A Work in Progress

After the firestorm over last week’s dress-over-pants ensemble, I almost hesitate to show you these pictures, but hear me out.

This dress, which I am showing over jeans for vanity/modesty’s sake, is about to become a top. Or perhaps, more accurately, a waistcoat for layering.
Let me explain
Stop, look, and listen

like this
I promise that I will not wear a dress under/over a suit and will not encourage you to do so either
See how it will enliven a plain grey suit? It will have the same effect on a grey cardigan and trousers. In the warmer months, picture it with white jeans and a grey t-shirt.
The mind boggles at the possibilities, no?

Why am I doing this?
WHy am I doing this?
Why am I doing this?

WhY? wHY?
Because THiS!
It’s yellow, it’s shiny, it’s polka dots.
Who could resist this fabric? It almost looks laminated
Who could resist this fabric? It almost looks laminated

So why not wear it as intended, as a dress?
It’s way too short for me to wear as a dress and — did I forget to mention this? — it has no back.
No back
Absence of back very difficult to carry off in a workplace

Maybe you’re thinking, Directrice, you’re all talk and no action. We’ve heard you say you’re going to turn a dress into a top before, and then nothing.
MSGM x YOOX "Dress"
MSGM x YOOX “Dress”

But I did!
Remember this? It was no idle threat
It was no idle threat

It’s fun, right?
And just slightly bonkers
This was a dress, but I had my tailor cut 9″ off the bottom (it was an absurdly short dress) and turn it into a top.

And now I shall toot my own horn.
The pleats were originally stitched down, but I thought that they would look so much better if allowed to breathe and therefore liberated them with a stitch-remover.
Doesn’t it look great?
Pleat liberation
Fierce pleats

For those of you scratching your heads, wondering why I’d ever bother altering a dress to make it into a top, let me explain. I am a textile enthusiast with access to an excellent tailor. When I see a dress made of a compelling fabric that costs less than I would pay for a comparably interesting top, I sometimes snap it up — because the alterations won’t cost much at all.

New dress: Raoul from The Outnet; Old dress: MSGM x YOOX from YOOX

7 thoughts on “A Work in Progress”

  1. I agree with you on the fabric, it is fabulous. I really, really love the look dress-over-pants and this is no exception. If you do go ahead and chop the top and bottom apart, what a pity that you won’t be able to save the skirt as well. Or how about adding some matching/contrasting/silver fabric at the bottom? However, the vest could become quite a versatile piece.
    Your shortened top looks great too!

  2. ooo! i sew many of my clothes, so i am all about adding the custom touches that make something uniquely yours. your idea of turning this dress into a waistcoat is very intriguing! are you planning to slice open the front (in the traditional approach)? or leave the front intact and open up the back, both above and below the circle cutout? or BOTH?!?!? i personally like the idea of either just the back or both the back and the front.

    and since you have a tailor, and will have extra fabric, might i suggest that you add some welt pockets, possibly with pocket flaps, to the new waistcoat? and perhaps even a small collar, very close to your neck (in other words, not a deep v-neck collar)? too much? only the directrice can say, but she seems able to tolerate a fair bit of much… 😉

  3. Say it isn’t so! I know I’ll be the lone voice, but I love the dress as is. With your formidable layering skills surely you can find a way to keep it intact? I’m envisioning contrasting patterned trousers or a tee…wide legged swishy trousers…
    But yeah, it will,indeed, make a lovely waistcoat if you must.

  4. I hope you just shorten the dress a tad and leave the awesome pockets intact. The textile is lovely!

    And your peplum top? Simply divine!

  5. First…I love the peplum top…it turned out terrific and I’m glad you opened the pleats!!
    Second, that dress fabric is beautiful and as a textile enthusiast …I think it’s positively fabulous that you take an item and make it your own! Of course (and I’m sure you already realize this) is you could alter the dress other ways: 1-add some trim at the bottom to make it longer (possibilities are endless) and then 2-just wear a tank top under it to hide your bra in the back. Of course you could always add some of the same material used for the trim on the back opening and even cap off the sleeves with it too (in order to make it look more like a design feature)
    But if you do make it a waistcoat (I’m envisioning a vest or top—not sure of your definition of waistcoat)—then you can always use the bottom as a skirt by adding material at the top of the waistband so it sits lower on your hips and thus is longer over your thighs!! jodie

  6. I love the peplum top and I love the fabric of the dress and I love your captions! When I first discovered your blog, I read it whenever I woke up after bad dreams in the night because your writing is so clean and FUNNY. I’ll not be wearing a dress over pants anytime soon, but I love your style.


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