Sidestepping toward style [pt 2]

In two earlier posts, I described what drove me to get a customized dress and how I rationalized needing multiple variations.

Up until a few years ago, the whole concept of working with a tailor on minor alternations was foreign to me. Ditto for getting shoes stretched. Clearly my suburban upbringing never included a semester of HomeEc; I’m afraid the glamour of COBOL beat out such fusty and low-status fare.

While I bet classmates who went on to qualify for Women in Technology International membership have no regrets, my fat little high-arched feet are attached to a different sort of brain, and they sure paid a terrible price.

Nowadays, though, I’m coming to terms with the basic tailoring experience. I’ve even gotten brazen and binder-clipped items into place to show what I’d like ruched or nipped. [Of course it LOOKS stupid, but I wouldn’t need binder clips and a tailor if I could make it look pretty!]

Working with someone on a heavily-customized dress dropped me right into stranger in a strange land territory, though. And journeying to several warehouses filled with bolts of fabric (and lots of 80s-looking quilters) was positively anthropological.

I mean, I spent high school wearing my mom’s Norton McNaughton pants to class while the cool girls wore tiny Op shorts like this:

Random internet chick giving me clothing-related PTSD

In a worlds-collide moment, I’m actually thinking Ed Grimley might be WEARING Norton McNaughton pants in the photo I posted earlier to describe my body proportions. Hmmmmm…


And yet here I am, having made big strides away from bad silhouettes and baggy clothes and wearing head-to-toe black (well: 2 out of 3). Here I am, buying this crazy print I love for use in a 40th birthday dress…

only to find out (thanks, Jody!) it’s based on one of Paco Rabanne’s avant-garde creations that quite possibly launched the year I was born:

Paco Rabanne design c 1969, courtesy of


But with the dress in production and no turning back, I start to get Inexperienced-Print-Fabric-Buyer’s Remorse.

Suddenly, I’m beginning to think that my coloring + the print’s coloring + the print itself means trouble. I’m looking at the sample again, and I’m wondering if I have a Breast Cancer Awareness dress underway. No matter how many times I hold it up and squint, I’m no longer seeing “sophisticated”: I’m seeing “nipples.” Lots and lots of dancing nipples.

But it’s a face-on-the-tea-towels situation, which is why an invisipal like Bingo comes in handy. Because when she says:

Don’t worry, everyone’s going to love your Dress of a Thousand Nipples!”

she seems so sincere I can almost believe it.

Next: Part 3 of Sidestepping toward style, aka a few unexpected challenges

2 Responses

  1. Of course I’m sincere! I do like the dress and the print a lot.

    Actually, because I’m brain-damaged, I’d gotten it in my head that I had introduced the idea that the print was somehow nipplish, so I’m relieved to find that that association was a product of YOUR deranged perversity.

  2. I know you were sincere! Hell, you should BOTTLE UP your sincerity and sell it with a big-eyed-puppy label. I’d buy!

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