Dresses?

Discussion of fashion elements and looks that are traditionally considered somewhat "femme" but are presented in a masculine context. This is NOT about transvestism or crossdressing.
Midas
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Dresses?

Post by Midas »

I have seen a lot of comment to the effect that men are the wrong shape to wear dresses. Up to a point this is correct but I don’t think it is for a lot of men.

There are many styles of dress and a large variety of material. I think there is a dress style to suit most men.

I am slim and fit with wide shoulders, although I don’t overdo weights so my upper body muscles are not too large. I am size 12 in a skirt but 14 in a dress. With most dresses this provides enough room around the arms and shoulders to provide a good fit. The chest isn’t an issue for me because increasing age has seen breast growth so that I fill an A cup so that even a soft bra produces a good profile. Most men can achieve this with a moulded cup or push up bra.

Because of my shape I have a wide choice of dress types. Whatever your shape there is a style for you. Experimentation is worthwhile and starting with a loose fitting dress, made of a flexible fabric such as jersey is a good idea.

I think it is something that more men can explore. It’s certainly worthwhile as a dress can be even more liberating than a skirt.
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Sinned
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Re: Dresses?

Post by Sinned »

Nobody has said that all men are the wrong shape and there are some members of the cafe that wear them successfully. So it is possible and you are lucky if you can find dresses to fit. Men tend to have broad shoulders while women are wider a bit lower down ( breasts ). Men have more muscular arms which mean that sleeves can be a difficult area of fit. My wife has some dresses that I can fit into and are of styles that could suit. No deep V necks or elements that i wouldn't want. I've tried them on and some look good ( to me and some on this site ) but my head isn't in the right place and my confidence level high enough to consider wearing them out. It can be quite exhausting looking for a dress, skirts are a much easier option as they hang from the mid section.

If you look good, go for it.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by crfriend »

Sinned wrote:
Wed Dec 15, 2021 11:27 pm
Nobody has said that all men are the wrong shape and there are some members of the cafe that wear them successfully. So it is possible and you are lucky if you can find dresses to fit.
Dresses can be a tough thing. Most guys are more massive up top than women (shoulders, mainly) and smaller down below. There are rumoured to be dual-sized dresses available, but I've never encountered one. For example, I'm a (or was) a 16 up top and a 14 below; that's down to where the body mass is. I have four dresses in my stable, three of which are bespoke. The forth is an off-the-peg number (at size 16) that required me to put a small stitch into the neckline to close it up a little bit.

Bespoke ones are available on-line, but cost somewhat more than off-the-peg sizes. The results are, in my opinion, worthwhile.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by Faldaguy »

Aside from the practical problems of finding a dress that may fit, most strike me as a more cumbersome garment in the ways they move uniformly up and down with many more dynamics one needs to accommodate. Since comfort is one of my key objectives, the whole notion of snug sleeves, and god-forbid, chest bindings either built-in or added to shape are a huge no for me. I have wondered about the potential for a shift or mu-mu style one piece but not actively pursued finding any as yet. I am not sure what the appeal may be save purely for fashion or appearance, and for that I have not yet mastered skirts. I fear the learning curve would outlast me!
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Re: Dresses?

Post by nzfreestyler »

Dresses are fiddly even if you have the shape. Trust me. I love my dresses - and I have the curves but I still have issues with basic fit around the 4 basic measurements.

Some designer dresses I really love are made so flat chested - so guys would have an advantage with them.(some are very restrictive and unflattering I find) And sometimes with fitted dresses (and skirts) the fit on your hips often has the effect of creeping your hemline up... As for sleeves - well more dresses are sleeveless than cap sleeved or sleeved so sleeveless would be the way to go.

I think fit and flares and sheath dresses are universally flattering on all body shapes - pencils and bodycons are easy fitting but you depend on your hips for, so only if you have them. Rather like a plunge front, only if you have breasts.

The dress needs to be a bit tricky to fit because it is a onepiece showpiece...time needs to be spent to pick the right dress for your style. If it was easy then the dress would loose its allure and appeal. Its a different garment in the sense that many dresses are empowering and the fitted nature is essential.

And on the fitted note.. fitted means a good firm snag fit - because that is what is needed in many dresses - or a stretch tight dress - they are not restrictive in the right size...compared to other clothes there not much different in how they fit.

the other thing would be hemline... thats almost the biggest one I think. Universally a tad above the knee is the best hemline for all shapes I think.

cheers
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Re: Dresses?

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

One of my friends at the wine bar gave the chief advantage of dresses, "They're so damn comfortable!" Especially shifts. They're very much easy on popover items. Nice and light and breezy. Insanely comfortable! Because unlike skirts, they don't have a waist band. And because they are a loose fit, they adjust themselves when you stand up.

I find bodycon and tight-fitting dresses made of stretch fabrics are too forthright to be flattering. That is, they're prone to showing the world just how out of shape I am and to providing unwanted anatomy lessons.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by rode_kater »

Getting dresses the right size I think is finicky for everyone, even women. For me the two features that tend to make a dress work are it either being a stretchy fabric, or that it's sleeveless (so no problems with e shoulders).

Actually the part that I find hardest is the waist. I suspect that the standard shapes together with my body shape conspire to pull the waistline just a few centimetres higher than I'd like. I'm 1.80m, which is taller than most women. I have several dresses where, if I had the time and materials, I'd replicate them but push the waistline down a few centimetres. Oh, and raise the neckline.

