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Posts Tagged ‘dresses’

A late 1940s shirtwaist housedress. Illustration from Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume & Style.

Housedresses are what women used to wear when they stayed at home. They didn’t flop around in their pajamas like we do today and sweats didn’t exist yet. People, both women and men, dressed at home, casually yes, but always presentable in fear of the unexpected guest.

Usually made of cotton, housedresses were a simple drop waist in the 1920s or a shirtwaist in the 1940s. The sheath silhouette in the 60s gave way to the billowy boho housedress of the 70s. Styles changed but the purpose didn’t – something nice to wear at home while doing housework or just lounging. (Men wore khaki slacks and a polo shirt, maybe jeans.) But by the 1980s women were working outside the home and the whole idea disappeared.

That is until Pandemic Year 2020. Stuck at home for months, by summertime last year women were looking for an alternative to leggings and tunics and designers were on it – the housedress.

Check back in with ODFL tomorrow when Housedress Week continues with a post about a vintage dress turned housedress.

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Not that long ago we were suffering a nasty heatwave with temperatures hitting above 110 degrees. Dressing for heat when staying put at home is its own challenge.

I’ve recently been inspired by the simple dress of ancient cultures – Egyptian draped gowns and Roman tunics. In hot climates such as theirs, layers of light cotton was the trend.

Pictured is one of my go-to summer at home ensembles. The cotton print dress is by designer Lesley Evers. Known for her unique prints, she is a local favorite. This tunic dress is comfortable in hot weather but it feels a little short, so I layer underneath it a white cotton skirt by J. Jill. Although a simple summer staple, the subtle eyelet trim around the bottom of the skirt gives it a little extra interest.

I wear the shoes by Arcopedico only at home. They are made of a knit fabric with an arch support sole and are just right for comfort around the house.

Even in heatwaves. Even stuck at home. It’s uplifting to meet the day in style.

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It’s quite confusing in fashion right now. You have to be doing something that you really believe in. I believe women should look glamorous in this moment in their life.

Carolina Herrera – American fashion designer.

This quote is from comments made to WWD during NYC Fashion Week in fall 2017.

I agree that a little glamour back in our lives is a good thing. Ms. Herrera’s spring 2018 line is all about ladylike glamour. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Can a shirtwaist dress look any better than this?

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Love the buttons! Here’s where comfort meets style.

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Let’s bring back the party dress.

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Love this the most! Why? Because it’s a quintessential 1920s drop-waist silhouette but with a modern twist. It is, however, calling out for accessories. Perhaps matching silver cuff bracelets one on each wrist and a hat! I’d also put her in a heel.

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On a recent visit to New Orleans, I found some unexpected street style.

I spotted this lovely woman one evening in the French Quarter, where the air was thick with heat and live jazz – New Orleans style. She really stood out among the crowd of people milling about dressed in shorts, jeans, and sneakers.

First of all she’s wearing a dress! A dress is always an upgrade and it fits her well, successfully balancing sexy with polite. The bold print and shades of green and blue are ideal choices for the sunny weather. The long scarf in two tones of pink adds even more color but she correctly stops there choosing a pair of sophisticated heels in black to top off her look. I think her hair looks fabulous, too.

So nicely done.

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