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The Coatdress: Its Aesthetics and Its Current Rareness


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#19 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for the insights, folks. So here's a summary of what we have so far: Coatdresses are less often seen for business wear than suits or conventional dresses because:

Suit jackets can be taken off, and hence allow for more comfortable wear options than coatdresses.
" " " ", and hence allow for more ensembles than coatdresses.
Suit jackets can be worn with dresses, skirts, pants, or shorts, and hence allow for more ensembles than coatdresses.
One can more easily wear visible layers of shirts and sweaters and vests under jackets, allowing more versatility in look than coatdresses.
" " " ", allowing more versatility in degree of warmth than coatdresses.
Suits, being of two or more pieces, are somewhat easier to fit and alter than coatdresses.
" " " ", are marginally easier to clean than coatdresses.

Conventional dresses are generally much less constructed in the bodice and shoulders than coatdresses, and so are easier to fit.
" " " ", and so allow for more upper body movement than in a coatdress of equivalent fit.

That's a pretty strong explanation of why suits are more popular than coatdresses. I'm not sure that it's such a strong explanation of why conventional dresses are more popular for business wear.

#20 Nishijin

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 05:56 PM

Conventional dresses are generally much less constructed in the bodice and shoulders than coatdresses, and so are easier to fit.

I wouldn't say that.
Of course, dresses usually are less constructed, meaning they usually are not tailored garments (though tailored dress exist). But the bodice is usually quite close to the body, and as difficult to fit than for a suit coat, or the upper-part of a coat dress.
What I said is that the skirt part of bridal gowns usually are more easy-going, and those will fit more people than the bottom part of a coat dress.

That's a pretty strong explanation of why suits are more popular than coatdresses. I'm not sure that it's such a strong explanation of why conventional dresses are more popular for business wear.

I don't think I've seen more than maybe 5 dresses in my 11 years experience in business consulting. Women dressing for business wear business suits. With skirt or trousers, but a suit. Well, not always a suit, it's frequently an odd jacket, but it's still a coat and skirt or trousers.
Dresses are for leisure (sun dresses for the summer), or for cocktails, parties, ceremonies.
Of course, it's possible to design a dress perfectly OK for business. But I've almost never seen some in my own experience.
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#21 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 12:13 AM

I don't think I've seen more than maybe 5 dresses in my 11 years experience in business consulting. Women dressing for business wear business suits. With skirt or trousers, but a suit. Well, not always a suit, it's frequently an odd jacket, but it's still a coat and skirt or trousers.
Dresses are for leisure (sun dresses for the summer), or for cocktails, parties, ceremonies.
Of course, it's possible to design a dress perfectly OK for business. But I've almost never seen some in my own experience.


Fair enough. We must hang out in different parts of the business world. In my part of it (South and North America), I see conventional dresses regularly on women working at the professional-with-advanced-degree level, and all the time on secretaries. When I worked as an underling at a famous New York City law firm 11 years ago, I also saw them regularly on women partners and women associates, as well as secretaries. No idea whether they still dress that way, though.

#22 ladhrann

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:00 PM

Re: Camilla's marriage outfit shown above is for her second marriage and she is an older women. For first marriage, women wear the big, one-tome-only costume gown to help reinforce the heteronormitive and patriarchal nature of marriage; for second marriage women choose something more practical to wear. Camilla is a conservative, older lady so she wore the coatdress.


Its a generational thing as well. The white dress for weddings was a part of the upper classes of the late Victorian era, only a very wealthy person could afford to spend so much money and effort on a piece of clothing that could only be worn once. Both my grandparents when they got married in the 1940s used the opportunity to get new wearable everyday clothes that they could get use of. Also white would have been considered inappropriate to wear white for a second wedding as it was also supposedf to represent the bride's purity/virginity (stupid I know).

#23 tailleuse

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:07 PM

Re: Camilla's marriage outfit shown above is for her second marriage and she is an older women. For first marriage, women wear the big, one-tome-only costume gown to help reinforce the heteronormitive and patriarchal nature of marriage; for second marriage women choose something more practical to wear. Camilla is a conservative, older lady so she wore the coatdress.


Todd,

Can't tell if you're being slightly tongue-in-cheek, but what you say is absolutely accurate. Posted Image Some young women depart from convention, but not many.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#24 tailleuse

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:26 PM

Its a generational thing as well. The white dress for weddings was a part of the upper classes of the late Victorian era, only a very wealthy person could afford to spend so much money and effort on a piece of clothing that could only be worn once. Both my grandparents when they got married in the 1940s used the opportunity to get new wearable everyday clothes that they could get use of. Also white would have been considered inappropriate to wear white for a second wedding as it was also supposedf to represent the bride's purity/virginity (stupid I know).


