Tuesday 21st November 2017
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Dresses with dignity


There is no fun in recognizing moments when you have become a cliche. But, I have decided, there is no shame in it either. So indulge me for a moment as I become That Woman and issue this complaint: why must designers persist in turning out otherwise desirable dresses with absurdly short hemlines? Why must finding something that hits significantly closer to the knee be so hard? What happened to the elegance, people? I do love this one by Saloni, though, because of its feminine, slightly retroish cut and because how could I not with that print?

I like the idea of wearing this Willow dress with black tights and a black cardigan—for sort of  a reverse black and white effect, which always looks so cool.

Sweater dresses can be tricky, tricky for the less than flat-of-stomach,but that’s what Spanx are for, right? I have always been a sucker for the look of a super-low waistline: it just seems so slouchy and comfortable, and this Marc by Marc Jacobs dress feels like it  could be one of the coziest pieces ever.

Another super-retroish, very flattering dress—by Tucker, who my enthusiasm for grows in direct proportion to how far they let themselves  stray from their signature peasant dress template. I’m also very fond of the same dress in this print, but the springy green-on green is sweet and unexpected for fall.

If I needed a knockout dress for a party, I’d totally go for this one my Cynthia Rowley—not a designer who is usually my cup of tea, but I’d make a big fat exception here.




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Posted on October 26th, 2012 29 Comments

29 Responses

  1. beth says:

    Thank God you exist. Love the Comptoir stuff but the hemlines! These are all great. My legs are pretty good but I’m mutton, definitely mutton.

  2. Cynthia says:

    I do sometimes wonder who wears all the super-short dresses that are available, because I never really see people wearing them.

    • Cate says:

      That is a mystery. Not sure who they are aiming at since it is the 40+ women who have the most discretionary income

  3. marjorie says:

    I love that black-on-white Willow dress…but GAH, an XXL is a size 12. suck my left one, Willow.

    • Maggie says:

      And the Tucker size large is a 10. Someone please find me a tent in a delightfully sprigged silk. Suck my left one, indeed.

      • Donna says:

        The fashion world seems to get very small when you’re above a size 10. I’m well above that right now, and I think I might have to start sewing my own clothes.

        • Amy says:

          That is no joke. My friend and I have decided our New Year’s resolution is to learn to sew so we can finally have the wardrobes we want. I’m quite excited by the possibilities.

          • Rebecca D says:

            Good luck and go forth on the sewing. It is the solution, there are many great places online for fabric (www. gorgeousfabrics.com, www. fabricmartfabrics.com – just tons) and I highly recommend www. patternreview.com – amazing resource for pattern reviews, how-tos, everything. Have fun.

  4. Knh771 says:

    My beastie and I were just talking about the hemlines! There has to be some middle ground between coed and granny.

  5. Tracy says:

    Thank you! I (and my similarly aged friends) say this all the time
    Well, this and the fact that we wish they would stop making all of the beautiful heels 5 inches tall.

  6. Cate says:

    Hurrah! Thank you. What is it with the hemlines? Many a dress I’ve put back with a sigh bc it was above my knee. And that just isn’t a pretty sight anymore. Big bonus in your selection here– they all have SLEEVES!!

  7. Desert Flower says:

    Amen, sister. I have the hardest time finding dresses that are long enough. I’m not 25, I’m tall and I work in a professional setting. Any one of those factors cause me to look for longer hemlines. I don’t find many. I appreciate your suggestions!

  8. Let’s blame it on Calista Flockhart (that name – really?) and those ridiculous Ally McBeal hemlines.

    On the flip side, L’Wren Scott (that name – really?) always does a tasteful hemline. Bless her.

  9. saraspunza says:

    Wow! I love all these dresses. You are so right about the hemlines. My thighs, at least now that I am “older” call out for coverage. These dresses do just that and they are the furthest thing from dowdy.

  10. Margie says:

    This is a wonderful selection of strong woman dresses that are not $1500. I lose my mind when I am seriously shopping for “fashion professional’ dresses that are length appropriate. Love the Willow dress and will probably buy it..a very good price. By the way….the short dress market to me always looks like a slew of over priced large shirts. Am hoping that trend ends soon.

  11. susanjane says:

    The Saloni and the Cynthia Rowley have backs that open to the waist. How is that more dignified than a dress that hits above the knees? To quote Diahann Carroll, the legs are the last to go. You can have a pretty lumpy middle-aged midriff and still have nice legs. Designers put out short dresses because women of all ages look better in them. I refuse to restrict myself to frumpy because I’m over fifty.

    • Maggie says:

      Whoa I didn’t even look at the backs! Holy crap.

    • alexa11221 says:

      The Cynthia Rowley dress is meant for a party. Plus, you can cover up open backs more readily than bared knees.

      That said, I am just about 5′ 3.5″ and it’s actually hard for me to find dresses that show my knees, which are still in fine shape.

  12. Joni says:

    Just wondering why you’re not find of Cynthia Rowley. Love your blog and your taste! Great work.

  13. Rebecca D says:

    You know that Rowley dress is a good idea, simple, elegant. I am beginning to ponder my holiday party dress and something like this might work. And if you have more posts about dressing for the company holiday party, bring it on. I could use all the ideas I could get.

  14. Diana says:

    Splendid post! Speaking of elegance, what does one do for support when a dress is backless like the last one? Do those stick-on bra cups actually work? I saw someone wearing a similar top with jeans and she had opted for a nude bra. If there is something uglier than the back of a nude bra under a top like that I don’t know what it is. Perhaps a delicate tank with a shelf bra or would that just ruin every thing?

  15. c.w. says:

    My daughter swears by the sticky bra cup thingys for backless dresses. I’ve not tried them––pretty much flat-chested.
    Love the dresses. Not crazy about the flowery prints, but the cuts are beautiful. And sleeves!! I’ve got great biceps, thanks to pilates, but (sigh) the elbows…lordy, the elbows….

  16. AnnW says:

    The Cynthia Rowley dress on ShopBop is only available up to a size 10. Typical. Everyone is chasing the same small market. Don’t they care that half the women in the country are size 14 and above? The split back has hooks and eyes to close it. I need a fourteen or larger and will spend a lot of money if I have to. But, no one respects our market. The best, largest. and fanciest clothing store in Westport/Greenwich Connecticut, Mitchell’s-Richard’s does not carry size 16 for women. But, they will bend over backward for any man with a non-standard shape. I work out five times a week and am not fat, just bigger than tiny.

  17. Katie says:

    The back of that Saloni dress is to die for! Everyone is looking at the keyhole slit, but did you notice the draping on the butt? Super sexy in a not-trying way. Love it.

  18. Cindy Kamm says:

    Great post & fab dresses. I am often frustrated by the lack of age appropriate, yet modern & stylish dresses not offered at affordable prices. Have even thought to start a line but alas I am not a designer!

  19. CB says:

    Covered arms and longer hemlines: Yay!!! Warmth with style. Thanks for these finds!

  20. maria says:

    Forever tall and 39- that will be the name of my store when I retire from dentistry size 10 and ABOVE ONLY!!!!