Pushing your (silhouette) boundaries

Hello, friends! My blogging energy has been zapped lately, I must admit, but I think it’s bouncing back. And so today, I have a little story to tell!

It all started with a print. A couple of months ago, I was obsessing over galaxy-themed prints. I managed to track down some galaxy fabric to sew a dress (no I still haven’t sewn it yet!), and also found a ModCloth dress severely on sale. It was the very last one, and in spite of the fact that I was pretty sure it would be above-the-knee even on a shortie like me, I snapped it up. (Like I said, last one, but it was the Day of the Grid Dress in Galaxy.)

When it arrived, the print was fantastic, it was a stretchy knit and comfy as could be, but it was very definitely above the knee. And while that’s never been my thing, I wasn’t exactly put off because I loved that print so much and I wanted to make it work. But I did pause to think about how I’d wear it and still feel “me”. I’m okay baring thighs in the occasional pair of shorts in summer, but I haven’t owned or made a dress that did anything but show knee caps since, well, I have no idea. So this was new.

My taste in fashion obviously leans towards the vintage inspired, and I think I have a pretty good handle on my personal aesthetic these days. I know what I like, I know what I don’t like. I’m happy to add in whatever bits I fancy to help me put together an outfit I enjoy and feel good in, but historically, that hasn’t included above-the-knee dresses.

But even sometimes I surprise myself, and push the boundaries of whatever I think “my style” is, anyway. And hey, isn’t that part of the fun of fashion, pushing your boundaries, sometimes?!

So the rest of summer passed, and then fall came around. I dusted off the black tights and leggings that I’ll likely be wearing for the next several months, and what did I do? I busted out that galaxy dress. And some intergalactic-appropriate silver accessories.

ModCloth galaxy dress

Lookit, knees! And thighs! (And p.s., new vintage specs)

ModCloth galaxy dress

Didn’t I tell you that it’s a great print?! Worth changing my whole dress length paradigm, that one. My middle name is a constellation, I’ve always loved stargazing, and damnit I think I’m totally obsessing over galaxy prints all over again.

ModCloth galaxy dress

ModCloth galaxy dress

outfit details

dress – ModCloth
Hetty cardigan – knit by me
silver leather belt – misc.
silver clogs – Lotta from Stockholm
lucite earrings – Leetie Lovendale

But wait, where were we? Oh right, short dresses. So thumbs up for the galaxy dress. Then last month, I found myself ordering a Cath Kidston jersey dress with an adorable clocks print. Hard to tell online, but again, I guessed it might be short. Turns out, it’s even shorter than the galaxy dress. And though I sized down from normal because it looked a bit oversized in photos, the waist was still more relaxed and slightly raised than I cared for, but nothing a wide belt couldn’t fix up.

When we went to New Mexico on vacation last week in part to visit my dad, let me tell you, I wore the hell out of that dress! It saw two plane rides, mountains, and big skies.

Cath Kidston clocks jersey dress

It was easy and fun to wear, and I felt very kicky in it. Completely casual, comfortable, still put together, and didn’t totally lose the vintage vibe I enjoy infusing into my daily style. It still felt me, but with a bit of a twist. And I loved it. (I should mention that Mel has also expressed love for this look on me, and has mentioned more than once that I look like I could be traveling with The Doctor. I’m not complaining.)

Cath Kidston clocks jersey dress

outfit details

dress – Cath Kidston
vintage belt – misc.
boots – Seychelles
watch – Fossil

Now let’s be real, this isn’t much of a new silhouette per se, so perhaps my post title is a bit misleading. Both dresses have a fitted bodice. One has a not-quite-half circle skirt, the other has a gathered skirt (albeit not super full). Hardly uncharted territory for me. It’s just the length that feels a lot different, though it’s interesting just how much length plays into your perception of something. Although the fact that both are knit fabrics is kind of outside my norm too, which makes them more clingy than I’m used to.

Uh yeah, clingy. Did I mention it was windy? May have to get used to that.

Cath Kidston clocks jersey dress

Anyway, while these dresses feel pretty different, in many ways, they’re really not so much. But it still feels like fun, new, uncharted territory for me!

Now, I don’t see myself wearing dresses or skirts like this without tights or leggings. But I live somewhere where more than half the year sees my legs covered. So saving shorter hemlines for tights and leggings weather is easy. (Probably more often with boots or brogues but hey, flashy silver clogs are fun sometimes, too.)

Going into this fall and winter, I have some new inspiration to play around with, along with some old, and that’s exciting! I was already planning to conquer sewing with knits (oh oh OH how I have loved how comfy these two dresses are). Now I think there might be a few shorter dresses and skirts in my future, too. And even before I bought the clocks dress, several weeks ago I found myself plotting out a novelty print a-line skirt with a scalloped hem, which I was mentally making above my knee. Interesting how things can infiltrate when you least expect it!

Pushing your (silhouette) boundaries

I’m home from our holiday, my sewing machine is back in order, and I’m feeling more inspired than I have in a long time. My sewing and knitting list is a mile long!

How about you? Any styles or silhouettes you never thought you’d fancy or would suit you, but you’re intrigued by? Trying out anything different lately? With the change of seasons things always feel in flux a bit, and surely I can’t be the only one! πŸ™‚

Filed: Knitting, Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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Golly, 26 Comments!

  • I think this length looks fantastic on you. You definitely have the legs for it! πŸ™‚

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  • I love that length on you! I’m the opposite—can’t stand wearing anything that covers my knees…maybe I’ll put on something longer for a change!

