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. If all the fashionistas are going to start wearing pants, then I’m going to start wearing ballgowns in the afternoon. Who’s with me? I shan’t panic just yet. Have tights, can sew, own shoes and boots. Safe. For now……Leah xxxx

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  2. Aren’t slips already in short supply? I love love love my slip that is actually shorts, and I had two pair but I’ve lost one pair and I can’t find this kind of slip in any of the department stores.Any help.Oh, and the demise of the dress? *snort* As if.

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  3. I am officially out of fashion. I’m planning to sew some dresses this year and start wearing them (that is, wear much more dresses than I ever used to, because now I’m finally confident enough with my sewing skills and can make them custom for myself).Plus, I agree that pants are NOT one-size-fits-all. Definitely not me. They always forget to include narrow-waisted broader-hipped women in their sizes.

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  4. Oh please. I set my own fashion standard and to hell with what’s on the catwalks. Anecdote: When I was in Italy last summer, I got compliments on how I dressed. From total strangers. In the Galleria. In MILAN. I think I’m justified in my refusal to bow to the mercurial dictates of Couture. Deirdre, for split skirt slips, try Vermont Country Store. –Lydia

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  5. Ykes! A dress shortage? Where’s FDR when you need him? We may have to start a clandestine WPA dress project in the fall. (somewhere in central Nevada perhaps)Stay tuned…

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  6. Hmmm. After thousands of years of dresses, August of 2008 is the end? Oh no. I’m scared. Also, isn’t it a little stupid that they threw in a snarky comment about people who wear dresses for religious reasons? There is no way that Ms. Slowey is going to tear down entire subcultures with her prediction of the immediate future of fashion. People wear dresses for good reasons, not just because someone tells them it is cool at the moment.

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  7. They seriously gave women a hard time for wearing dresses for religious reasons? Certainly I shudder at the dresses the FLDS women wear (and the fact that they are color-coded by household/husband or something), but I would certainly defend to the death their right to wear them. Ditto: leggings, crocs, even – yes – ugg boots. (Well, until I become a big animal-rightsist). Let people wear what makes them happy! I object more to everyone wearing X because some “expert” told them to (and to the way that feeds into market capitalism, excess and waste – though I won’t cast any stones on that one given the way I’ve been buying fabric lately). Isn’t Fashion, as demonstrated here, just a set of dictates handed down from on high, i.e. just another kind of religion? Erin, thanks for the warning about the implications re: tights. This was a pretty good year for tights (and tall boots, which I also adore, but tights are a much more affordable indulgence) after a relative drought. I’d better lay in a stock (or hit the spring sales)!

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  8. lol ballgowns in the afternoon, I love it! I left school before my countries equivilent of prom so would be delighted by the oppurtunity… :PAnyone else dislike the element of sleeze in that guy persons article? Especially where he commented on Ms. Sloweys comment about pants being easier to cross your legs in. Got some ick vibes from that comment *shudder*I’m unlikely to ever give up my bellbottoms or my dresses at any point. I enjoy them both far too much. But have no fear… they say at the beginning that “three years of women in dresses is enough” and we’ve been at it for well more than that so I think we needn’t fear their loss just yet. Even still. Never hurts to be prepared…

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  9. Haven’t most of us been wearing dresses since we were what–six months old? Give me a break, Ms. Slowey. And, tell me where I can find any pants that do fit a size 10 lady body with curves because I cannot find them!PantAday.com–it just doesn’t have the same ring as dressaday.com, now does it?

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  10. A year ago I shopped Nordstroms and begged to be shown some dresses appropriate for a garden luncheon or summer day. The sales people raised their brows at me and trotted in a DVF heavy wrap dress in black. I *told them* to get busy reading Dressaday, and to stock up on colorful dresses ASAP.Last Friday I was back. They apparently had listened; there were dresses as far as the eye could see. It is well worth it to speak up at your favorite stores about what you like. DressesDressesDressesDresses….Say it loud, say it proud.

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  11. A year ago I shopped Nordstroms and begged to be shown some dresses appropriate for a garden luncheon or summer day. The sales people raised their brows at me and trotted in a DVF heavy wrap dress in black. I *told them* to get busy reading Dressaday, and to stock up on colorful dresses ASAP.Last Friday I was back. They apparently had listened; there were dresses as far as the eye could see. It is well worth it to speak up at your favorite stores about what you like. DressesDressesDressesDresses….Say it loud, say it proud.

