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There’s a part of me that never outgrew the dress-up stage of childhood. Back then it was pretending to be an empress or witch-queen – anything that was equal parts regal, mysterious, and magical.
These days, give me a halfway good reason, and I’ll still spend the better part of an afternoon getting all dolled up for an evening out. It’s a lengthy process that starts, of course, with deciding which dress suits the occasion and my mood. After that, a host of secondary decisions: does it need a crinoline? Which shoes will match? How should I do my hair and makeup? Then there’s jewelry, accessories, a purse, hosiery, and various underthings. It’s dress-up, but for adults: less “witch-queen” and more “grown-up glamour” – but still full of whimsy and pleasure. Admittedly, getting “dressed up” like this can take a lot of time, and most of us wait for special occasions when the extra effort seems worth it. In the meantime, our dresses end up relegated to the back of the closet, on hold until a special dinner, wedding, or some other equally fancy event crops up. But wearing a dress is not always the same as getting “dressed up.” Believe it or not, wearing a dress can be just about the simplest wardrobe decision to make, and the most comfortable and efficient way to get dressed and out the door in the morning.
Everyday Easy Dresses
Without fail, when I wear a dress someplace casual – like picking up the kids after school or having a quick coffee with a friend – I get a compliment for taking the time and energy to get “dressed up.”
But pulling that dress over my head and popping on a pair of shoes was likely much more simple - and more comfortable – than any other outfit I might have chosen. More often than not, the dress was the easy solution. Pants and tops have to be coordinated. Waistbands pinch and pull. Shorts ride up uncomfortably. Trousers rarely fit properly in length or inseam without tailoring. Blouses come untucked, skirts twist around. To be honest, it feels like I’ve cheated my way into this compliment when I get it - and I almost always confess this sentiment to the person offering it. People see a dress and assume it’s taken a lot more effort because we’ve married the idea of dresses to the notion of being dressed up. Or, even worse, we’ve concluded that dresses themselves are uncomfortable and unwieldy – usually because we’ve worn styles that didn’t suit our bodies, made out of unpleasant or cheap material, or were constricting and uncomfortable in some way.
Keep It Simple
Obviously not all dresses will do for everyday wear. Leave the satin and sequins for evening glamour and fancy events. Instead, go for less structured shapes (I like an empire waist because it feels so comfortable for my body type) and try a cotton dress, in a simple colour or with a fun, lighthearted print. Skip the fancy hair and makeup. Pop on a cardigan and wear it with a pair of white Keds, simple sandals, or even flip-flops. Pull on a pair of matching capri or full-length leggings underneath, if the weather is cooler; in warm weather, don’t worry about hose or tights at all. Finish with a ponytail or messy bun. No doubt, dresses won’t work for everything. You’ll still need the right kind of clothing to hit the gym or weed the garden (although I’ve been known to mow the lawn in a simple t-shirt dress). But for almost all other settings and activities, don’t overlook the ease of a dress. It really can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want it to be.
Fancy is Still Fun
Wearing a dress doesn’t need to be a major production – it can be as easy as pulling on a pair of pajamas, but just a lot more fashionable. The notion that a dress is complicated, fussy, or time-consuming is largely a reflection of how we perceive fashion, and the abundance of ill-fitting, constrictive, overly stuffy or too-formal dresses many of us have in our closets. But if you find the right dress, the simplicity will surprise you … and you won’t want to keep it tucked away in the closet for a special occasion anymore. And if even the easiest of easy dresses still leaves you feeling a little bit fancy? Take a deep breath and just go for it anyway: you’re never too old for dress-up, even if you’re only going to the grocery store.
Are you sometimes frustrated when you can't find your dress size? If so, we're here to explain how and why that might be and what you can do about it!
Maybe this is a good time to state that we are a smaller, boutique-sized company. While our active online presence may give the impression of a larger business, we are actually a team of just five individuals! If we manufactured our dresses overseas like a lot of larger companies, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. This is not something that will ever happen with us, as we are proud to be a Canadian company that manufactures our dresses in Canada. This is something that means so much to us as well as the knowledge that no one will ever be exploited while making our dresses. The good news is because we are small we can be more fluid and make small changes that we feel our customers want.
While we do our very best to offer the widest selection of dresses possible, it all comes down to the ratio of sizes. You may or may not know that most companies cut their production of clothing in a ratio. The majority of units will be cut in the most popular sizes (middle sizes) and the smaller and larger sizes will receive fewer units. This is common practice in the clothing industry and it's also how retail stores order clothing for their stores, too.
As a small online retailer with a local shop, we can't make masses of dresses in each print we offer. We usually make 12-40 dresses per each unique print and those units get divided up over the sizes we carry. That's not a lot of dresses per size as we make 8 different sizes! Unfortunately, some sizes can sell out quickly.
FYI, we're bringing the classic Chrissy Dress back and it'll be available in all sizes at our Studio shop and online soon in these new prints:
To avoid any disappointment, please consider ordering your size early. As we see an increased demand in different sizes, we'll add more units in those sizes. We truly care about you, our amazing customers and do our best to respond to all your requests. We're always listening!
We love to hear all of your ideas, feedback, and comments!
If you are in the Vancouver area this Friday and Saturday we would love to see you at our Studio Shop!
Join us this Fri, Apr 12, 2pm-7pm and Sat, Apr 13, 11am-5pm
@ 1635 Powell St. Vancouver, BC (Free parking is available)
Fashion can be a tough industry – to survive, you need to surround yourself with awesome people. Cherry Velvet is very lucky to be represented by our dynamic and gorgeous agent: Leah Tuttle.
Leah’s agency focuses on Canadian designers who create clothing for sizes XS to 3X. When she was getting started, this was seen as a risky and rocky path in an industry obsessed with fast fashion and cheap imports with high margins. Lucky for us, another customer introduced Leah to our sister company, Diane Kennedy, knowing that Leah was the right agent to represent the brand. When Cherry Velvet got started a few years later, Leah was on board from the start.
Leah is a quintessential Cherry Velvet girl herself! She has the sass and style that goes so well with our vintage-inspired dresses. Her delightfully feminine curves look amazing in so many pinup styles – that’s why we’ve used her as a model on more than one occasion.
We even named a dress after her; the Leah dress came in both black and blue lace. There was also a velvet flock version that Leah modelled for us. (Perhaps it's time to bring back this cut, maybe in classic black lace...?)
(Leah Tuttle: centre)
Having an agent who genuinely appreciates and wears your product is really special. We love sharing the excitement of fresh styles and fun prints with Leah, and we know that she always has our back.
We consider ourselves very lucky to be represented by such a remarkable and lovely lady who truly understands our market. Thank you, Leah, for your unfailing support, unparalleled work ethic, and for being the strong, resilient, and incredibly beautiful human you are!
XOX Cherry Velvet