There comes a time every summer where the mercury rises high enough for me to feel reasonably justified in blinding civilians by exposing my translucent legs in a dress or a skirt. People have this weird misconception that wearing a dress is easy, carefree, and filled with lots of unnecessary twirling, but a lot of thought goes into wearing a dress, and when you decide to go pantsless, so many things can go terribly wrong.
Deciding what dress/skirt to wear is about as challenging between the flavors orange and banana: neither one is going to end up being as good as you imagine, so you need make the best of a bad situation. No matter what style of skirt or dress you choose, a simple turn of events could potentially land you in Janet Jackson Superbowl territory or have you desperately wandering the streets looking for some Project Runway reject. The wayward journey of dress-wearing begins at the closet ravaging…
The High-Waisted Pencil Skirt: Oh, this one’s a classic! Does wonders for your hips, but alas, unless you have the toned stomach of Audrina Patridge, when you wear this you’ll spend the day wondering how many people think you’re four months pregnant.
The Flowy A-Line Dress: How pretty! …Too bad you won’t be able to swing your arms normally when you walk because you’ll be anchoring that skirt down to avoid a Marilyn moment in front of the hairy-armed guy walking his dog and the school bus full of innocent, cherubic children you pass on the walk to work.
The Peplum-Bearing Dress: Glory to peplum in the highest. I can claim I’m having a “vintage moment” while disguising the big lunch I had yesterday.*
*”Big lunch I had yesterday” refers to ten pounds gained over a few months of treating Doritos and ice cream like actual food groups.
The Khaki Anything Dress: Burn this unless you’re going to be in a Jeep on a Safari. I know Banana Republic has brainwashed you into thinking this is casual chic by using the term “urban safari,” but they’re full of it.
You’ve weighed the pros and cons and after trying on about four different options (one of them twice), and turning your closet inside out because one-dress-reminded-you-of-that-totally-cute-necklace-you-had-three-years-ago (which, after emptying your entire jewelry box onto the floor, you weren’t able to find), you’re finally dressed! I hope you were working with your full arsenal of clean underwear, because you don’t want to be forced to wear your period boyshorts or the lone French-cut bikini you convinced yourself was a good idea during the Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale in 2009. I also hope you’re not going commando, because then you’d be dispelling my belief in the myth that only celebrities and socialites do that.
You’re standing there, barefoot, admiring one of your body parts or doing some weird dance (because that’s what I do when I’m alone at home in a dress), and you’re debating the most divisive question there is all bare leg history: to wear pantyhose or to not wear pantyhose?
Let me give you the only two questions you need to ask yourself to arrive at the right answer to this question:
- Is it 1972?
- Are you going to pull said pantyhose over your head to obscure your identity and rob a bank?
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, do not wear pantyhose.
“Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.”
You’re all ready to go, your legs are stubbly, but by all appearances, they look silky smooth. You hit the town on a beautiful, sunny day and cringe in absolute horror when the sun reflects off of the stubble you thought you could keep a secret and suddenly your toned calves look like Ryan Reynold’s chin. Why didn’t I swallow my pride and shave over the sink…
Ladies, we need to talk about about that time of the month in a dress. Am I the only one who, no matter what method of “feminine product” I use, constantly has the phantom feeling of a stream of blood running down the side of my leg? No, it’s never happened, but what would I even do if it did? I’d have to summon my best dramatic cry—that’s the only way I could possibly get out of that situation relatively unscathed.
Spending the day in a dress means facing the genuine functional threats of buttons unbuttoning, zippers breaking, and slits ripping. How many times have you looked down and had to ask yourself, “How long has that button been open?! Is that why that barista gave me my tea for free? He said my eyes reminded him of a baby seal…” Those dresses/skirts with the slit in the back, especially, are not to be trusted. No matter how many times I check, I feel like my butt cheeks are peeking out every time I take a step, which generally isn’t appropriate for the places I’m going, like work, anti-butt cheek conventions, and conservative-dressers anonymous (CDA) meetings.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of sitting, just wear pants–wearing a dress is only fun when you’re going to be standing around looking effortlessly gorgeous. When you’re upright, you look long, lean, and the dress itself looks its best, too. There’s no giant fat roll that you swear isn’t actually a fat roll, the buttons don’t struggle and the zipper doesn’t make that “don’t push it” sound. Why else do you think there’s so much standing at a wedding? A wedding dress, when its wearer is sitting down, looks like a tumbleweed of lace and tulle or an overgrown ivory loofah.
Seven times out of ten when you sit down in a dress, your bare derriere is going to meet the cold surface of whatever you’re sitting on. I must be doing something wrong here. Mid-sit, I pull the skirt down and smooth it over, yet minutes later there I am, shimmying around inconspicuously and trying in vain to disguise the fact I’m failing at literally covering my ass.
Your butt isn’t the only part of your body you need to consider in a dress—the gams are even worse, even without taking the shaving factor into account. You’ll have an itch on your leg and give it a fantastically satisfying dry skin scratch and forget all about it. …That is, until you stand up 15 minutes later, and your leg looks like it was brutalized by a sabre tooth tiger.
I also hate how it’s custom to cross your legs when you’re wearing a dress or a skirt, because you always get that unsightly Red Spot of Doom on your knees/legs. I don’t like going around town risking people thinking I have a weird red birthmark or patellar psoriasis. The only alternative to leg crossing is that weird ankle pretzel thing that always makes me feel like I’m trying too hard to look elegant. And please, please, please, don’t ever get the bright idea to sit on a textured surface with your legs exposed in a dress. Your fancy couch, a wooden bench with slats, the concrete—in every case, this pattern will be imprinted on your leg, and you’ll stand up to find you’re temporarily branded in the most unflattering way.
The only thing worse than actually wearing a dress is the act of taking it off. In the morning it’s just a mild skirmish—a broken nail and some skin pinched in a zipper, but no major battle wounds. At the end of the day, you have to get scrappy. There will be lots of hopping, frustrated sighing, pulling, and the early sounds of seams ripping until after a black eye and a fat lip, that damn dress is off once and for all. It’s after this experience that you seriously wonder why you ever left your stained, elastic banded sweatpants in the drawer…
Don’t get me wrong, dresses are great on those picturesque days when breathing isn’t that important to you, and it’s a great reprieve from worrying if your fly is down, but it’s not all glamorous. …Stop staring at my Red Spot and my hairy legs.