Friday, May 7, 2010

Full skirts on dresses

I like wearing dresses, and now that I'm finally neither nursing nor pregnant, I can wear them again. But I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm going to have to make my own, because I cannot find what I like in stores. 

For instance, I look at a page like this (not that I'm going to spend that much because, y'know, thrift stores exist!) and I think, "What do you have against fabric? Use more of it, for heaven's sake!" And that's not a modesty rant. It's an anti-tightwad rant. 

At least, I think it is. Honestly, look at that. Now that I know something about sewing, I can recognize the one thing all of those dresses have in common: they use very little fabric, and that's solely due to the narrowness of the skirts.

Which, I'm guessing, ups the store's profit margin.

But who wants to wear that? People complain about dresses being impractical to wear, and I think, sure, when you're talking dresses like that. Dresses with full skirts, though, are pretty practical to wear. Something knee-length isn't even going to give you much trouble, if the skirt is full enough and the fabric has good drape. You have plenty of movement and even if you take a knee you're covered, because the fabric just falls into places around and between your legs.

But if you're stingy with your fabric, yeah, the dress is going to be impractical to wear. Even if it's cute as a button. (And for the record, I tend to really like how LOFT's stuff looks.)

I want to start a movement: Women for Full Skirts! (An acronym that sadly doesn't quite spell WTFs.) Oh well. I like sewing anyway.  And it's really not that important. But . . . I can't help thinking that if you're going to bother to make a thing, you ought to bother to make it well, make it so that it's pretty and it's practical. Form and function. Why make something that's not usable? I don't understand.

peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

p.s. Some places do slightly better with the full-skirt thing. But that page just makes me want to go into another rant, which I would title: Women-have-waists-that-look-nice-when-their-clothing-highlights-them-but-those-waists-don't-start-directly-below-their-breasts-you-idiots.  Although that mistake is at least more understandable: sleeveless empire waist dresses only have to fit at the bust, whereas a proper dress has to fit at bust, waist, hips and possibly shoulders, making it less likely to be an off-the-rack success.   This also explains why the easiest way to get the silhouette of a properly-fitted dress is just to wear a skirt with a shirt. You can then have your fit at waist and hips with the skirt, your fit at bust and shoulders with the shirt, and the torso length problem solved by letting the skirt and shirt overlap if need be; that way the fit problems don't have to all be solved in one single item of clothing.

Okay, now I talked myself out of being mad at clothing manufacturers. They really are facing all sorts of problems when they try to make dresses blind, without knowing what body type they're going to have to fit.

But still . . .


Amy said...

I'll join your movement! I love to wear dresses and skirts. My favorite brand is Boden which has feminine, high quality, modest clothing. It is pricey so I'm only able to get it at consignment stores or for special occasions. But I've been trying to buy less and get better quality in the last few years anyway.

Ma Torg said...

I must confess that I have no problem with those styles. I choose to wear dresses, skirts and (yes) even mini-skirts sometimes even though I'm a mom of 3 small children. It is impractical, but oh so fun. I don't mind adjusting my way of bending down in order to maintain modesty. I found it pretty easy, actually. That, and leggings make a short cute dress very practical.

I also have no sewing skills, and therefore, don't bother to think of dress costs in those terms. And, even if I did, I'd probably spend the money for the sake of convenience.

That, and after my bed bug experience, I must confess I have an aversion to anything used and will not even enter a thrift store.

But, go you! (o: Full skirts are very pretty too!

Jessica said...

Amy, thanks for the link; they have some really pretty stuff.

Kelly, I can see that side of it. After all, I haven't made time to make myself a new dress yet! (though I have cut out a pattern.) I do have a few dresses with narrow skirts, because they were pretty enough I couldn't resist. I just never wear them except on Sundays because I find them so impractical.

But I remember you striking me as very graceful, so I can well believe you know just how to move in short skirts without any trouble. :)