Well, I Guess It's Time To Wrap This Up, Then

Miu Miu Fall 08 runway show

Yes, I did see the NYT article about the "demise of the dress". (I was actually surprised that the story didn't make the NYT's most-forwarded list, since so many people sent it to me!)

The main point of the article seemed to be that those in the fashion industry are tired of dresses, and are looking towards pushing "the pant" for fall. Yes, even though the article touts dresses as "glamorous", "easy", "slimming", "efficient", "flattering", and "attractive", (not to mention the obligatory nod to the patriarchy with "guys like [them]") their time is UP.

In fact, Anne Slowey, of Elle, was quoted saying that the "expiration date" for the dress “is end of August.”

Which gives me, what, 124 days, more or less? Is "PantADay.com" already taken?

No, no, no, don't worry — I've made it this far without taking the pronouncements of the fashion editors seriously, and I think I can struggle through an autumn where "the full-legged, pleated high- and low-waisted legions will be out in the urban jungle" (as Ms. Slowey put it).

But if, like me, you are going to continue wearing dresses past 31 August, there are some strategies for getting through this difficult time of dress shortages and rationing. The most obvious work-around is to learn to sew, so that you simply don't care what's in the stores (aside from the fabric stores). If you don't think you can swing that by the end of August, you should start looking to buy vintage. Don't wait until October when the shortages will be most acute; start searching now — especially if you're an odd size. If you are shopping for velvet in July you won't have many competing bidders, and you can ward off the tragedy of having to wear pants to all your holiday parties.

Don't forget the downturn in accessories availability that accompanies a dress shortage, as well: tights may be in short supply, along with slips of all kinds and full-skirted coats. It's a little trickier to predict what will happen with shoes, but if you want taller boots, they tend to be harder to find in an environment where dresses are scarce.

With some careful planning you should be able to continue dress-wearing activities well past the expiration date forecast by Ms. Slowey and her ilk. And, while they're waiting in line at the tailor to get things taken in and let out and taken up and let down (pants are notoriously NOT one-size-fits-all), you can swan by in your easy, nicely-fitting dress. Don't forget to thumb your nose as you pass.

0 thoughts on “Well, I Guess It's Time To Wrap This Up, Then

  1. I always wonder in what world fashion editors and designers live in. Certainly not the real world. The latest fashions are always so ridiculous looking!I agree with an earlier comment that style and fashion are two completely different things. Style is timeless. Fashion isn’t.

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  2. I had thought I’d been a little over-enthusiastic buying fabric lately. But now it seems sensible!And if any fashionista declares my dresses passe, well I’m armed and dangerous with a quick unpick!

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  3. La Bella Donna, I love your body-shape descriptions, but for the hard of understanding (such as me) can you explain what “rulers” and “Vs” are? I THINK I know, but would like to know that I know. D’ya mean straight-up-and-down and broad-shouldered/slim hipped respectively? Many thanks.

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  4. Why the pant promotion? NY Times has mentioned several times in the last year that “a pair of jeans is the new black dress.” Who doesn’t feel better about themselves in a dress?

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  5. Fashion designers and editors come up with what’s in and what’s out of fashion to make money. They are stating pants will be ‘in’ because they want everyone to rush out and buy the ‘new style’ pants. The fashion insecure will take this as gospel and rush out and buy them, whether they suit them or not. People who know their own style and know who they are, wear what suits them. There is a style of dress to suit most women.I also vote for a national dress day in September. We will show them! Janet

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  6. I don’t mind that Katherine Hepburn pants are in style — at least I will see less but crack (I hope) after August 30. I’m a V bit I stick to dresses. I’m short and look less dumpy in dresses.

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  7. Of course I agree with everyone else that this ‘fashion dictate’ is utter nonsense. I, also, have a huge list of dresses I plan to make this summer. And even a one I want to make for winter. I make my own patterns so even that won’t be a problem. I used to wear big skirts before they got to be fashionable (I didn’t sew much back then, so I would stock up on skirts during the post-holiday sales and shop at goth stores), and now I’ll wear dresses after the fashion! I will by, the way, wear some of those Hepburn-style trousers as well, the style suits me and it’s more convenient when cycling against the wind. Oh, and September 1: Dress A Day Day? Count me in!

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  8. p-shah. More inspiration to not wear pants at all for me. I just really have a problem doing what everyone else is doing at the moment. So there, so called fashion experts.LONG LIVE THE DRESS!

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  9. Marking my calendar for Sept 1 Dress Day and proudly adding my name to the roll call of the Fashion Rebel Alliance!(Somebody print t-shirts, please)

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  10. @ lorrwill: not T-shirts! Cardigans, with the FRA logo embroidered on the chest. T-shirts are hard to wear with dresses. But by September some of us might be needing cardigans to combat climate or climate-controlled spaces. :-)

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  11. Thank you Lydia for the suggestion to get the split skirt slip! Now that I know it’s actual name, I googled it and found LOADS! Yeah!It’s the only slip I wear under skirts — it keeps my thighs from chaffing!

