Fashion advice from someone who owns clothes
It seems like every woman I see this summer is either wearing a maxi dress or a high-waisted tulip skirt with a white tank top. Rarely are either of these outfits doing any favors for the women wearing them, but they’re everywhere. It’s gotten so that when we’re out in public, Nick and I try to spot them first and collect points the way my brother and I used to count Volkswagen bugs on road trips.
(I feel like I should say here that I had to explain to Nick what both a maxi dress and a tulip skirt were, but he was a quick study and can now spot either from yards away.)
(I also feel like I should assure you that Nick and I are qualified to pass judgment on this sort of thing on account of how stylish we are ourselves. At the moment, Nick is wearing a pair of brown cargo shorts missing three buttons, one of which is the top fly button, and a pale blue T-shirt advertising the Konikawan Kung Fu school in St. Louis, Missouri. He wore this shirt yesterday too. This morning he showered, shaved, and put it right back on. I am wearing a short red cotton nightie, which I somehow got some bleach spots on while doing laundry a few weeks ago, but that’s okay because I colored them in with a nearly-dried up red Sharpie I found in the kitchen drawer.
Neither of us are wearing shoes.)
I’m not sure why these two outfits are so ubiquitous. Well, that’s not true; I can definitely see why the maxi dress is popular, and that’s because it must be comfy. You’re basically wearing a tent. But like most clothes that are at lounging levels of wearability, they’re not very attractive. Like sweatpants. I am all for sweatpants. They’re comfy, they’re soft, they don’t become restrictive if you decide to eat half a pizza, but they should not be worn out of the house. Unless you are running in them, but of course you’re not running in them. Those are your Sunday pants, America, and they should never see natural light. They should absolutely never be worn on an airplane, and especially not when they’re velour and have a matching hoodie and you’re also carrying your bed pillow. It’s a cross-country flight, not a sleepover. Are you that worried about having to feel your waistband for a few hours? God forbid someone in this country is uncomfortable for one freaking second.
Okay, sorry: maxi dresses. The thing about the maxi dress is that it does not highlight the part of your body you think it does. Sure, the top part of a maxi dress looks good if you have a great rack, but the first rule of having and displaying a great rack is don’t wear a giant loose tent beneath it, because then you look pregnant. Don’t kid yourself: you’re wearing a muumuu with spaghetti straps. Basically the maxi dress highlights a delicate clavicle, which is a lovely and admirable thing to have, but there are plenty of other ways to show that off that don’t make the rest of your body look like pregnant Quasimodo. If you have a belly or legs you’d prefer to cover, I understand that, that’s fine, who doesn’t, but the maxi dress makes it look like you’re trying to hide these flaws under a giant sign that says DON’T LOOK NOTHING TO SEE HERE JUST ACRES OF FABRIC. Are you hugely pregnant at the height of summer? You poor thing. You should wear a maxi dress. Everyone else needs to find a higher hemline.
The white tank with the high-waisted tulip skirt thing is at least attempting a little more style, but since it’s freaking everywhere, it’s hardly the cutting edge outfit that these girls with sweaty bangs and gladiator sandals must have imagined before they left the house. This silhouette is not being kind to anyone. I know, let’s take a form-fitting garment and then inflate it with pleats around the hips and belly! That doesn’t mean it’s going to camouflage your own hips and belly: it means that airy pouch is going to pull and pucker and make you look bigger than you are. What’s that? You’re so tiny that you don’t have hips or a belly? That’s wonderful! So why are you wearing something that makes it look like you do?
Next time maybe I’ll go off on those shoes that make it look like your feet are in a cage, but right now I have to go put on a bra and my lesbian gardening sandals so I can go across the street and buy some milk.