Today I’m blogging over at Cali Fabric about my coral leopard Santa Fe tent dress… which really got me thinking about what works on my body and what I like to wear. Proportion and practicality – this dress needed some tweaks to get there!
First, proportion. I started off with the version on the left. The mesh ruffle felt cute and flirty while I sewed it, but in pictures (and real life) it made the skirt too long and the dark colour dress distracted the eye. I felt very “ladies who lunch”! So I cut off the ruffle and rehemmed (actually, there is still some ruffle in the hem, which does give it some useful volume). Shorter = sassier = cuter, to my eye at least!
And yet… the belted dress felt so short to me. Like, can’t sit down without touching skin to the seat short, which is just not comfortable to me. Which is where practicality came in… because realistically, I’m never going to wear a non-stretch belt with a knit dress, even if it makes it more flattering. So I’ve been wearing it like this, instead:
To my mind this is a true tent dress – angling out right from the underarm with no shaping. I think it’s a silhouette what works because you feel good in it, not necessarily because it makes your body look bangin’. Does that make sense? It’s the smile and strut that sell it, not the look itself.
On a tangent though, isn’t it nice to remember that your favourite patterns can take you from work to play with very few changes? One version I’d wear to give a presentation at work, one I’d only wear on weekends, and the only difference is a belt and 3″ of length.
This dress reminded me of how clothing creates identity: The longer length and ruffle made it feel older, and helped me role-play “competent professional with a hint of sass”… but I sewed it in the summer, when what I wanted to channel was “34 isn’t old!”
That is rather a lot of deep thought to come out of a coral leopard jersey dress! How proportion changes perception, how practicality dictates what we actually wear even when it isn’t the most “flattering”, how one pattern can be easily changed, and how we want our clothing to make us feel. I love sewing blogging for giving me a chance to process all those thoughts, and in the end, still have a cute dress!