Monday, October 27, 2008

A is for ...

I just recently finished reading Nina Garcia's book The One Hundred. Although this is a good read, and there is lots of usable information in the book, these books usually make me feel blown off by about the second or third chapter. Yes, I would love to have Manolos and Jimmy Choos, own a Burbury trench and shop for Lanvin, wear tights that cost almost one hundred dollars, and of course, be seen in Chanel. Well, I can appreciate these styles and designers, but my budget and lifestyle just aren't there. Why is it that all writers of fashion books seem to be out of touch with the way most of us live? Well, at least out of touch with the way I live. Also, if I wore high end designer clothes to work a)I doubt that anyone would know who the designer was, and b)if they did, they would think I was out of my mind.

The One Hundred is written like an alphabet book, with a variety of items under each letter of the alphabet. It covers everything from clothes, underwear, accessories, and outer wear, to champagne, passports, and Pearls. I will say, that there was a lot of useful information in the book, and it is a quick read. On the other hand, a Birkin bag and original Pucci will not be adorning my closet any time soon.

I have decided to do my own ABC list of sorts for the "real woman", in fact, for the real sewing woman. I will be using a combination of ideas I have read in a variety of books, magazines and articles. I will be reflecting on things I see in real life and what I've known to work for me. I live in California, so my my views will be a little more relaxed than the East coast view, but hey, It's just a blog... Enjoy!

A is for A-line dress. Now this is one of the things in Garcia's book, but trying to find a pattern for a true A-line dress is not as easy as it seems. I just recently purchased a couple of vintage pattern from Out of the Ashes for a 60's A-line dresses. A-lines were very popular in the 60's and 70's. and yes, I'm old enough to remember. The beauty of the A-line is that it is (supposed to be) flattering for all figure types. If you are having a poochy tummy day, it will never be seen in an A-line. A-line dresses were also considered "mod" dressing. Bright colors, color blocking, and large prints made these dresses mod. Most had high necklines; either jewel or nehru. These dresses were either just above the knee or mini length. The A-line came into being as an offshoot for a slimmer line than the trapeze dress. Women were in love with this style after years of cinched in waists and fitted bodices.The A-line is the easy to wear go-to dress. I'm anxiously awaiting my pattern so that I can make up one or two!

So, I'm wondering... How many of you have an A line dress? And do you believe that they are flattering on all body types? Do you have any pattern suggestions to share? remember, the A line was not shaped at the waist. I'd love to hear what you have to say about A-lines.

Next - a couple of more A's.


Little Hunting Creek said...

Since I am so busty an A line dress looks rather maternity-esque on me so I prefer some waistline definition. I think that they look better on taller figures - but maybe that's just me. I live on the East Coast, but most workplaces here are business casual now, I could not wear most things that Nina talks about either.

Nancy K said...

I have a princess seamed A line dress in 4 ply silk that I made for my son's wedding last year. I have worn it twice. It is flattering, but oh so boring. I like it better with the cropped jacket I made to go with it. Not matching, but adding bling and texture. It is a finely quilted black cotton with black lurex woven in irregular dots. The jacket I have worn a lot. A true A line without the princess lines would not look good on me either with my DD cup bust! I think that this is a great topic. I love fashion, but most of it is just not appropriate for my lifestyle. I am always looking for separates that I can layer and casually elegant. I am too old for too much edginess! By the way, I can't see what I assume are pictures.

Meg said...

Nope, no A-line dresses for me anymore. I'll save those for my DD.

Vicki said...

I was just about to say I didn't wear A line dresses in the 70's but that would be a lie cos I just remember one I had that had a box pleat in the front. I can picture it but not sure if I made it or mum. But I don't think I will be wearing them now.

Mardel said...

I have 2 A-line dresses that fit beautifully and look quite good, even over my DD bust. Both are fitted on top but only one is princess seamed. Both are fitted through the top and narrow just enough below the bust to add shape without adding attention.

I don't think I was aware that a princess seam a-line was not a true a-line dress. I thought it referred to the entire silhouette, narrower on top and wider on bottom so you could have some definition and fit. And the volume on bottom is controlled. An a-line dress is not a trapeze dress which flares out from above the bust and is probably unflattering on all but the very slender and/or young.

Ralph Rucci does quite a few dresses that strike me as a-line and many of his dresses fit just below the bust and then flare, giving a general silhouette that is close fitted on top and then skims and flares away. I can't afford them but do look to the shape for inspiration.

I think a solid color a-line dress can be boring by itself, but can also be quite versatile. It is all about what you wear with it. As I recall, Nina Garcia makes that same point.

Maureen said...

I wore them AND my mom wore them....eek!

I stick to skirts and blouses these days...can't remember when I last wore an actual dress.

Anonymous said...

Snap! I just bought and read the same book!

Well, I made more of a trapeze dress a few eeks back - and it DOES Look great! I'm hoping to grab simplicity 3744 - a slightly A-line dress - at the stores today, because I DO think A-lines work for me.

And I'm loving wearing dresses this Summer - so easy!