No . . . not that dress. I’m using the common noun, not speaking of an infamous dress in a shade of indigo.
Guy Trebay writes in the pages of The New York Times about the coming doom of the time honored fashion article. This, at least, is the opinion (or is it the "will") of the fashionistas who now clutter up the runways with their creations. One always wonders, when watching these productions, whether these denizens of design ever bother to consult with the end users of their products. I don’t mean the models, I mean real women. Do designers ever try to make clothing with the idea of making real women look attractive, or is their goal something else?
That certainly seems to be the case, particularly when you listen to the words of Anne Slowey, fashion news director for Elle magazine:
“The eye is looking for something new, and so is the psyche . . . The dress has been done to death, not to sound really cliché.”
She argues that women want to look, “a little more hard-core, a little more androgynous, a little more butch.” We do? Not to sound really "cliché" . . . but, I don’t think so!
Trebay wonders about that too. He points to the skyrocketing sales of dresses over the last three years--all to a generation of women who have never really enjoyed (because it was never really an option) wearing dresses. These women have discovered, not only how attractive they look in a dress, but also how much easier it is to achieve both an attractive look and . . . well, comfort with a dress than with odd pieces thrown together in an "outfit" and cutting into your body in, well, odd places. The lines of a dress are meant to flatter a woman’s body--elongating the mid-section, for example, and shrouding in sweeping mystery hips and thighs that may be (or may not be) especially toned. There are very few women who do not look better in a dress. If you doubt this, start looking around . . . examine the back view of most women in pants. Note the "muffin tops" edging out over most of the waistlines . . . is that attractive? A dress, it turns out, can hide a lot at the same time that it showcases quite a bit.
A few weeks ago, I was with some other mothers in the park. We were all, more or less, attired in the standard "Mommy" garb . . . which nowadays, unfortunately, means jeans or a sweat suit. These clothes have their uses and, perhaps, one of those uses (in addition to horseback riding or playing tennis) is the chasing around of wild children at a park. But as I looked around, I wondered whether function alone is overrated. And wouldn’t it be possible to design dresses that, in addition to being attractive, were also functional?
In the meantime, since Ms. Slowey has pronounced the death of the dress coming sometime around August, I guess I’ll have to go shopping and stock up.