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  12. As my 10-1/2-year old daughter told the fashion bully at school, “I don’t follow fashion. I make fashion.” Ms. Slowey be darned. I love my dresses and no one tells me how to dress.As to PantADay.com is it just me or does that sound like a daily dose of porn rather than trousers?

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  13. I think we have to agree now: NO HORDING! And perhaps we can organize a “Give a Dress to a Needy Cause” drop off center, in case some people are caught in an emergency without one? (And remember: some long dresses can be shortened into less formal ones in a pinch, just leave as deep a hem as possible.) I would also suggest creating a trick-back closet or other secret hiding place for our dresses within the home, in case these fashionistas intensify their reign of terror into a house-to-house search.

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  14. I’m always a late arrival when it comes to fashion trends. It makes perfect sense that I have declared this the No Pants Summer for myself, just in time for dresses to fall out of fashion. Perhaps I will need to declare a No Pants Fall out of sheer rebellion….

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  15. Thanks, Cookie for the comment about hoarding. After reading the article, all I could think of was the situation out on the West Coast with rice in Costco and WalMart. I also had a horrific vision of going to my closet on the fated day in August and seeing my dresses all dis-apparate before my eyes, leaving me with nothing but pants(and perhaps panting as well). Why should a thoroughly sensible, lovely, attractive garment type disappear just because Ms. Slowey has decided that it’s ‘had its run’ and she wants to move on to something else? Not in my closet, it doesn’t.

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  16. I had no idea. Good to know, and I really appreciate the heads up. I now know what I need to be gleaning from my thrift stores right now… Velvet in July will be a fun project… So will wearing floating, draping, whipping, whirling, sliding pretty dresses this winter amongst millions of panted legs.

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  17. Well if those things you have pictured are what the fashion police are trying to be rid of then so be it. Gaahh! And the pushed up leggings peeking out!?!As for me I have at least three more dresses and a pile of skirts planned. I managed to get a copy of Butterick 6541 (the wraparound scallops) and am thinking of making it up in denim and wearing it with turtlenecks this winter. I’m also considering redrafting the top to allow for sleeves for a nice wool version.

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  18. With any luck the demise of the dress will mean that fashion slaves will be dropping their dresses off at consignment stores by the armful for me to pick up.Thanks Ms Slowey!

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  19. Deirdre, I second the Vermont Country Store, where I suspect one could even find Dresses, if the hoarders are successful elsewhere! I also suggest you google “pettipants;” two of the companies that turned up were:http://www.underworks.com/pettipants/ – they offered both all-cotton and nylon, in different lengths – including a long-legged cotton panty for those of us whose thighs rub! They also have full-length slips.http://www.rufflesnlace.com/RufflesNLace_home.html – These seem geared to country-western dancing, but I have to say, I think the idea of frilly pantalettes under dresses is mighty cute! I think if I were in a religious group that required dresses, and it was permitted, I’d be buying those frilly pantalettes!In the meantime, Good Luck if the fashionistas think they’re going to get my dresses. I’m armed, and willing to skewer them like shishkebabs on my sabers, hew them with my ax, and bludgeon them with handy bits and bobs. I’d be happy to deconstruct them with a pair of Gingher pinking shears, no problem.Puh-lease. Because, of course, in the current economy, spending our energy running around like nuts trying to find pants that fit makes so much sense. Yeah, especially for pears and hourglasses, who are more limited in the trouser possibilities than their sister Rulers and Vs. If we could wear ethnic trousers, we probably could find something – something full-legged with a drawstring, or a pair of bias-cut churidars – but that’s not what the fashionistas want; they want us to blind the unsuspecting with the vision of pinstripes skewing crazily around our curves, and entertain folks with the ridiculous picture of full bosoms perched on top of highwaisted trousers.Lexy, that’s an awfully good point! We dress-wearers can hover like tasteful vultures near our favorite thrift stores, waiting for the “fashionables” to drop off their dresses!I’m so happy that I have a lovely array of boots. Bless the young woman at my local pharmacy who orders my everyday tights by the half-dozen for me – I know she’ll come through!