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  12. They can go to hell. I won’t be caught dead in pants outside of the gym and at work. I don’t care what they say, I’ll keep wearing my dresses anyway. Since when are they the law of the land? I work in retail and more dresses then anything else are coming in on a daily basis. I have more then enough tights and leggings to see my skirts and dresses through the winter.

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  13. I can kinda understand the thought behind the death of the dress idea. Frankly, most of the dresses I see in the store I wouldn’t be caught dead in. They’re cute if you’re 5’2, an A cup, and tiny… but god forbid you have hips, tits, or (shudder) height.Puts me (6’1, G cup with god “child-baring” hips) at a dissadvantage. I’ve already been making myself clothes for years, looks like I need to start stocking up on the tights and hose though.I’ll keep my dresses thanks. Glad to know I won’ be alone.

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  14. The designers aren’t tired, they are lazy! That thing on the runway is a t-shirt with plastic pop can joiners over it.If they’d make something like a nice Shirt Dress!!!! Maybe somebody would buy a dress and wear it!I’ll wear a dress but not pop can holders, a t-shirt, and a do-rag!:)

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  15. Who even cares what is in the fabric stores… any serious seamstess has a fabric stash that should last until dresses come back in again!

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  16. Someone should tell the (relatively) new http://www.shabbyapple.com that the dress is dead. It is all they sell. They don’t have many, but they all share the valued attribute of _not_ having necklines that plunge to your navel.And, by the way, none of this makes any sense to me because every shop I’ve been in this fall (Nordstrom’s, Benetton, Hugo Boss, etc.) all are chock full of dresses.

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  17. i too tend to ignore what fashion editors have to say. so much of what’s trendy is gross and when something i like becomes trendy, well i’m just glad i can find it in stores! anyhow, how many times have we all heard “black is back” or such and such “is the new black.” i mean, *snore!* the dress is on my list of favorite clothing items and i certainly don’t plan on not wearing them!great post, btw. (and it’s fun learning your “triggers”)

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  18. I can’t take the article seriously. Someone saying “pant” instead of “pants” makes me picture half a pair–imagine all the fashion slaves walking around in a single pantleg this fall. Won’t they get cold? Will they have to wear both a right pant & a left pant to avoid arrest? Will each pant have to match the other?My split skirt slip came from National Wholesale. I hope they bring back bra slips this summer.

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  19. I read it too and thought it was so silly. I have always worn dresses, and there will always be places to buy them.I just went to Seattle for a business trip. Baltimore Washington airport to Seattle, then Seattle to Midway to Baltimore. I looked. I swear, all five airports, I was the ONLY woman in a dress. Even the East Asian women had dress like tunics over pants.

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  20. I have never forgotten the Spring in the nineties when Fashion decreed that the colors were lime green, lemon yellow, and orange orange. Mostly fluorescent versions.There are women who look good in those tones, but I’m not one of them.I stuck to what I had until the insanity passed.P.S. I am currently buying a girl’s bike with a chain guard (Electra Townie) so that I can commute with my skirts a-flying.

