Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Don't Wear T-Shirts With Dresses

Did you watch the Golden Globes? More importantly, did you see this dress? I'm torn. I think Julia looks pretty and pulled together and appropriate. But it feels a little odd - like the white shirt is an afterthought. I don't hate it. But I don't really get it.

I've never had to (at least that I am willing to admit in this forum) dress up in an evening gown. I'm sure it's not the easiest. And I understand that for many women, you want a gown that covers the arms. And maybe that's what Julia was going for. She's a mother of two (three?) and doesn't want to be in a black tube dress. I get it. I support that decision.

After this dress made its debut, I had this little exchange on twitter with the incomparable C Jane.

You see, I don't really understand the shirts under dresses thing. Especially the ever so popular here in Utah trend of the white t-shirt under the dress. I mean, there are entire industries built around shirts to wear under sleeveless dresses. Here's the thing: It just looks bad. And I know that I am not the arbiter of fashion. And I know that you don't choose your outfits to make me happy (as someone else on twitter told me when they saw this exchange.) But if you put a t-shirt on under a dress it usually looks goofy.

If you want to wear a sleeveless dress and you don't want to be sleeveless, as I see it you have two options:

  1. Put something over the dress. Perhaps a cardigan. Maybe a chambray shirt tied in a knot. A lovely denim jacket. A blazer. 
  2. But a different dress. 
Maybe that sounds harsh and sounds like I am speaking from a place of male privilege (which I also heard on Twitter.) But as someone who has sold women's clothing professionally for the last 15 years, just trust me on this one. It's really hard to make the t-shirt under a dress look right. Think about it - a dress is, well dressy! And a t-shirt is super casual. And when you layer the two together it just doesn't fit. 

Let's put it this way: there is definitely a trend (whether you think it looks good or not) in urban men's fashion right now to wear shorts that hit either just above the knee or mid-thigh. Let's say that I wanted to participate in that trend because I have really incredible  legs (For the record: I do.) But because of my religious beliefs, I can't wear shorts that short. Would it make sense for me to buy a pair of knee-length sweat shorts and put them under those shorts, so I still had the great fashion trend, but remained covered? No it would not. You would think I was dressed like a fool. 

And don't tell me that cardigans are too hot. Because anywhere that you have to wear a dress, I am wearing a suit. Which means I am wearing a shirt, a jacket, a TIE and PANTS. So even if you have a cardigan over your sleeveless dress, you still don't have pants on. So I win the "too hot" argument. 

So let's please agree that if you stop wearing t-shirts under dresses, I will stop wearing sweat shorts under shorty shorts. And I'll stop wearing shorty shorts. And I'll stop wearing sweat shorts. All of these things are ugly. And silly. Even if Julia Robert's says they are OK. (I'm pretty sure Julia Roberts doesn't endorse men wearing double shorts.)
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