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Finding an Easter dress for adults is as difficult as finding the golden egg in an egg hunt
Dear Dress Manufacturers...
Searching for the perfect dress for Easter
Dear Clothing Manufacturers,
This Easter I was given a $25 gift certificate for TJ Maxx and Marshalls and decided that I would use it to buy a new Easter dress.
I had attempted to buy Easter dresses before but could never find one that met with my specific expectations.
Mind you, I realize I am not six years old anymore and cannot get away with dressing like a princess in a hot pink midriff with a yellow and white daisy on the bodice nor a frilly wide brimmed hat with jelly beans adorning the brim, but I did really long for something floral and a hint of yellow, green or pink, especially violet and rose on a white background.
All the dresses you advertised seemed to be designed more for beach wear than church. The sleeveless, low cut, sheer material did not even look good on the models in your adverts, so I was skeptical, but surely that was not all that was out there.
I headed to TJ Maxx first and was a bit disgruntled to discover that there were no dresses in my size, which is a ten if you must know, though I can squeeze into an eight if I want to show my assets, which I don’t. I prefer something that flows past my hips and gives me plenty of leg coverage so I can stoop over or sit down without showing off my underpants or having to keep both thighs glued together as if I was Morticia from the Adams Family. I like to take long strides when I walk, not shuffle from the knee down in five inch heels, but shoes are a whole other matter, back to dresses.
I decided I would search for skirts. They were cut the size of running shorts for a teenager and made from material that resembled chinos or t-shirts, neither of which is befitting for someone in their middle years or going to church to worship, not to pick up a few extra dollars turning tricks.
Barring this, I decided I would search for a new top to go over my traditional black skirt or the black and white patterned skirts of which I owned three, possibly four if you count the one with the tan pattern as well. I was really hoping to get away from basic black and find something pretty that made me feel reborn like spring. I know it sounds silly, but I wanted to look as happy as I felt, not like I was going to a funeral or contemplating going Goth.
There were many shirts, or at least, strips of paper thin cloth with gaudy dye jobs that looked as if someone wearing them had gotten caught in the middle of a paint ball gun fight and fallen in their own pool of neon pop art before it had dried. Some had the words "sexy" or "hot mama" in glitter glue on the front. I did not think my pastor would approve even though he is rather far removed from reformed.
The labels said the shirts were on clearance, marked from from 29.95 down to 26.95… Hmmm, i think someone failed retail school here. No wonder there were still so many of them on the rack, though even at $1 I do not think I could justify paying "that much" for them as they were not very absorbent and would not even function as rags, though they resembled them for the most part.
There were shirts that slid off your shoulders, had very little material on the front side, were tied in odd twisty knots, supposedly on purpose and bulging out in awkward positions in places where a shirt should not bulge. One was afraid to unbutton them to try them on for fear the material would rip and once on, it seemed that even though it said it was a large, you had to roll your shoulders forward and hunch toward your stomach or the space between the buttons puckered like multiple sets of lips showing off your body, especially your bra, underneath.
After twenty minutes of looking through every rack in the store, I surrendered to defeat and moved on to Marshall's where I had found a nice dress some eight years back, but ah, this too was all for naught, though there was one lone black skirt with gold doves on it that fit and looked nice, I didn't really need another black skirt, so on to Ross where I found several decent dresses though mostly without sleeves and mostly cut too high, too low or too tight and none with that Easter theme I so desperately desired.
That weekend I hit the mall. This was a mistake. There were old lady outfits in pale pastel with three quarter length sleeves (or just very short arms) rounded lapels and matching stiff skirts in monotone mint green and aquamarine.
There were shoulderless prom dresses with sequins and spaghetti straps and backless concoctions that hardly provided support. There were floor length striped dresses made of thin jersey cotton with low backs and fronts and no sleeves as well. There were shirts that looked like gauze and so thin you could read a book through them. There were some that looked like garbage bags with a drawstring neckline and hem. One actually had a thin veil of material about one inch long in the shoulder area as if it might have thought about being a sleeve, but decided to follow fashion and stopped short to keep in trend.
There was nothing pretty, nothing feminine, nothing spring-like or floral. There was ugly and uglier. There was a spit up of colors with no pattern. There was cheap material and poor fit. There was nothing flattering for the older woman or modest for those who did not wish to show off skin. There was nothing practical that would allow for comfort of movement. There was nothing at over 20 different stores, even the Dollar Tree, Walmart and Kmart. There was NOTHING!!!
Where have all the pretty dresses gone?
There was a time when spring and Easter heralded in the new fashion season for women and men. Stores stocked up on frilly dresses with floral patterns and attractive designs from infants to ancient, there was something for everyone. There were sensible shoes in pretty colors that covered your toes and heels. There were flowing dresses made from cotton. There were skirts and shirts of various lengths and natural colors that mimicked nature, like moss green and dove gray and rose and violet and sunflower yellow, not black and purple and orange; harsh and ugly.