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  20. LOL – My closet is well stocked with dresses and skirts. I have over 300 patterns, of which 75% are dresses and the rest skirts and blouses… I think I can sustain the fall out for, er, probably the remainder of my days on this planet! LOL

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  21. Oh, blahbiddy blah blah blah. I can see all of those poor never-done-anything-myself people milling like cattle, never even thinking of going to a fabric store. Much like they’d starve in a food shortage because there wasn’t anything in the refridgerator.I am perennially armed with tights and boots: I do not fear this predicted dress armageddon.

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  22. I could have sworn I heard the what not to wear dictators saying NO pleated pants! Never! And now they want pleated trousers? They are such slaves to the military-fashionista-industrial complex. I can now think of myself as part of the fashion Rebel Alliance. I sew, I wear skirts and dresses, and now wearing a dress will be our equivalent of a secret handshake:)

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  23. As someone who has dropped 4 dresses in a year, I gotta say this frightens me. I need an entire wardrobe! I sew, but not fast enough. I’ve been walking out of department stores empty-handed! If all the dresses disappear, it will be even worse. I now have a better appreciation for my aunt, who wore her classic 1960’s Chanel suits every day until her death in the late 80’s. If you have a wardrobe of classic, you never go out of style, while the fads will be gone in one season.

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  24. There’s a HUGE difference between “fashion” and “style.”Fashion turns on dime- and those who are slaves to it often play or look the fool. People who hang out here are more about style IMHO. We think about what effect we want from our clothes and how it makes us feel.

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  25. OMG Kathleen – how hilarious! The Fashion Rebel Alliance (FRA) with a secret handshake! Quick, I’ll host the first meeting in my basement – ! LOL

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  26. Well, thank goodness for thrift stores, then. Everyone who follows the Slowey Faith will be dumping their dresses, and we can all stock up at bargain prices. For now, it’s 50-lb. bags of rice and bargeloads of dresses for all! To the shops!

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  27. Fiddle-dee-dee! Skirts and dresses for me, no matter what some reporter is “predicting”. (Aren’t reporters supposed to report on current news rather than trying to influence the outcome?) This is an opportunity to vote with our dollars, ladies!-Shaun

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  28. Uh. And I who planned to give up pants for good. I am too oddly proportioned ever to buy pants, and though I – after many years of pants-sewing – finally have a nearly perfect pants-pattern, sewing pants is so tidious and unrewarding. Nope, I will stick to dresses and skirts.

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  29. What utter nonsense!And for crying out loud I wish people would get their history a little closer to correct. LIW would not have worn anything at all like the FLDS dresses as an adult. Not remotely. Those dresses bear a passing resemblance to what was worn by little girls in Laura’s day but far from the adult women’s fashions (styles, if you prefer) of the late 1870s and 1880s. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine as both a modest-dressing Christian and a historian when people use LIW as an insult to that method of dressing (FLDS or any other modest, ie long, clothing choices.) -Mrs. G

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  30. What utter nonsense!And for crying out loud I wish people would get their history a little closer to correct. LIW would not have worn anything at all like the FLDS dresses as an adult. Not remotely. Those dresses bear a passing resemblance to what was worn by little girls in Laura’s day but far from the adult women’s fashions (styles, if you prefer) of the late 1870s and 1880s. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine as both a modest-dressing Christian and a historian when people use LIW as an insult to that method of dressing (FLDS or any other modest, ie long, clothing choices.) -Mrs. G

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  31. Has anyone ever seen a person dressed like the ones on the fahion runway? At the supermarket perhaps? Picking up the kids from school or at a soccer game. HMMM, me neither. Dresses are a glourious traditon thet belongs to women, no one’s going to tell me to stop wearing them. Fashion, I like what I like, not what I’m told I like.

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  32. Well, looking on the bright side the predicted dress shortage sounds like the perfect excuse for a mega dress-shopping fix! Don’t know if this is related at all, but I’m having real problems buying skirts this season – they’re all so short! I spent sunday trying to find something knee-lengthish and swishy, and there was nothing but minis to be found. Now I’m only in my mid 20s, but I’m a uk 14 – not huge I know, but I don’t want to be flashing my thighs to the world all summer. Better get sewing I suppose! Rant over!

