Sunday, June 15, 2008

Flash a little back

(I wanted to make the title of this post, "Baby Got Back," but I resisted. You're welcome.)

It's summer, it's hot, you want to show some skin. Or maybe you want to stalk away dramatically from that dude who wronged you, while giving him a view that makes him think, "Oh, why did I screw this up?" Or maybe you've been walking up in the middle of the night to drink egg white milkshakes, because you're preparing to play a female boxer in an Oscar-bait movie. Or maybe you don't need a reason to wear a backless top or dress.

From Urban Outfitters, the Lux Debbie dress, $48, is seriously backless. I like that it's relatively modest in front, so the rear view is a bit more surprising. The strappy back looks great, although I worry that it's the sort of dress that ends up almost strangling every time you try and get in or out of it. But if you're going to be strangled by something, you could do worse than a soft jersey knit in a bright, saturated color.

This Kimchi & Blue Scarf Print Halter Top, $48, embodies breeziness. It's a bit hipster-ish, maybe, especially if you were wearing skinny jeans and some sort of annoying headwear. But with a denim miniskirt and some simple footwear, it'd be great for a barbeque or outdoor concert. But definitely go for simple accessories with a print like this; all you really need is smooth, glowing skin.

The beading on this Lux Ojo de Dios Tank, $48, makes it a touch more formal. I'm not crazy about the sagging fabric at the bottom, but that, plus the raw edges, gives it an appealing "Oh, this old thing I found on the bottom of my closet?" vibe. I also sort of like how the back looks like an upside-down wishbone.

Look how prim and (metaphorically) buttoned-up the front of this Rebecca Taylor open back dress, $216, is: pencil skirt, high neck, modest sleeves. It's very "secretaries should be seen and not heard," but then she turns around and is all, "Wouldn't you rather buy me a drink than ask me to type up those documents?" Plus it's silk, arguably one of the sexiest fabrics. I'm a bit concerned, though, that the ends of the long ribbon used to tie the back together would make me feel like there's an insect on my back, which is never a good feeling.

I am rarely, if ever, a fan of butt bows. Not only do they call attention to your butt in a bad way (if you thought there was no bad way to call attention to your butt, you were wrong), but they get all squished if you sit down. And yet... I sort of like the bow and cascading ruffle on this dress, no matter how much it resembles a tail. The Thayer Bree Open Back dress, $282, looks like a super basic jersey tank dress from the front, and in the back there's all this skin and flouncing fabric! Ok, I just realized that this is the mullet of dresses (business in the front, party in the back). Moving on.

This dress is way more wearable: the T-Bags Solid Open Back dress, $129.50, combines the classic sportiness of colorblock with a seriously confident splash of skin. This would be the perfect dress to throw on when you're enjoying drinks at the country club after you dominated Bitsy Von Muffling in your weekly tennis match. That old bag wishes she was as young and chic as you, and that she could return your backhand.

All these plummeting backs are very well and good, but there's an easier, more modest way to utilize this trend. Brought to you by Old Navy, of course, is the Keyhole back tee, $10. Very simple, very affordable, but comes in great colors with weird names like "Berry Chutney" and you can totally still wear a bra underneath. You could even pair it with a pencil skirt and cardigan and wear it to work, and then afterwards you can ditch the cardigan, take your hair out of the bun, and be all set for happy hour.

I was going to end this post with some high-tech, slightly scary undergarments from Victoria's Secret, for those of us who can't just go braless, but the site is down for maintenance. Sorry, ya'll are on your own.

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