As for finding the stretchy clothing too revealing, an irregular pattern does wonders for hiding your body shape.

They are super comfortable though.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by rivegauche »

I spend most of my time in dresses, Though I do not wear make up or a wig of adapt my body language, the inclusion of a bra and forms (38B or 40A) makes it cross-dressing. I have no problem finding dresses that fit me and I own a massive number of them. I get an endorphin flow from wearing these clothes - it has nothing to do with gender and I am aiming for elegance and style rather than any feminine image. I have to add the make up, wig and body language and voice when I go out in public. I do not pass as a woman but that is not what I am looking for - I get many compliments about my style. When I go out in male presentation in public in non-trousers it is usually in a skirt, but I have worn a dress occasionally, again without problems. I would not wear a tailored shift because it is shaped to accommodate a bust and all other dresses fit beautifully. The only style I avoid and I don't think would suit any man is a flared knee length dress with a fixed waistband - it looks awful. In male mode I tend to prefer the sort of dress that just slips over my head, often with full length sleeves, but sleeveless dresses and shirt dresses are equally effective. In summer a linen or cotton dress is wonderful to wear. I find I sometimes need to go up a size in a side-zip dress but that style of dress I would usually wear with a bra. I have worn back zip dresses as a man for shopping and the last time I wore a dress in public as a man to dress shops and the supermarket it was just a simple T-shirt dress - no reactions from anyone. Dresses can be more comfortable than skirts especially in summer as they often lack a waistband so that the same arguments we use for skirts apply even more strongly to dresses - maybe even on the Skirt Café there is a reluctance to go there as dresses are even more strongly associated with women than skirts. I also find that maxi dresses seem to offer more comfort in summer than short dresses which I would not have thought likely, but there it is.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by JeffB1959 »

I find dresses to be nice, and, at the risk of sounding full of myself, they look great on me. On the topic of fit, that can be a tad problematic due to styling, I usually opt for size large, due to my height (6 foot 2) and while I don't think my shoulders are that wide, that size does make fitting easier, and, because I'm tall, most styles, save for midis end at mid-calf, not that it's a bad thing since it shows off my legs. As for seasonal offerings, in the spring and summer, I enjoy cami and tank dresses while turtleneck and cowlneck styles in fall and winter are very sharp. Once upon a time, I used to be ambivilent when it came to dresses, today, I love them!
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Re: Dresses?

Post by STEVIE »

I'd say I am a dress convert too.
I have pinafore, knitted, shirt and shift styles which all work reasonably well for me.
In addition there are more dresses than skirts on the market at the moment too so more choice too.
In terms of wear and comfort I haven't found a dress any different to a skirt.
Perhaps in high summer the linen shirt dresses are way cooler than anything else.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by Midas »

I find dresses extremely comfortable and nothing is better than a dress in summer for keeping cool. I came to skirts after getting used to dresses and had to learn how to wear a skirt. Having done that I now love skirts as much as dresses.

The one advantage a skirt has over a dress is that it allows the choice of a masculine top, although of late i have leaned towards tops and T-shirts from the womenswear department.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by STEVIE »

Hi Midas.
Perhaps not a high summer answer, but I have worn my shirt dresses like male shirts and used them as "layer" pieces.
I have done it with knitwear and waistcoats to perfectly acceptable affect as far as I am concerned.
That pretty much sums it up for me because I don't pay a huge concern for other opinions on my sense of taste or style.
The other thing is that I have a thought for a project in the new year. I have just acquired a new dress from Next UK.
The style is essentially sweatshirt but with a bit of shaping. It sits more like a shift dress.
My idea is that I will have it copied and reproduced in some upcycled fabric. It will then be embellished in some way.
The aim being to create a unique piece in a pattern that sits well with my body and to hell with conventionality.
Steve.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by Ralph »

I prefer wearing dresses more than anything else, but under the circumstances I can only do so at home (thankfully my long-suffering wife is used to it!) It's not only the fact that I live in a backward, ultraconservative rural part of the US deep south; it's also the fact that the psychology behind my clothing need goes a bit deeper than "prefer to wear dresses".

It's hard to describe, and I have been trying without success to identify the underlying issues for over sixty years. The end result is that it's not just any dresses, but specifically old-fashioned, extra feminine styles that were perhaps fashionable in my childhood but not in this century - full, billowy skirts, high modest necklines, puff sleeves, lots of ruffles. No desire or attempt at appearing female; I never shave or use makeup, wig, false breasts, etc. Only something about those "granny dresses" scratches a psychological itch that formed when I was a wee lad. Thankfully I am retired now and I can enjoy scratching that itch nearly all day every day, but it's weird even by this group's standards!
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Re: Dresses?

Post by STEVIE »

Ralph wrote:
Mon Dec 20, 2021 5:32 pm
weird even by this group's standards!
Hi Ralph
There is nothing weird in it at all.
I'd certainly be happy to wear some dresses and skirts from the 60s and 70s which were around when I was a kid.
My take is that it stems from some sense of safety and comfort at a time when we needed it.
That sense will be unique to each of us. Nothing weird just a common thread in our clothing choices.
Put another way, I rather like being weird because I wouldn't be me if I wasn't.
Just enjoy the fact that you can and make the most of it.
Steve.
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Re: Dresses?

Post by geron »

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