November 02, 2009

Figuring out how to wear a slightly too long dress

I really like my new By Malene Birger Liane dress that I posted about a few weeks back but I haven't yet figured out how to wear it. It is slightly too long and I am loath to hem it because I fear it would be too complicated a fix.

The fabric seems so delicate. And the interior hem in reinforced and lined with a different fabric. It would be labor intensive to replicate how it is done currently.

I need to decide if I should just deal with the length (and the stumpiness it produces on my 5'3 silhouette) or if I can find a creative, and sartorially acceptable solution.

I started playing dress up with it today and the results are mixed.

My first thought was: add a cardigan. For example, when I added a cardigan to my outfit of the day, it made a slightly tented dress shorter by making it hug the body tighter.

Despite the blurriness of the photo, it gathered the empire waistline in to hug my entire mid section.

There is SO MUCH fabric in the pleated skirt of this dress, that I thought perhaps it would be less overwhelming to gather it.


That gave it the effect of a bubble hem. But I definitely like it more from the front than the side.

I wanted to try a pencil shape and had enough fabric to tie the two sides together in the back.

Again the front view is a lot more palatable than the back. The back looks like a big puffy mess. I guess the best way of wearing it will be with the cardigan and a pair of higher heels so the length is less noticeable. What do you think? Are there any other options I could try?

11 comments:

Brianna said...

I like the first look best!

e. said...

I like #1 as well—it doesn't look too long to me. The monochromatic tights and shoes already help give your legs a longer line. Another thing you might try is to belt it to make it a bit shorter.

Angela said...

hmm, it doesn't look too long to me...but i think maybe a belt would work? A really simple belt in black or brown, then you pull it up a little, with a looser fit on top? I think that would at least give you 1 or 2 ins off the length. Hope it works out! I do love the dress.

erin said...

i don't think it is too long, but a suggestion for alteration: they can shorten the length from the waist. it's expensive but doable! (but i think it looks great on you, belted or unbelted)

Carole said...

Hi Jess,

That's a very pretty dress. Of the looks you show, I like the first one best.

If you want to change it up though, instead of trying to (artificially) shorten the dress, can you work with its length by wearing a long cardigan over it? You could even belt over the dress and long cardigan then. The trick is to get a long, lean line and is totally doable. I would wear heels though and match my legwear to the shoes. I'm 5'1 so I feel your pain. :)

Also, like Erin says, shortening at the waist may be an option, if there is already a seam around the waist area. Erin is right -- THAT is a very expensive alteration! As for the hem, it sounds like what you're describing is a "hong kong" hem and isn't difficult to do (just a little more time consuming for the tailor), but will cost more than a regular hem. Of course, you know best about the delicacy of the fabric.

Pls. let us know what you decide.

Carole

Coco said...

I know that can be an awkward length sometimes, but why not give yourself a styling challenge and try wearing it at its original length? I daresay it's rather nice.

The Haute-Shopper said...

I would try the belt option as well and try gathering it at the waist. The gathering techniques you tried definitely look messy so I wouldn't go with either. From what I can see the dress is closed around the neck? In that case I'd be careful about adding the short cardigan (or buttoning it up), because you have a lot of fabric covering you up already, which just seems a little overwhelming. I'd play around with different lengths of cardigan and choose something with a lighter fabric so the silhouette of the dress still shines a little.

Theressa said...

I think it looks great in the first picture. I'd wear it with my tallest heels if you feel like the hem is still a bit long.

I also like erin's idea of taking it up at the waist. I'd take it to your tailor just to get an estimate. Maybe it's more reasonable than you think.

Anonymous said...

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Pernille said...

What a cute dress :) I don't really think that there is an issue with the length actually, but the bubble hem looks fab from the front.. abit messy from the side, sorry.

Jesspgh said...

Thank you all for your feedback! I am going to brave it long as many of you suggested. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I think with higher heels it will look appropriately lengthed.

Thank you all for reading too!

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