I have a handful of clients who wear dresses more than any other wardrobe item, and as a result we successfully shop for dresses throughout the year. But the majority of my clients are infrequent dress wearers and shoppers and here’s why.
1. They are Hard to Fit
Structured dresses are hard to fit because they assume that the top and bottom parts of your body are perfectly in proportion, that you have a defined waist, a flat stomach, a fuller bust, a round bottom, and a broad shoulder line. Unstructured dresses are hard to fit because they can make us feel overly large and shapeless, or the neckline is all wrong. The former can be unforgiving, and the latter too forgiving. The in-between happy medium is like a needle in a haystack.
Dress alterations can make the world of difference, but we don’t always have the time, budget and energy for them. Separates like skirts and tops are generally easier to fit, and that’s certainly the case with most of my clients.
2. Too Many of them are Short, Clingy or Skimpy
It’s been fashionable for what seems like forever to wear short dresses that are well above the knee. Sleeveless and strappy styles also remain extremely popular with designers. Not to mention the influx of silhouettes that require fussy bras in order to look good. And there’s the body-con frock that makes you feel like you’ve been shoved into a sausage casing. Not so fab.
The more revealing and alluring dress shapes can work for date night, vacation and leisure settings, but they don’t work in work settings. They also don’t work for the majority of women who prefer to wear their regular bras and sport a little more coverage on their legs and arms when they wear an everyday dress.
3. The Good Ones Often Suit Imaginary Lifestyles
When we do find a dress that fits beautifully and isn’t too skimpy, it’s often too dressy, bombshell or corporate for my clients’ lifestyle. There’s definitely a dearth of flattering casual dresses that aren’t too short and skimpy.
4. They are Less Practical
Dresses can feel too constricting and precious, even when they’re quite casual. Grabbing a pair of jeans, pants or shorts with a top is a more robust option. Easier and more comfortable when walking fast or crawling around on the floor with kids. Dresses can also be too breezy to wear in air-conditioning.
Dresses that require shapewear can also be a deal-breaker. So can their “dry clean only” laundry instructions, and the need to wear a higher heeled or less comfortable shoe because that’s the style of footwear that looks best with the style. These days sneakers and all sorts of flats can look great with dresses, but those combinations aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
5. They are Seasonal
Most dresses are suited to warm weather, and in many cases are the ideal item to wear in a hot and humid climate. Because dresses are very seasonal, most clients will really only wear them in the Summer, unless they have a Winter function that requires a dress.
Personally, I love wearing dresses and I’m wearing them more frequently in the Spring and Summer. If our Autumns and Winters were warmer, I would wear dresses more frequently then too. That said, I can’t tell you how many dresses I’ve passed up because they were many inches too short. Retailers seem to be giving us sleeves, but not length — and I don’t want to wear a casual maxi dress. I also prefer to wear woven dresses, which aren’t as popular as knitted dresses. Slowly but surely though, I’m adding to my dress capsule and being very patient with my purchases.
Over to you. Do you also have a hard time finding and purchasing dresses?