Makes Lilly Pulitzer look somber

Vested Gentress

I love Vested Gentress. Maybe it's the name, which sounds like a linguistics-class example of something that is possible to say in English but not actually extant, but most likely it's the prints. Wild, hilarious, silly, and whimsical prints, in more colors than are actually found in nature. (I used to have an Ebay favorites search set up for Vested Gentress, but I had to turn it off — there are VG *maniacs* out there! And of course by "maniacs" I mean "people who outbid me by a dollar.")

I would buy this dress today — it's in mint condition, sweetheart neckline, a great size (a tinch on the snug side for me, but that's okay), and at not a bad price at all — $48! However, I did very well for myself at an estate sale this morning and I don't want to be greedy with the great-vintage-dress-finding karma. So I'm setting this one free so that someone else finds it to love. (Kinda like folks do on this site.)

Click on the picture to visit this dress at (It's a great site, by the way — plenty there to see!)

pssst … it's the one on the right

The one on the left is mutton dressed as lamb — I'm sorry, if you're older than 11? No puffed sleeves for you. (Also: not-so-young lady, where are your gloves?) But the one on the right? Wonderful. I like the narrow shoulders, the square neck, and the shirring and lingerie details at the bust. And, of course, the full skirt with at least one pocket.

It's at — click on the image to check it out. (There are more pictures, too.) Sadly, this pattern is a vintage size 12 — which means a 30 inch bust. Even sadder, the search is either broken or very very bad, because there's no way to search by size, and the interface is not what you'd call intuitive. But hey — you have to dig if you want diamonds, right?

Somebody REALLY likes bows

bow dress

This is, believe it or not, the FRONT of this dress.

From (click on the image to visit this dress) comes this stunning evidence of somebody's monomania. This dress was handmade, so this is the ultimate expression of an individual's singular vision. Who was not content to fasten a large bow behind, like so many other plebian designers — no! The bow must be front and center, where it can command the attention it deserves! No more bringing up the rear for this bow, nossir!

Now, it is only B34 (W26), so perhaps the idea was to accentuate whatever was going on in that area? (Although next to this whopper one's natural assets would have to take a back seat.)

I especially like the ginormous buckle (wherever did they find that?) and the fringy ends, which look to me as if they'd be happier over the top of a piano.

The description at seems very sensible: "I would consider using this dress as an 'Victorian/Edwardian' gown base and adding to it/adapting it as costuming for a play or special event." Absolutely. A special event such as "Bow Lover's Appreciation Night." Or perhaps "A Musical Tribute to the Bow!"

Don't get me wrong. I love bows. Just — not that way.


Balenciaga Dress
Whenever I am surprised by the lengths to which people will go to be difficult, even downright obstacular, I try to remember Balenciaga. When he was difficult, it was worth it.

For instance, look how difficult this dress is — no one could possibly call it simple. You might not even be able to lift your arms above your head in this. (But on the other hand, if you wear this dress, SOMEBODY will step up and hail you a taxi. In fact, taxis might just stop on the off-chance that you need one.) Look at all that ruching! Look at the fullness at the sides of the skirt! It's undeniably fussy but it does't look fussy. Maybe the difficult people I am dealing with are striving for the same effect? It's possible.

This picture is from a Royal Ontario Museum book project about second-hand clothes (somehow I don't think of BALENCIAGA when I think "second-hand clothes"). Click on it for more slightly more info (but not a whole bunch more).

When someone says "Technofur?" YOU say "No, thank you."

ebay item 8305987417

Holy Mother of God, look at this dress. You know, if you had asked me yesterday, "Hey, Erin, what word would you think would be least likely to follow the word techno?" I would have come right back with "Fur, definitely fur." But I would be wrong … because here is Technofur, in all its "glory." Now I know what Furbies wear to go clubbing.

According to, who is selling this dress (click on the image to go there), "TechnoFur is available in: black, bright red, burgundy, bronze, light grey, dark grey, lime, hot pink, bright turquoise, [and] white." You know, nobody on the planet can wear a white Technofur dress and look good. (Yes, not even Scarlett Johansen. But I bet Chloe Sevigny might TRY.) Trust me on this.

I don't even want to know how much they had to dope up that model to make her smile like that. Especially when I know she's thinking "dress itches … mustn't scratch … dress itches … mustn't scratch …"

If this dress makes you go "oooh, I want!" and feel all tingly? You are dead to me. Seriously. But — as a parting kindness — if you do throw caution, good sense, and all hope of personal style to the wind and get this dress? Please don't wear it with these shoes. Thank you.

