Trend Watch: Fragile Fabrics with Heavy Accessories—Wear at Your Own Risk

Some months ago, I walked into a mass market clothing store to see whether I might supplement my wardrobe with a piece or two of inexpensive, trendy fashion. Near the door was a rack of newly arrived fashions – eye-catching party dresses sprinkled with sequins. I stopped to take a closer look. The style was definitely a “Monet,” to use an expression from the movie Clueless – they looked okay from a distance but were a disaster close-up. Incredibly, each paillette had been sewn on with one meager thread. Although the dresses were new, not one dress hadn’t already been ruined by the breakage of the skimpy threads anchoring the sequins to the dress. Sad little sequins hung off the dress like so many extraneous price tags. The dresses were entirely ruined.


Fragile dresses need to be handled with care. Watching current trends, I gasp as I see one of the style mixes that seems to have achieved critical mass in the media – the combination of a fragile, embellished dress with a strong belt or massive, heavy jewelry.


I don’t deny that Keira Knightley looks fetching in this Yves Saint Laurent tasseled dress of nylon and feathers pictured in the September 2008 issue of Vogue. But look closely. See how the feathers are attached to what appears to be little buttons? Notice how two of the buttons are missing feathers? Intentional?


Jessica Simpson is featured in the September issue of Elle magazine wearing an embroidered mousseline dress by Chloe accessorized with a Concho belt and heavy silver bangle bracelets. I can only hope that there isn’t a joint or seam anywhere on the accessories that is going to catch on the dress and ruin it. Notice the beaded starburst almost directly under the belt – every time the belt moves, as perhaps, when the wearer sits, it is going to rub against the beading. At least the design is irregular enough that lost sequins perhaps won’t be immediately noticeable.


I don’t care if some of the magazine stylists are showing this look – run, don’t walk, if a customer is looking to accessorize a fragile dress with some of your heavier pieces of jewelry that will be worn on or against the dress. You wouldn’t pin a heavy brooch on a wisp of a dress; why would you lay a heavy statement necklace on it?

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