Make fun of me all you want, I love sweater vests. Maybe it’s because I once dated a guy who thought button-up shirts were super hot, but I always got cold and so the sweater vests were a great solution. Maybe it’s because I have always thought in the back of my mind that nerdy chic is the best chic…maybe it’s because they’re everywhere and we’re socially conditioned to want what’s in front of us. Whatever the reason, I have an affinty for this article of clothing that cannot be denied.
And so, about a month ago, I decided to wear sweater vests for a full week. I thought it would be fun, and I could publicize it on facebook in an effort to satisfy my narcicism. Well, it did. Even my boss was asking me why I stopped wearing sweater vests the next week. And I did stop wearing them for awhile after that week, because I got sick of them. Turns out, I don’t like being told what to wear…even by myself. I still love sweater vests…but I love them like I love pickles. Great on the side, not as a meal.
Looking around at the current trends, I have to say it…I’m disapointed! I love that we can experiment with all different kinds of looks and still be en vogue, I really do…but must we take it so far? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do me a favour: get in your car and go to the nearest shopping center, or take a walk if you live in the city. Out there are thousands of young women and men dressing like it’s the eighties. The eighties!!! Now, ecclectic is good…expression is good…skinny jeans, not so good! 85% of the population, myself very much included, looks like an ice cream cone in these pants. They shouldn’t even be made above a size 4!
And tights, are we serious? We want to bring back tights? If I wanted to look like my 2 year old niece, I could just spill spaghettios on my shirt! The problem I have with the eighties fashion we’re seeing a revival of is not just stylistic, no…it has to do with my love of the female form. As we can tell from any Bangles or Bananarama album cover, the shapes that were popular in the eighties were not in any way complimentary to the natural female form. Alright, for a punk esthetic or a rail thin woman, they can be passable. The issue is that every single woman on the planet can look better if she doesn’t wear this stuff!
I’m more partial to the shapes of the 50’s and 60’s myself…and whether or not you appreciate the styles and fabrics, you have to admit the silhouettes at least go with (at most grossly exagerate) the natural female form. I recently came across this website looking into my vintage Dior wedding gown: http://www.thefrock.com/…nope, I’m not getting married anytime soon. But I am interested in the dresses! I see these silhouettes and am brought back to a more romantic time…where all women didn’t aspire to look pregnant with stick legs. Oh, a girl can dream…
I am what some would call a “girly girl” …I get my nails done every 3 weeks, I own a lot of shoes…and I wear dresses. Kind of a lot. Just to balance this out, I do consider myself competent in the areas of building and renovation, am constantly being used as a pack-mule to carry things, and never, ever scream when I see a spider. I gently pick it up, and put it outside. But today I’m not talking about that; today is about the power of the dress. The power that can, and frequently does, render an otherwise practical and in control woman speechless…and broke. The power that makes a man into a little puppy, mesmerized by the promise of future treats.
I have a magic dress, it’s a shirtdress from Club Monaco that I got over 2 years ago, and every time I wear it I get compliments from strangers. Gushing, over the top compliments. Sometimes job offers.
I have a polk-a-dot sundress that makes little girls stop and stare at me in public, point and tell their moms to look at the lady in the pretty dress.
I have evening dresses, day dresses, vintage dresses and new expensive dresses…and if I wear something out and don’t get a lot of great feedback, it’s unlikely I’ll wear it ever again. This is the power of dresses: they bring us back to a simpler time. Not only are they simple to wear (just step into it, zip up and voila! Instant chic!), they make us feel like women. They make us LOOK like women. Of course you’re no less of a woman in jeans and a t-shirt…and sometimes, that can be the sexiest thing you can wear. It’s just that…we all do it. All the time. A woman walking down the street in a great dress is a breath of fresh air in our current androgynous culture. It’s brings back images of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn….sometimes even Marilyn Monroe. It makes us walk differently, sometimes even think differently. The dress is important because it advertises the difference bewtween mens and womens bodies…and too often we forget that that difference is what draws us to one another.
So a few weeks back I had a charity event to attend. I had a few choices for what I could wear; good choices too. But I knew that I wanted to look extra special for this event. And, let’s be honnest…there were already pictures of me in most of my other evening dresses. So of course, I went shopping. I went to Winners first, thinking I’d spend a modest amount on something I could wear again. That way I wouldn’t even feel guilty about spending the money! So I looked and looked, and tried a few things on…much to my chagrin, the best dress was about 2 sizes too big. So I went to a few other stores nearby, didn’t find anything noteworthy. Finally I decided to go into Le Chateau, and if I didn’t find anything there, I would suck it up and wear something I already owned. I walked in, mentally noted the colour and style groupings around the store, and at the back were a group of sexy dressy dresses. I started walking towards these, then abruptly stopped. I had seen it. THE dress. It was made to celebrate an hourglass figure, it was satin, and it was the kind of red that I was created by God to wear.
I had the sales guy get my size down for me to try on, because it was up so high. I marched into that changeroom with the dress, whipped my clothes off praying the whole time it wouldn’t look as good as I knew it would…and then I wouldn’t have to spend the money. It cost about four times as much as I was thinking of spending. I had the dress on in about a minute and, whadya know? Perfection. All the things I find challenging about dressing my body; my large bust and hips and tiny waist, my height…all of my features were shown in the best light when I put on the red dress. I had to have the red dress.
And so I bought it of course…and I wore it to the charity dinner. In a room full of women wearing black, I definitely made a splash. Every woman should experience the feeling of turning heads in a dress. Every woman, whether she believes it or not, can find the dress that is made for her; the dress that makes her shine.