Back to Normal: The Return of DoP

For those of you seeking signs that we are returning to life as we knew it, look no further. Dress Over Pants is back.

I’m only going to the office two days a week, but was quick to make sure one of those days involved a dress — frankly, a too dressy-dress — over pants.

Feels good to be, in the words of Sal Paradise, widening the gutters and foreshortening the laws.*

You think this is normal?

If “normal” means “like before” — yes, this is very normal

A co-worker did ask if I’d made this dress and I had to laugh.

The answer is yes and no. I bought this Victoria/Victoria Beckham dress from Net-a-Porter years ago and returned it, after deciding that it was too dressy for day wear, too expensive to keep for evening wear, and too short (the deathknell) for me to wear at any time of day or for any occasion.

But after the dress was gone, I wished I’d kept it because . . . I just liked looking at it.

Flash forward 7 or 8 years: The dress appeared on The RealReal — very cheap, but too big.

I think you know what happened next. Enter Fatima.

Is it too dressy to wear to the office? Does anyone really care anymore? I don’t think so. I read a story in the New York Times this weekend speculating that Zoom has re-framed the office dress code such that people are going to wear fancy jackets and tops with casual pants (including leggings and track pants) for in-person meetings. Zoom is no longer a medium or a even perspective. It’s a paradigm.

While I don’t think leggings are pants, I am keeping an open mind on the mixed-code model. I’ve been wearing my Prana action slacks with smart jackets and I think it works.

You’re the jury, Directorate

Some in the fashion industry are, however, predicting, a swing back to more structured, formal clothes. That sounds right to me. The last 100 years of fashion have swung between structure and comfort (or freedom), more often driven by economic, political, and social events than the desire for novelty or commercially-forced obsolescence.

I do hope high heels are done for good
Kitten heels for all!

In case you are interested in seeing the fabric(s) of this dress, we’ve taken some close-ups. While this may look like 9 different bands of fabric pieced together, it’s not. Those bands — different colors, weaves, and textures — are in one single piece of fabric.

Up top: ochre and rose

Rose hatch, bronze-red-black, and then the blue

The top blue band appears to be decorated with running stitches like sashiko embroidery, but it’s a woven effect.  The middle and bottom bands are heavily textured. The mind boggles at the sophistication of the mill that manufactured this fabric.

Finishing with these beautiful, textured bands of blue

Dress: Victoria Victoria Beckham from The RealReal; Shirt: Talbots Perfect Shirt; Pants: JCrew (very, very old)

Last week’s post went up very late. If you missed it, here’s a link.

* Sal Paradise is describing the accommodations that Dean Moriarty will require for his visit to Denver.

5 thoughts on “Back to Normal: The Return of DoP”

  1. I like the dress! I could see it dressing down with some nice denim leggings (dark blue or black) or dressing up with a DoD combination, as in over a sleeveless off-white long dress with side slits for summer.

  2. I love this dress. You are doing your coworkers a great service because *they* get to gaze at it (in awe? puzzlement? relaxation?) during meetings. The red racing stripe is what ties it all together.

  3. How wonderful that the dress (or one of its species) found its way back into your wardrobe! It’s magnificent; hard to believe it’s one fabric. I’ve been happily reunited with vintage items I let go for good reasons but missed, and that appeared in local shops years later (back when we had local vintage clothing shops). It almost makes me believe in a benevolent divinity. As far as fashion circling back to structure and formality, I keep hoping the ’30s/’40s will come back in a big way. I have noticed more Etsy shops making repro blouses, skirts and dresses, all with pleasing structure and detail while still being comfortable whether sitting or moving around. After all, women bicycled in those clothes. And shoes were *perfect* then—long live the 1-2 inch heel! I’m very happy for you that you get to dress for work in person again, and happy for your co-workers (who I bet have sorely missed the mood-boost that your creativity brings to the collective). Enjoy!

  4. This is so my jam. It’s almost like you’re using a dress as a vest, and I love a good vest – especially over a crisp shirt. It’s providential that you found it again!

  5. That has got to be one of the most interesting dresses ever made. I like it. I think the suggestion made by one of your commentators would be great for evening events. A long white dress under this one.


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