Saturday, June 10, 2006

SMOCK HORROR: THE EMPIRE LINE STRIKES BACK...


Yesterday I played a little game of jotting down snippets of conversation I heard whilst out and about on the blisteringly hot streets of London.
Most were about the weather, so you know it's not just me who is obsessed with our climate...

"It's absolutely scorching!"

"Ah, it's a lovely day!"

"It's hot, I mean really hot!"

"...and I'm wearing a denim mini skirt!"
All these were expressed with exclamations of both joy and disbelief.

Then there were the randoms...
"Of course, London's in a state of perpetual change..."

"I love you, I really really love you. Bye."

"Has someone been stealing the peas? Heeheehee..."

"Yep, all the nutters are out tonight."

And THEN...

I overheard a lady saying;
"I mean what is the point of wearing a dress that makes you look pregnant when you're obviously not pregnant?"


I looked down at my cream ISI by Isabelle Fraysse empire line smocky, babydoll tunic dress that I was wearing for the first time. I was wafting about feeling you know, like volume is so a good look. After I heard the nice lady commenting on my attire I realised that the seam that's supposed to go under your bust had ridden up to where it comfortably sat, halfway down my bosom, from where the dress flared out. There was no indication that I had either a ribcage, or a waist. When the breeze caught the dress it created a nifty balloon effect.

I decided to look at the positive side. At least no one had actually thought I was up the duff. Although the Evening Standard seller did let me have the (free with the paper) ES magazine without paying for the paper which has never happened before. No one gave me their seat on the bus because I never take the bus. Even if I was eight and a half months gone with triplets,(ugghh) no one would give up their seat anyway.
So I walked into Petit Bateau (to look at adult vests, not babywear) and noticed my stomach being appraised by an assistant. I swiftly scarpered outta there before she could ask me when it's due.

Feeling daft and berating myself for trying to pull off a look that only the Mischa Bartons of this world can achieve, I trundled off to Topshop and bought a belt. It looked stupid. I also spent about three hours on the hottest day of the year in the Topshop basement changing rooms (or SB2 to Topshop aficionado's). This was a foolhardy endeavour as everyone knows, if there's sun you have to go out and grab it, because these few hot days might just be our summer. On Sunday the temperature will drop and it will start to rain again until autumn. I tried on many an empire line dress in Topshop, there were some great ones by Happie Loves It (whose website is down but you can find their clothes at Spitalfields and Greenwich markets as well). Groovy mismatched retro prints with a sash under the bust. I discovered that having the sash there is flattering because you can pull it tight. Also having a sheerish fabric helps to show that you still have a figure under there. I tried on every colourway of that dress until I couldn't choose one and I left empty handed. Judging from the armfuls of retro print summer dresses being taken in and out of the changing rooms, it's not just me who is having a print obsession.

7 comments:

Bombay Beauty said...

Stylishly pregnant or pregnant stylish? I wonder how this idea could be adapted to a man. Crutches? Too painful to use. Cane for the blind? Too impractical since I would actually have to cover my eyes. Perhaps a walk walking stick of the kind used by very athletic types when they suffer sports injuries. These are all legitimate survival strategies in cities like London or New York.

Question: what does one do with the offending item of clothing? Does one put it in deep storage in the closet? Give it a way to a stylish homeless or pregnant woman? Can one sell it? When does one cut one's losses with an article of clothing? I was recently on a 3 day trip in Boston with only one pair of shoes. I've always found them too tight, but after 3 days I couldn't bear to wear them. Clearly they have to go. Likewise I have coat - wonderful material, removable lining that covers a broad range of seasons - that makes me look exactly like a dumpling. When can I cut my losses?

BB

Lola is Beauty said...

The joys of purge and splurge BB...if something isn't quite right, get rid of it so you can buy something else guilt free. But what to do about the box of souvenirs under the bed I still haven't worked out.

Anonymous said...

you are so right, my dear-- print sundresses are the rage-- of course mine would have to come with an umbrella and wool sweater these days . .

~bluepoppy

eurobrat said...

I love empire line dresses, but you're so right that it is easy to look pregnant in them. I like it when the dress is cinched right under the bust with a belt or sash.

Bombay Beauty said...

A quick postscript. All for the greater good, I spent the weekend ogling the empire line. It seems that empire line tops (not sure if I have my terminology is right here) are more popular in this city than dresses in the same style, but the key challenge seems to be the same. After much careful research, I would have to agree with all of you that the whole combination does look better with a belt or sash right under the bust.

If you folks need any other on-the-street research, don't hesitate to turn to me.

BB

Paola said...

Are but empire line tops are fashion heaven for someone like me who has slim(mish) hips and no waist to speak of. Cinching in at the waist? Bah!

That Isabelle Fraysse dress is divine. I'm sure I could always find it a good home...

Anonymous said...

just to let you know authentic happie loves it can only be bought at topshop or at asos,hopefully the happie loves it website will be up and running soon.