Good Idea or Bad Idea - Dresses over pants?!
When I first started high school, all the seniors wore dresses over pants. The look - usually ripped jeans over black tights, under a flouncy babydoll or nightgown - came straight from grunge goddesses like Julie Delpy and Courtney Love, and was often topped with a flannel or pilling blue cardigan. Granted, it was the late '90s - and my school in northern New England was often smack in the middle of a blizzard, which meant almost everyone bundled for warmth before style. But back when I was 14, I thought the dress-over-pants look was the height of I-Don't-Care Cool.
This story was published on July 9, 2012.
For Fall 2012, Prada, Marc Jacobs, and Dior Couture brought back the silhouette, but with a high-fashion twist. The new look has an I-Care-Very-Much coolness about it, with structured sheaths or exploding tulle replacing the secondhand silk slips of my freshman year. The pants are crisp and often sharply tucked at the seams; the dresses are taffeta or metallic jacquard.
(Or as Dani Stahl told us, "Historically this is not a look I favour, although leave it to Lagerfeld to nail over-pant dressing for fall. Omg, so divine. Love to see Kate Moss rock one of those looks. Actually, I'd love to see Kate Moss rock anything.")
"Is dresses over pants a thing now?" sighed Jazzi last week, and I knew what she meant: If you're super-tall, super-thin, or pear-shaped, a dress over pants looks sexy and sublime. If you're teeny, like Jazzi, or short-waisted and top-heavy, like me... well, you're gonna have to work a little harder.
That doesn't mean you have to be Kate Moss to try the look, though. Start with a great pair of very dark skinny jeans or black pants. You can even cheat with a jegging if you like (but not a black tight - you need an actual hem hitting your ankle for this look to be complete). Now find a minidress that pushes away from your body: Look for a-line sheaths or prom-like poofs, and do not go for a sundress. You need structure for this one.
If you're okay with experimenting - and your poofy dress is cheap - you can carefully hack a few inches off the bottom to get the same proportions as Dior. Next, add heels (yes, heels, the simpler the better - black stilettos are ideal) and pair with a basic black clutch. And voila - you've turned the dress-over-pants from a Lilith Fair staple into something closer to Raf Simons' latest confection. Enjoy.