Wednesday, July 05, 2006
This is my new perfect article of clothing - I got it at Target. Yes, it’s cheap. But it’s machine washable, resists wrinkling, is great for daytime OR dressing up at night and it was only $24.99. I’ve already washed it so I can testify that “machine washable” is completely accurate in this instance - you know how some “machine washable” items come out of the dryer shaped differently, with little pills all over the fabric? I hate that. This dress, however, came out perfectly. The cut is pretty much universally flattering - and I’m not a no-sleeves kind of gal. I have a theory about cereal being the perfect food - you eat it out of a bowl, it’s quick, it has a handy dandy listing of the myriad vitamins and whatnot you get from eating it AND it’s tasty. Perfect. This dress is to clothing what cold cereal is to food.
This purchase got me thinking about a discussion going on over at A Dress A Day about sizes and how difficult it is to find a wide range of sizes in retail stores. Erin at A Dress A Day (excellent site which all must bookmark and check regularly) came up with these cards to print out and hand to retail salespeople when you look around and discover that the limited range of sizes at a particular store has left you unable to purchase anything. The ensuing discussion, however, has also gotten into how many of us are short-waisted or high waisted or have really wide hips or no hips at all, etc. etc. So learning to make or alter your own clothing is starting to seem like a better and better option. Buying (or sewing) styles like a classic wrap dress or a convertible dress like the one at rostitchery that A Dress A day featured here are also good solutions for this tricky problem because they will adjust to fit different body types.
I’m going to try to find a pattern or make my own using my new dress and just make a bazillion dresses in a variety of wrinkle-free, machine washable poly-blend fabrics. I’ll make short ones to wear over jeans and ones with sleeves for the winter and ones with pockets for casual running around. As long as I mix it up enough, I may manage to avoid getting a reputation as “the crazy dress lady”.
If I were a designer, this is the kind of clothing I’d make. Simple, versatile pieces in fabrics that don’t wrinkle and can be popped right into the washer with my jeans. It’s the only way to cater to a wide range of shapes, it makes packing easy and, most importantly, it means never having to touch the iron again. Sadly, I am not so sartorially inclined and I am just going to work on creating new stuff for my own wardrobe. I used to hate dresses but the idea of being able to throw on one item and slip on a pair of shoes and “poof!” I’m dressed - well, that really works for me. I think the turning point was when I read one of Sue Grafton’s early Kinsey Milhone mysteries and the very practical, unfrilly protagonist pulls a dress out of her car trunk that she keeps there for emergencies because it’s simple, black, doesn’t wrinkle and suits a variety of occasions. I don’t remember what the crime was, I don’t remember who the bad guy turned out to be, but 15 years later, I still remember how impressed I was with the wisdom of always having a travel-friendly black dress on hand.