I think Lanvin's gonna have a great season, John

Fantasy Fashion League
The Fantasy Fashion League (click on their icon at left to visit their site, which has a little too much going on for my taste) is about to gear up for their inaugural season, which starts Sept. 18 for the Emmys. Here's how it works:

Fantasy Fashion League is the fashionista’s answer to fantasy football. Like fantasy football, you draft a team of fantasy “players”. Only in Fantasy Fashion, your players are Giorgio Armani, Manolo Blahnik and Harry Winston. When the players on your team “do well” – get exposure in the news, in magazines, and on the red carpet – your fantasy team earns points!

It costs $18. If your team wins, you get a $1000 shopping spree at

I'd like to hear the designer trash-talking that would be involved with this, but the last thing I need is one more thing to track obsessively on the internet every day. If your internet-obsession dance card has a slot or two open, go knock yourself out!

trust me on this

la redoute voile dress
Yes, I know the model looks, well, frighteningly insane. And that a dress they won't show you full-on in a catalog is usually a bad idea. However, this one (at only $24.99, click on the image to go to the catalog page at La Redoute) is a good idea.

It's a shirtwaist dress with a collar in light voile. It buttons from the neck to the waist, and the long sleeves are rolled up (another sign the stylist had no frickin' clue what to do with this dress — which cluelessness also explains the obi belt, which is not included but is only $4.99). It even has pockets!

I have two of these dresses, not from La Redoute, but from another maker, both in lightweight cotton. One is black, and one is light gray. They are perfect city chic dresses — they go effortlessly from casual with flats and beads, to conservative with heels and a scarf. I don't wear mine with a belt, but I could (not that belt, though!). The dresses I have are five years old; I may only wear them one or two times a year, but I'll never get rid of them. (Because even I occasionally need a dress that doesn't inspire any questions or comments!) They're timeless, plucked out of fashion's eddying currents. I know I'll still be wearing them, with any luck, when I'm 60.

raw materials

The pattern is only a quarter of the dress, really. A dress is made up of four parts: the pattern, the fabric, the making, and the wearing. If any are off, then you really don't have a whole dress — you have a fractional dress.

Lately I've been focusing more on the patterns than the other three parts. It's not that I don't have a big enough fabric stash to clothe a small ZIP code, it's more that I'm not finding a match between the fabric I've got and the patterns I want to make.

For the dress I posted yesterday, I'm thinking of this vintage cotton fabric, which I bought last night on eBay, from someone in Sussex (and yes I'm getting slapped by both the exchange rate AND the shipping but it's still less than $10/yard):
cerise fabric

I'm also thinking of this fabric (click on it to see the page), which has giant 6" dandelions on it. dandelion pink
It's also available in a cream/spice/garnet colorway but the picture there (at is very small, although their prices are better.

Now back to work so I can get some time to sew!

Next in the queue

Advance 8556
I think I have to make this next. You know, when I have any of that mythical "sewing time" I keep talking about. I bought it on Ebay, and, well, just look at it! The little sleeves (I think I'm getting tired of kimono sleeves), the high round jewel neck with the deep vee, the pegged narrow skirt … although, you know, there's a better than even chance I'll slap a circle skirt on it. Just because.

I'm thinking a crisp brown linen, perhaps. There's always bright pink cotton pique, of course. Gray gabardine? Red shantung? What I really want would be a heavy Liberty twill, but I'm fresh out.

I probably will make the version on the left, but here's a close-up of the right-hand view, with the bow:

Advance 8556

The bow, it's growing on me. What if it were in a contrast fabric? Hmmm ….

Click on the top image to see the pattern envelope in Enlargo-Vision.

Sharp Intake of Breath

Ceil Chapman Dress

Did you go "ohhhhhh!" when you saw this? If not, are you awake? Go get another cup of coffee. I'll wait.

This very nicely sized (B38/W29) dress is $350 at (click on the picture to check out the site, and many other wonderful pictures of this dress). This is by Ceil Chapman, who was supposedly Marilyn Monroe's favorite designer — can you see why? has quite a few other dresses that are well worth your time — like this brown one (which I am so copying!) and this cherry-print one (I would commit at least a misdemeanor for four yards of that fabric!) and this magenta one. (I think one of the Problems of the World Today is this: not enough magenta. Heck, I don't even remember seeing magenta crayons lately.)

And in housekeeping news, I figured out the archives were broken, AND I fixed them. (No half-measures here, we're a full-service blog here at A Dress A Day.) Also, I've added a couple more links to that little list over on the right. If you have any more you'd like me to add, just drop me a line …

In addition, I'm looking for a good piece of royalty-free clip art to start making A Dress A Day swag … suggestions appreciated! (Does *not* have to be free, just royalty-free. And, of course, dress-related.)