Is the dress dead ?
Words: Gemma Thorpe + Rachael Otterwell
“One is never overdressed or underdressed in a little black dress,” said Karl Largerfeld, “Your dresses should be tight enough to know you’re a woman bur loose enough to show you’re a lady,” echoes Edith Head, “A woman’s dress should be like a barbed wire fence,” adds Sophie Loren, “serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” There is no denying that the dress, in its varied shapes, styles and fabrics has been the lynch pin of femininity for hundreds of years. A symbol purity, degeneracy, religion, sexuality, utilitarianism, empowerment, patriarchy: this one piece garment has had quite the journey.
But what does 'the dress' mean today ? Over the last 5 years, the dresses I've chosen to wear are looser and unstructured, basically shapeless pieces of material that at times look as though I'm walking around in my bed sheets. BUT that's okay because for the first time in my 30 years of womanhood, I'm wearing the dress, the dress isn't wearing me.
I'm all for championing the anti-fit for it's comfort, practicality and it's power to explore a new kind of elegance. There's something about a bare collarbone, peek-a-boo of a shoulder (right or left) or glimpse of a naked neck, that is incredibly stylish, sophisticated and dare I say without cringing, sexy! This isn't about hiding femininity or concealing flaws, it's about feeling comfortable and what comes with comfort is confidence.
To answer my own question, do I think the dress is dead ? No, I don't, it's just reformed itself and our motives of wearing a dress have changed. Perhaps I'm speaking for myself but I think we as women have become fed up of feeling objectified; to feel feminine we must enhance body parts that differentiate us from men, even if they have restrict how we lead our lives ?! Erm, no sorry! We are pushing the boundary of seams, favouring wares we can ravish a bread basket in without the need to undo a button or curse ourselves for feeling bloated. For me, the anti-fit allows me to forget I'm wearing anything at all both physically and emotionally. Because I'm comfortable and relaxed, I'm not fidgeting or readjusting fabric, I can immerse myself fully in whatever I'm doing.
What's your opinion on the anti-fit ? Join the discussion by posting a comment in the box below.