For some reason we women thought the whole purpose of the clothing industry was to make money selling things that women wanted to buy, but apparently the industry is more about making clothes out of cheap material with random paint splatters so they can force people to buy it when they have no other choice of anything to wear unless they take up sewing, which isn't a bad idea!
While there may be a whole legion of well toned arm women out there buying up those sleeveless dresses, some of us don’t like showing our armpits, those lumpy bits that hang out the sides of our bras, our old scarred and wrinkly arms or our farmer tans and prefer something with a little more privacy to keep them guessing.
We don’t ask for a lot. We would be willing to work with you on designs that flatter rather than make us look fatter or like we are wearing a polyester flour sack with geometric prints. We like sleeves and necklines that come to our necks or at least past our collar bones, so the neckline doesn't slide to one side and keeps our bra straps hidden from view. We like long flowing things that let us move freely and have a built in soft liner so we don’t have to wear slips or worry about looking naked beneath our dresses when the sun shines through..
There are millions of us out there; an untapped market wanting to spend money, but taking it to the Goodwill and Salivation Army and Thrift stores instead hoping to find a style we are not embarrassed to wear in public.
There are a few stores that sell what we like on-line, but half a week's salary for one dress is just too much for most of us to part with. We tend to be frugal as well as finicky about what we wear.
Yes, we like to be in fashion, but we find it hard to believe that the stuff that is out on the shelves is really fashionable.
A few years ago you were trying to dress us in maternity wear with spaghetti strap tops with bra area outlined and fitted and a ton of material blossoming out below. We are grateful that trend is gone, but we are still missing our sleeves and would like them back please. Our arms are not the only thing that make us look feminine and our hips are very distinctive from men's yet we do not bare those in our dresses either, though I hate to even give you the idea.
We are willing to play with the length of our skirts and dresses, but please do not put four feet of material in the back and one foot in front. You may think this is quite clever and unique, but if we wanted to mimic the look we could just tuck up the front part in our waste bands and start our own fashion trend as well. As a matter of fact, many of us have done the opposite by getting the backs of our skirts caught in our underwear while going to the restroom and well meaning friends have warned us to prevent embarrassment, so take this as a warning from a friend... it is NOT attractive!
Spanx were also designed to go under ones clothing, not to be worn on their own. Few of us are fit enough to wear something that fitted.
While some women may want to show off their bodies, most of us want something that flatters our curves while hiding our bumps and lumps. We want something we can move around in without feeling confined or limited. We like it when things flow when we move, but not so much that we have to have a permanent bridesmaid holding us up in back to keep things from dragging in the dirt or getting caught under our rolling chair at work and jerking our skirts down to our ankles as we roll the chair back on the hems and stand up at the same time.
We like color, but prefer it to be orderly and neat and not make anyone dizzy. We like the patterns to hide our flaws and set off our assets, but subtly so for the most part. Geometric patterns work, but it’s nice to have solids and contrasting color and deep colors the same as men's (like maroon. forest green and navy), but cut to fit a woman.
We are not sure who you consulted when you created the current messes you pass off as dresses, but we do not like them and are not buying them, not because we can’t afford them, but because they are ugly and fit poorly and the material is cheap and looks like it would shred in the wash.
Most women set limits on what they will pay for a dress. We want something under $29, preferably under $25. We will pay $19 or less for skirts, with $16.95 being deemed a fair price by most. We like pockets in our skirts so we can carry car keys and Kleenex and some spare change. We like our skirts long enough to hide our knobby knees and the fat parts that stick out behind them.
We are picky about our shirts. We do not like shirts that gape in front as if we are about to burst through the buttons and cannot stretch without showing what color our bra is. We also think shirts should cost less than dresses, pants and skirts because there is generally less material in them. Since our hips flare, we would prefer our shirts did as well so they can filter around our hips rather than rise up needing constant adjustment.
We don’t ask for much, just modest cut clothing we can wear to church and work and special events that keeps us warm, cool, good looking and feminine feeling as well as appearing, yet not so dolled up that we glitter and glitz and pop out our confines making others stare drooling or look away to prevent embarrassment.
So we give you this challenge and this warning to please clean up your act and provide us with decent clothing that fits and flatters. We in turn will visit your stores more often and maybe even purchase your clothes again.
Next Easter we expect to see a line of dresses for the middle aged and elderly women who are tired of wearing pants with tops they found at Goodwill instead of a new Easter dress with long sleeves, a flowing below the knee skirt and slightly fitted top that covers the back and chest and stops at the collar bone or neck. Offer these dresses at $20 or less and your sales will top the charts and we can once again present ourselves with class, dignity and fun and feel like a kid again and not like a bag lady who has just come from paint ball practice and had the arms and bottom torn off her dress by marauding wolf pups.
Your consideration in this matter would be highly appreciated.
A disgruntled middle aged woman in search of a a colorful, cheery Easter dress designed for someone over 30 with a hint of whimsical fun and the brightness of the spring season.
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