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  • I love both of these dresses for different reasons. I heartily agree with Mel, you do look like a companion in that second outfit.

    I haven’t worn an above the knee dress in well… what feels like forever. And I don’t think I will for quite some time. But changing it up is wonderful and keeps things fresh. Love the sassy “new” you. πŸ˜€

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    • Thanks, Liz! Yes, it’s fun to change it up a little. I certainly don’t think I’d ever convert to above-the-knee all the time, but I’m pleased to find I can do it on occasion and not feel completely weirded out (which I did the first couple of times I tried to wear the galaxy dress). More fun wardrobe options to play with!

      Reply

  • Both dresses look great on you, but the second one does have a “Clara” vibe. My skirt length depends on the season, in the Autumn and Winter I am happy with shorter skirts (with tights or leggings). But if I have bare legs, it’s at or below the knee. My knees are more scar tissue than knees, I was a very clumsy child (which 14 years of dance classes did not entirely alleviate).

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  • Both of these dresses look great on you. And I love the print too. I have the same hesitation about short dresses that you do. I find most modern dresses far too short. But what I do sometimes is wear my crinoline or a petticoat under them for extra length.

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    • I agree, so many modern dresses are so so short. I can’t see myself going any shorter than this, and even the second dress is pushing it (I’d never do it without dark tights).

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  • Dang!! You were in New Mexico?? I’m in Albuquerque – if you ever come back drop me a line and we’d love to take you and Mel out for a little local hospitality.

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  • I think both dresses look fantastic on you. It can be really easy to start feeling like what you wear all the time is the only thing that you should wear, but it can be really fun pushing the boundaries a little bit. That clock dress is great on you, especially with the red hair.
    I actually would love to find some dresses or skirts around that length. I have plenty of stuff that’s knee length or longer, and a few mini-skirts left over from my pre-vintage days, but nothing that’s in the middle.

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  • This length looks great on you! I like a shorter length, but only with tights – my Scottish legs are far too pale to be so exposed!

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  • I rarely go above the knee either with dresses! With the exception of a few mod dresses. This looks great on you! And once again you inspire me to try new things out! Lately I’ve been craving those high-low skirts, but have yet to find a skirt that it suitable in style and in quality, and haven’t come across a pattern yet either!

    The print of the galaxy dress is marvelous! And I love the silver belt and shoes you paired it with!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  • I absolutely love both of these looks on you, especially the galaxy print dress with those silver clogs! Contrary to many vintage girls I know, I’ve always loved short skirts. In fact, I tend to prefer my hemline either long a la early 30s or then shorty short. So I’ve made most of the high street skater skirt style that’s been happening for the past few years.

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    • Thanks, Riikka! I can’t do long as I’m too short and feel ridiculous when a skirt goes much past mid-calf, and even that’s pushing it for me (I’ll do it, but usually only because it’s a vintage novelty print with some killer border). But I’m kind of enjoying adding in a bit of short to my arsenal, too!

      Reply

  • I love the first constelation dress, it looks good on you but I feel it’s a bit too short for me… it’s always
    the problem with repro skirts or dresses, always too short for my taste.
    I’m trying to wear less petticoats… I use to wear them a lot but I see this year that I also like the style of my skirts without being too puffy….

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    • Yeah, I had to really think long and hard about the galaxy dress to decide if I’d wear it, even as short as it is, but fortunately I’m finding it okay! As for petticoats, I’m the opposite of you, I nearly never wear them, and feel a bit odd when I do, but depending on the dress sometimes it’s necessary. πŸ™‚

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  • I think you look gorgeous in this style! I recently started sewing with knits, and I absolutely love it! Ironically, I started sewing so that I didn’t have to wear knits all the time to accommodate my curvy figure. But when Colette patterns released the Moneta I decided to give it a go, and now I’m hooked! They’re so ridiculously comfy and you can make them vintage appropriate too!

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  • Both outfits look great on you. I especially love the second one. The green and brown colours of the dress match perfect with your hair.
    And the length suits you very well, so glad you tried this!
    I had similar issues with the 30ies-length, always feared it would make me even shorter. But it doesn’t, in fact I love it. And though I will never be a fan of very short dresses, every time I wear one that ends significantly above the knees I am amazed how long my short legs can look πŸ™‚ So I experienced this in both directions^^
    ~ ette

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  • Both dresses look fantastic on you. I agree a bit of experimentation is a fun thing. I’ve never dared try high waisted trousers, but am definitely intrigued by them!

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  • You look gorg! Trying a new “look” can be challenging, but sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone can be the beginnings of new wardrobe staples. For a tall girl like me, it’s challenging to find store-bought clothing that actually covers my bum…leh sigh. Thank god for sewing, right?!

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  • I’m feeling the winds of change too this fall! Today I’m trying out a look that I’ve never experienced before… Tights with shorts! It’s an adventure and I love pushing myself to the limits with fashion. You never know if you will like it until you try it.

    Love your blog btw… You have great sewing and knitting skills. makes me want to brush up and better myself at the sewing machine so that I can make pretty dresses too

    Reply

  • […] by the way, I hear some of you saying, “Didn’t you just tell us you weren’t going to wear shorter skirts without tights?” Wellll I’m technically […]

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  • […] Pushing your (silhouette) boundaries […]

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  • You have such great style! I especially love the galaxy print dress. Modcloth is the best!

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  • […] sewing and knitting today for you! You may recall that earlier in the fall, we established that I really love galaxy prints. Well, now I’ve had the opportunity to sew a galaxy print […]

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