A Theory of Dress

A Theory of Dress! I have so many theories . . . .

I can’t limit myself to one, so today we will discuss two.
Ack. I am realizing, as I prepare to list them, that this post encapsulates three distinct theories: socio-political, efficiency, and equilibrium. Where shall we begin?
We’ll start with the least consequential and build to something grand

Kidding on the square; I am wearing this tattersall dress ironically, but I also love it sincerely
An Equilibrium Theory of Dress: The most traditional styles deserve a spot in our wardrobe, but we can’t wear them entirely on the level. This tattersall plaid dress in a vintage cut is irresistible, but it needs accessories that play against type. If worn with ballerina flats, it would seem correct but humorless — and that we cannot have.

Fortunately, I have just the thing to keep this dress real.
Just the thing!

Occasionally, The Photographer tries to provide editorial direction.
He did here with mixed results.
He said my face was too stiff

I can’t imagine what The Photographer hoped would happen next, but this is what ensued.
The Directrice relaxes her face
and reveals how hard she works to overcome gravity, age

And then, she cannot stop laughing at her silly faces
which are so dreadful
Trying to regain composure
Sucking the laughter back inside

I bought this dress at the start of the summer. It was a little too long and a little too big through the bodice, though snug around the neck and waist. Hmmm.
The hem was, of course, child’s play.
I suggested to Fatima that vertical seams added to the bodice might work.
The Directrice, recomposed

Fatima did something a little different. She created a vertical pleat along the shoulder seam.

Not what I expected, but it works

It works!

Do take note of the flanged cap sleeves. Not my usual style, but very charming, I think.
After these alterations, I tried the dress on and thought, “How disappointing.”
Do you see what I saw? As I looked at my reflection, I started flipping through a mental list of my colleagues and acquaintances, thinking who I could give the dress to.
And then, I remembered our most important lesson (WWMOD?) and saw that this dress with a belt was as cute as could be.*
So cute, in fact, that I got on-line and ordered another one (in lavender seersucker) from the end-of-season sale. This rash impulse may seem like an over-correction, but was actually based on proven theories.
Without belt: tant pis

Note: I’ve changed my sandals
An Efficiency Theory of Dress: I have become totally enamored of suitcase-of-dresses vacation packing. I now have enough of these casual summer dresses for a week-long vacation.
A Socio-Political Theory of Dress: This dress came from Christy Dawn, a small Los Angeles company that purchases deadstock fabric from large fashion houses and sews simple, vintage designs in downtown L.A. The dresses are not cheap, but the company is committed to paying good wages and full benefits to its workers. I can’t think of many better uses for one’s discretionary spending than clothing underpinned by social values.

And now, a QUiZ!
How many zany accessories can one preppy dress support?
1. None**
2. One; choose wisely
3. Two, although only one of them should look like an animal costume+
4. Three, but that Orla Kiely bunny bag isn’t zany and doesn’t count
Extreme sandals

Dress: Christy Dawn Piper Dress; Belt: Off-White; Black sandals: Wonders; Blue sandals: MM6; Bag: Orla Kiely
* This dress also looks cute with a leopard print belt.
** Surely none of you said none!
+ These sandals make me think of woolly mammoths.

9 thoughts on “A Theory of Dress”

  1. ** I’m ethnic Chinese which seems to bring sufficient irony to preppy looks without any further tinkering. Same for 1950s Doris Day dresses. In a qipao of the same vintage though, I get mistaken for a waitress when in Chinese restaurants.

    I thought that belt would be a hard worker when you first posted it and so it has turned out to be !

    • I have not tried anything else. Yet! Am eyeing another dress, for fall, the Quinn Dress in Terra Plaid, which I think would look very nice with my witchy, studded mules. Perhapsleberry.

  2. Love the dress, beltless with the fun blue shoes. Your shoot had to be amusing to watch and great for us to see part of the asides we don’t always get. Further like the idea behind the label and garment. A winner all round. Fatima is terrific with her efforts. Wish she lived near.


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