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  33. Well, I have to agree with everything that has been said and today I have enjoyed the comments as much as Erin’s post. Not only are you devoted to skirts/dresses (as am I) but you are all a witty as ever.Rock on!Patricia

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  34. Silly editor people. xD I love how you wrote today’s post like semi-serious warning about shortages and rationing…very funny. :DJust to spite the silly forecaster trend people, I’m going to start lining up a list of summer dresses to sew up! >:3 Yay, for youthful rebellious tendencies! xDBut really, I ought to be focusing on making tights and coats and scarves, too… I’m moving up north to go to college… >.<

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  35. LOL! I loved your entry today. I especially liked the last line.How convenient that the demise of the dress will be in late August or early September. That is exactly when I start wearing pants more often….to keep WARM, not follow some fashion trend. Sheesh.

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  36. Truly fashionable people don’t blindly follow what some paid style slave in NY tells them to anyway. And the idea that we wear dresses to please the skeeve’s right to ogle us on the street? Hardly.

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  37. Honestly, Ms. Slowley obviously works for a major clothing manufacturer or is taking kick backs on the side. The plain truth goes back to something totally removed from fashion as I see it. If’s called MONEY. Why on earth produce beautiful garments that require much more time and yards more material when you can laser cut a zillion pants at a time? No fussing with tricky pattern pieces or a variety of different zippers, hooks and buttons ( lord help them iftheywere covered ). Truely that is what brought the unfortunate demise of the full skirt and dress. Ms. Slowley has been out of touch with the general woman I think. A few will follow anything. I dare say most women love feeling feminine and pretty. Now let’s see which makes us feel like that? A dress? Pants? Dress? Pants? Its nice to know that common sense plays no part in decision making at the top of the fashion ivory tower.I might be all wet, but the dresses we love to share thoughts of are and will always remain very stylish and are beacons of our feminity. Ms. Slowley can keep her pants.

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  38. I say we all wear dresses on September 1 and call it the ‘Dress A Day Dress Day.’ or something less wordy. Sorry, I’m a bit tired.-Anj

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  39. Like Christy, I had decided to make a lot of dresses for the summer – and still plan to. And I like Anj’s idea of all wearing a dress on Sept. 1st. The arrogance of these fashion dictators is so infuriating it does make one wish for some kind of rebellion, doesn’t it? I was actually in the mall yesterday (sooo painful – found not one dress or blouse I liked) and overheard some women talking about what to wear to a graduation. One talked about dresses and the other pointed out that everyone wears such casual clothes these days. The first lady said she intended to put on her dress and heels and go anyway. Yay for her – showing some respect for the day! And thanks for the above links about slips and such. This site and its patrons are so great!Dawn

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  40. I third/fourth/fifth? Anj’s idea. Septemer 1st = Dress a Day Day. Be a rebel; wear a dress. And take photos. In other words, it’ll be just like any other day. As for the shortage, I stocked up on tights and ridiculously tall socks at the end of season sales. If not, I doubt We Love Colors and Sock Dreams will let me down. & since I design and make my own clothes from recycled materials (including pants), I think I’m covered for the shortage.la belladonna, I love wearing bloomers under my fuller-skirted dresses. (I don’t typically wear anything long enough to warrent pantaloons, otherwise I would rock pantaloons too.) Almost makes me want my dress to fly up to flash some bloomer. Almost.

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  41. actually I think this could be a good thing – all those ugly and shapeless smock dresses will be out of the stores, the hordes of blind fashion followers will stop wearing ugly dresses and will be wearing pants instead, leaving those of us that wear and/or sew dresses to stand out from the crowds and look even better!

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  42. YES! Let’s have a Dress a Day Day! Erin, if anyone could pull off a coup d’tat on Ms. Slowey and her regime, it’s you! Plus, it would be AWESOME to see photos of readers in their frocks. Let’s get medieval on those fashion dictators, gals, shall we? I’m armed with my favorite vintage stash of dresses. Which one shall I choose? Decisions, decisions.

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  43. Erin, this reminds me that I had been meaning to email you to ask you to post about tights sometime (the way you sometimes digress into slips, shoes or purses. All welcome “digressions”.)Do you have favorite brands? Do you have tips for sizes or material? I just bought a really lovely pair of tights in Paris, but didn’t want to buy extra pairs of untried tights. Now that I’ve tried them, I wish I had bought more, and am wondering where to buy good tights in the States. My history with tights has been hit or miss.

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