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  21. Minya, do you mean slips-with-bra-shaped-tops, or slips with ACTUAL bras in them? I believe the first website I listed at least has full-length slips with the shaped tops; I would despair, personally, of trying to find a bra-that-fit attached to a slip-that-fit! I have, however, made my own, and a nice long time-consuming project that was! It could more easily be made with a modern bra pattern which has been adjusted to fit; mine was made using the top part of a gored-top-corset pattern, made after the fashion of an apron-front Regency dress.Mrs. G, OH, how I so agree with you! First off, why do people feel compelled and/or justified in commenting on someones dress, just because it is NOT either terribly short or terribly low? It would be thought terribly rude if the speaker came up to someone in a short and/or lowcut dress and said, How much? but nobody seems to realize that its just as rude to make comments on a dress thats either longer or higher-necked than dresses they might choose to wear themselves. And, invariably, the unwelcome speaker makes a reference to an era that he or she KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT!!! Oh, how well theyd be served with a nice, polite, educational lecture about the period and/or periods referenced, with possibly a side trip into the sartorial choices of other ethnic and/or religious groups! As their eyes glaze over, and they edge tentatively away, looking for some means of escape … perhaps theyll think twice before making that sort of comment again!Andrea, first of all, if its your intent to lose weight, congratulations. Second, if youre looking for useful dress-types to accommodate a shifting size, I would recommend either wrap-dresses (which do not at all have to look like the Diane von Furstenburg typical wrap-dress), or dresses which are controlled with elastic. Dresses controlled with elastic dont have to look baggy or peasanty; I would suggest, if your circumstances permit, an elastic-type top- elastic instead of drawstring at the neck and sleeves, but the neckline doesnt have to be low, and the sleeves dont have to be very full set on a half-circle skirt, with elastic in a casing at the waist (the casing can be made from a wider-than-usual seam allowance). Leave an opening in the casing, instead of closing it, so that the elastic can be drawn tighter, if needed, as you lose weight (at the waist and the sleeve and neckline casings, in an unnoticeable area). Its a style that can be made with long or short sleeves, high-necked or low-necked, and the skirt can be a plain half-circle or full circle, or have a ruffle set on the bottom. Its a very useful style if your weight shifts and you can wear it under the wrap dress, in the winter!Eirlys, the shapes are better defined as: Ruler, being often slender, but not always, with shoulders and hips of the same width, and a waist that is six inches or less smaller than the bust and hips (a figure having very little indentation at the waist). Some Rulers may think they have hour-glass figures; the true Hourglass, in addition to having shoulders the same width as the hips, usually ALSO have a bust measurement that is close to or the same size as her hips AND a waist which is at least 8 to 10 smaller than her bust and her hips. Commercial patterns are all geared somewhat for the Pear: they are sized for a B-Cup all of them, no matter how large (modern patterns may INCLUDE additional cup sizes, but the initial sizing is for a B-Cup, always), and, generally, the bust is six inches bigger than the waist, and the hips are nine inches bigger than the waist. Many women get confused between the Hourglass and the Pear; they go by the bust measurement, which is incorrect. The shoulder:hip ratio determines Hourglass and Pear. The Hourglass has shoulders the same size as her hips; the Pear has hips that are wider than her shoulders. The bosomy Pear may be mislead by having a bust measurement thats the same as her hips; a photograph taken of her from BEHIND should clear up confusion. It is possible to be a bosomy Pear, or an Hourglass with more sand in the bottom than the top of the glass. The SHOULDERS and the HIPS are the framework which determine the Shape. For the confused, its not the measurements taken AROUND the shoulders and AROUND the hips (yes, people have tried that) its determined horizontally, from side to side, which is why Im starting to recommend photos taken from behind, so the bust doesnt confuse the issue. If your shoulders from side to side are as wide as your hips, you are either going to be an hourglass or a ruler; your waist measurement determines that. The size of your bust in relation to your hips will determine if you are a classic hourglass (bosom and hip measurements approximately the same) or classic ruler (ditto, but with not much waist indentation). The Pear, from behind, will look like … a pear. Or a Christmas tree, or pyramid. She may be a very bosomy pear, with a bust thats close to her hip size; but her shoulders will be quite narrow. She may find that her bra straps fall down, and jackets fit weirdly through the shoulder because theyre too wide. The V shape has shoulders that are broader than her hips, and usually a bosom which is larger than her hips, too. The V will often find, to her annoyance, that she needs a size SMALLER for her hips than she does for her waist if she buys to fit her hips, she gets strangled at the waist; if she buys to fit her waist, she often finds that her trousers may bag, or her trousers and skirts have weird little fins of fabric at the sides where her hips are. Many a V will wear a size 14 on the top, and a size 8 waist with size 6 hips. Vs, particularly, may find they tend to put on weight in the diaphragm/midriff/abdomen area, but not on the hips or the backside. Oh, dear, Ive left out the Apple. Those of you who are Apples generally know that you are Apples: the Apple has a waist measurement which is, to her annoyance and inconvenience in shopping, as large or larger than her bust and/or hip measurements. It is a shape typified best by the shape of the pregnant woman, who is generally obviously larger through the middle than anywhere else. Of course, not all Apples are pregnant; but many of them have discovered that if they want to find quality clothing which is well-constructed and which fits them, they should look for same amongst the maternity clothes. If you care to go digging through the archives, Eirlys, you will find Ive posted at length (and breadth) on the subject of Shapes.I, too, am in favor of the Fashion Rebels Alliance, and would be happy to offer my services as Supreme Commander (yes, I do look like her), with Erin as our dear President! Subversively swaying others to our cause, on the grounds of beauty, comfort, convenience and individuality!

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  22. La Belladonna, the slip in question had a fairly snug bodice topped with a soft-cup equator-seamed (you know, like bifocals) bra. It had a waist seam, and I believe the skirt was gathered. It was synthetic fiber, but I suspect it would still be cooler than wearing both a bra & a slip in summer. I don’t remember how the sizing went.

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  23. hahah! Love the idea of wearing a ballgown in the afternoon! I have several looong skirts I wear, and a bridal pedicoat that poufs them out beautifully. I love wearing them to college!I am *so* not giving up my skirts in the fall! Long live wear a dress day!

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