, or robin's-egg blue, or even turquoise?

Click on the image to go and see the entire Jil Sander Spring 2005 RTW collection at Style.com.

Industrial-Strength Chic

Jil Sander dress
I have a sneaking fondness for dresses that, in a pinch, could double as janitorial uniforms or be listed under the heading "noncommissioned officers, for the use of," and this is a dress that definitely falls into this category. (Although most uniforms don't cost $590!)

I like the standup collar that looks as if it should be folded down, and the patch cargo pockets that look handy in principle but that I'm sure in practice would lead to large lumps in the least-attractive place for large lumps. I like the color, and the skirt length, and the 3/4 sleeves.

There really is just one thing I'd change about this dress (besides the insane-o price): I would not, I am absolutely sure, be able to resist sewing a name patch that read "Betty" over the left breast. But can you really blame me?

This one is from Jil Sander. I was originally looking to post a Jill Sander dress I saw that was nothing more than a shift of transparent silk organza with amazing little tucks giving shape to the bust, but I couldn't find a picture of it. I took a picture of it with my Treo, but I am resolved not to start posting crappy cameraphone pics of dresses shot in bad light through shop windows. That way lies a lot of wasted electrons, I am sure. But if any of you have better Google-fu than I do, and run across a good picture (believe me, you'll know it when you see it), feel free to drop me a line and I'll run grab it and share it here.

Dresses in Literature, Dr. Seuss edition

"Have no fear of that ring,"
Laughed the Cat in the Hat.
"Why, I can take cat rings
Off tubs. Just like that!"

Do you know how he did it?
Now the tub was all clean,
But her dress was a mess!

Then Sally looked in.
Sally saw the dress, too!
And Sally and I
Did not know what to do.
We should work in the snow.
But that dress! What a spot!
"It may never come off!"
Sally said. "It may not!"

But the cat laughed, "Ho! Ho!"
I can make the spot go.
The way I take spots off a dress
Is just so!"

"See here!" laughed the cat.
"It is not hard at all.
The thing that takes spots
Off a dress is a wall!
Then we saw the cat wipe
The spot off the dress.
Now the dress was all clean.
But the wall! What a mess!

From The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

Give That Dress Away …

A Dress A Day's favorite charity, natch, is The Glass Slipper Project, which donates formal dresses to young women who would otherwise not be able to afford to go to their proms.

So, if you have some Jessica McClintock number (I'm dating myself here, and not in the prom way) taking up space in your closet, well, the 80s are back! Donate it so another girl can enjoy a magical night in an over-decorated hotel banquet room. Or perhaps you've been often a bridesmaid, and have the packed closet to show for it? Send 'em along! Never went to a prom and are thus lacking prom accoutrements? They also take, you know, money. And donations of your time …

The Glass Slipper Project is Illinois-only, but Google "prom donation project YOUR STATE HERE" and you'll be sure to find a local group. Seattle has The Ruby Room. NYC has Operation Fairy Dust. One in DC seems to be run by a group called The Recovering Sorority Girls, which I thought was along the lines of the Lincoln Park Trixies, but they seem to actually be real. And they're doing good work, prom-dress-wise, so more power to 'em.

I know it's not exactly the food pantry, unless you think beauty is food for the soul. Which I do.

You'd Think You Could Buy This, But You Can't

topshop wrap dress

That is, you can't if you're me, because the store it's from, the UK High Street chain Topshop, is so completely sensory-overload, all the time, that even if you do dare wander in, you wander out again shortly, dazed, bleeding from your ears, and uncertain of basic information that you went in with, like your date of birth and what the hell you were looking for in the first place.

So you think, oh, okay, it's 2005, now they must have a web site! And of course they do, and it's a flashtastic eyefuck of A Clockwork Orange proportions, and it's all you can do to grab this screencapture and get out of there with your on-good-terms relationship to your retinas intact.

So. Click on the image, if you dare, to try to purchase this £35 dress. I didn't even get as far as checking their international shipping rates. If you get in and get out without turning into a drooling mess, please report back. You'll get a hero's welcome.

Norman Norell, Now With Bonus Affected Gesturing

This is the kind of dress I wish could still be worn without the fear of being 'costumey'. It's a Norman Norell, picture taken from an odd site that I can't quite puzzle out. Click on the picture if you'd like to take a stab at it.

The other thing that keeps me from wearing a dress like this is the realization that, if I did, I would walk around with my arms held out like that ALL THE TIME. Which would make it hard for me to work my iPod. So that can't happen.

It's hard to tell, but this dress does have a collar. I know that comes as a big surprise to you all.