Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Drop-Waist Dresses

I've been reticent about posting here lately, because I really believe that people should wear whatever makes them happy; to hell with what other people think! Like, every time I put on the vintage gold Dior turban I just bought, Julia gags a little - but it makes me feel Elizabeth-Taylor-glamorous, so who cares?

But I've been thinking lately - perhaps continuing to post here about my eccentric, sometimes questionable brand of style will encourage similarly freaky girls to embrace their quirkiness. This particular post, however, is not so much for the quirky as it is for the curveless -

A celebration of the drop-waist dress.

I was milling around Daffy's in Soho today, which is my favorite discount-designer store in Manhattan. About 99% of the stuff in there is bizarre, Italian-designed, and pretty much unwearable but really amusing to look at/try on. But that other 1%, which you have to dig for, is brilliant, unique, and perfect. I tried on a fuchsia satin babydoll gown (which had a pretty fierce, extremely low-cut back... but I'm aggressively anti-babydoll. And seriously, a babydoll gown?!), a black avant-garde metallic dress that consisted of a piece of fabric barely large enough to cover my bits, and a black chiffon drop-waist dress.

The first two, obviously, were tried on only for my amusement. But the drop-waist dress was stunning! On the hanger it didn't look like much, but it skimmed over my almost-curveless figure and hugged my small hips in a supremely sexy way. Even though it created a somewhat androgynous figure, the generous pleats of black chiffon made it unapologetically feminine. So I plunked down my credit card and took that baby home with me. It looks awesome with the stripper-esque Prada platforms I snatched up from a thrift store in the East Village.

Everyone knows how important it is to find which silhouettes work for your figure and wear them, but it's kind of amazing how few girls do. Barely filling out a B-cup, I can't rock a retro, curve-hugging dress the way Christina Hendricks does on Mad Men (total girl-crush, by the way. But I digress). But the drop-waist dress probably shouldn't be attempted by anyone who has normal-sized, womanly hips, so it evens out.

Now that you've read all about my adoration for drop-waist dresses, here are a few I like:

Misile "Parc Bleu" Dress, $180: This one is pretty casual and a little too long for my personal taste. But it looks really comfortable, and the pleats on the bodice are really nice. Also comes in black.

Pencey Double Layer Drop Waist Dress, $395 $118.50-$197.50:
This one is silk-chiffon, nice and floaty. I love the slightly futuristic vibe that the contrasting cut-outs on the shoulders create. Its simplicity makes it sufficiently casual. It could work grocery shopping or going to class with some metallic sandals; then throw on some heels to take it to a bar uptown. Comes in teal (marked down to $118.50) and navy ($197.50).

Manoush "Loulou" Dress, $500: I love, love, love this one. If I had half a G to blow on this dress, you bet I'd do it. It's Grecian-goddess-meets-1920s-siren, supremely glam, and all-and-all fabulous. Just writing about it is making me salivate all over my keyboard. Ew, Julia, hand me a towel, would you?

Of course, if you do have more than half a G to blow on a flapper-esque dress, why not go all out and buy the real thing? This beaded cotton flapper dress, $1,600, is from 1925 and is in excellent, wearable condition. Plus, since it's cotton voile instead of silk and is simply (albeit heavily) beaded, it'd work for everyday.

Okay, now the question is: What kind of shoes would I wear with these? Since drop-waist dresses are a throwback to flapper culture of the 20s, I'd personally steer clear of ladylike pumps and modernize the look with a chunky, edgy platform heel. Like these Giuseppes:

The 4" heel and sleek lines say "fuck me;" the mirrored studs say "fuck you." You'll decide which message you want to give off when you wear these, because they belong on the impeccably-manicured feet of a woman who says and does exactly what she wants, when she wants. (Giuseppe Zanotti T-Strap Sandals, $520. Sigh. I really need a sugar daddy.)

These Enzo
Angiolini "Zollo" Sandals
, $100,
are a more affordable, but almost as fierce, option. With a 3 1/2" heel, pewter snake-embossed leather, and a streamlined metal t-strap, these shoes are definitely hot.


Ryan said...

I've been looking at that last picture, and I cannot figure out why I think the shoe in the foreground looks so good and the shoe in the background looks so weird. Maybe my squinty eyes are broken.

Julia York said...

I would look fucking ridiculous in a drop-waist dress, but damn, some of these are cute.

And Joan from Mad Men? Totally banging bod.

lena said...

If I had half a G to spend on clothes, you know I'd do it too. Unfortunately I am poor and reduced to buying $5.99 Lisa Frank tshirts online (true life story, but it is totally awesome).

I just got a pair of t-strap heels similar to the last pair except in black and with a shorter heel. I wanted a chunky one but TO NO AVAIL. Life is hard on a deadline.

Danielle Blanchett said...

Lena - in high school I used to dress like a rainbow had puked on me and cited Cyndi Lauper as one of my fashion influences, so I totally support your shopping at Lisa Frank.