Fashion: Strapped for a proper dress: Let's face it: most women won't be wearing these itsy bitsy teeny things this season. If you're a size 6 and not prone to the cold, enjoy, enjoy. Otherwise, envy, envy
Thursday 05 May 1994
And this will irritate the hell out of you - especially if you're over 30 or above a size 14. High-street shops are chock-full of these incy wincy dresses, all cross-over backs, spaghetti straps and pubescent pinafores, in spite of the fact that only a small percentage of the female population can look good in them.
But fashion has never been politically correct. It worships youth and it worships slimness and the tough truth is, when it comes to these flagrantly flighty little numbers, one size definitely does not fit all.
So is it the same old story about designers and the high-fashion market refusing to pander to anything over a size 14? Yes. Nevertheless, the look is selling out fast in the shops. Dresses increased their market share by 22per cent this spring (according to the trade journal, Drapers Record). So, let's not be spiteful and spoil summer's prettiest look for those who can carry it off.
For, like it or loathe it, this is the look of summer. At Calvin Klein's spring/summer show, Kate Moss wore two dresses (or was it two vests?), one over the other. For his youthful second line called Ralph, Ralph Lauren celebrated the gawky ingenue in her little black strappy dress and girly over-the-knee socks. Ralph's girl's name is Bridget Hall, the next Cindy Crawford, they say, and just turned 16. By the time she's grown into Crawford's womanly curves the look won't suit her, but right now it looks lovely.
Teeny weeny dresses have raised temperatures and eyebrows. Designers have been accused by outraged fashion hacks of being perverts and of encouraging paedophilia - which is a bit rich coming from an industry that relies on the selling power of sex. Perhaps the reaction is a result of most fashion commentators being too old and too big to wear these clothes.
But designers are doing well with this look, and high street shops are faring even better. Those seen here all have price tags bigger than their hemlines but, since shooting these pictures, far cheaper versions have become available. You don't have to spend more than pounds 200 on something the size of a hanky: Jigsaw has a neat line in short sprigged dresses for under pounds 60; at Miss Selfridge, ultra-short checked sun dresses are pounds 19.99. At that price, pretty much anyone can have one - as long as they can slip into it.
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