I know that in the 20th century a white wedding dress was supposed to symbolize virginity, but I read somewhere that originally white did not have that meaning, although virginity was assumed. It was only later that the jokes came about a sexually experienced woman not being allowed to wear a white weeding dress. Yes, it is stupid.

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#25 tailleuse

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:40 PM

I don't think I've seen more than maybe 5 dresses in my 11 years experience in business consulting.


Nishijin,

Maybe France is different. I've worked in some very conservative business environments in the U.S. and women don't always wear suits. They might wear a sheath dress with a matching jacket, or throw a cardigan over it at the office. They might dress up more for business meetings outside of the office or to meet with people they don't know. Of course, a lawyer would always wear a suit to court, and there still are sexist judges who demand that women wear skirt suits, not pants suits.

I've visited some law firms recently and was surprised by how casual things are now by comparison. Women often don't wear hose anymore during the summer. (Which is great.)

The other night, I went to a networking event held by my college, which is an Ivy League school. There were men and women in a variety of fields, finance seemed to dominate, but there were people in law, communications, and many other fields. The men wore suits and almost all the women were wearing sheath dresses without a jacket.

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#26 tailleuse

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:50 PM

Thanks for the insights, folks. So here's a summary of what we have so far: Coatdresses are less often seen for business wear than suits or conventional dresses because:

Suit jackets can be taken off, and hence allow for more comfortable wear options than coatdresses.
" " " ", and hence allow for more ensembles than coatdresses.

Suit jackets can be worn with dresses, skirts, pants, or shorts, and hence allow for more ensembles than coatdresses.
One can more easily wear visible layers of shirts and sweaters and vests under jackets, allowing more versatility in look than coatdresses.
" " " ", allowing more versatility in degree of warmth than coatdresses.

Suits, being of two or more pieces, are somewhat easier to fit and alter than coatdresses.
" " " ", are marginally easier to clean than coatdresses.

Conventional dresses are generally much less constructed in the bodice and shoulders than coatdresses, and so are easier to fit.
" " " ", and so allow for more upper body movement than in a coatdress of equivalent fit.

That's a pretty strong explanation of why suits are more popular than coatdresses. I'm not sure that it's such a strong explanation of why conventional dresses are more popular for business wear.


I can't speak to the fitting or alteration issues, but you've accurately summarized the problems with the lack of versatility and comfort.

They're not all bad: When I owned a bunch it was nice on a cold day to grab one thing and throw it on and go to my then fairly conservative job. But I did have the issues with the skirt always swinging open and the bodice gaping. I used to try to fix those problems with safety pins, and once I took the dress to the dry cleaners and had snaps sewn it, but neither method worked. Also, it was HEAVY. It was a coat. I'm not a big person and sometimes it felt a little overwhelming.

I'm sure a custom made coat dress in a great fabric would be nice to own, but I find sheath dresses and skirts and jackets to be more practical. I've always resented having to spend money on clothes I don't actually enjoy wearing.

Edited by tailleuse, 27 June 2012 - 09:51 PM.

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#27 Nishijin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:03 PM

Maybe France is different.



Maybe it's just France, maybe I was in the "wrong" business circles, maybe I'm just wrong and forgot the dresses I've seen without paying attention.
But since I was in Switzerland this week, I asked my customers about dresses for business women, and they said "sure, women do wear some for business".

And hey, I'd like to be wrong : more dresses means a lot more different cloths, and a lot more fun to us.
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#28 sergiusz

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 06:32 AM

Sorry for necropost, but I don't want to start a new topic.

 

Could anyone post some pattern of coatdress? Maybe a few words about the construction? And what are the standard fabrics used to made it? Thank you for an answer. 


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#29 posaune

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 06:11 AM

well - this a wide field! You can do it in almost every fabric you want. In my opion it should have a bit stand - example: wool crep is nice it drapes and fell nice.The ease and making is this of a dress. Feel free and play with your imagination.

lg

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#30 sergiusz

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Posted 15 May 2014 - 02:30 AM

Thank you for the answer  :thumbsup:



#31 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 07:30 AM

This is an interesting thread.

 

I have never been an off the rack size and so even in my youth, I made virtually all of my clothing, including jackets and dresses. Many dresses. Can't say that I was at all pleased with the end result on most of the jackets, but a few were good. Dresses always turned out great, as did slacks and shirts. It was the 80's so the loose fit tops and shoulder pads made up for a huge amount of fit issues. I knew exactly how to cut my favorite pants for a precise fit and I made them over and over again.

 

Then the coat dress phase hit. I loved them! So I bought my favorite Vogue pattern at the time and I can easily say that was the most unforgiving style I ever attempted to deal with. I used a good quality linen for a summer weight - but the fit issues were a nightmare. I spent days tweaking and ripping out seams until I finally gave up. As much experience as I had - admittedly nothing compared to a trained tailor - but I couldn't even get close.

 

I had an hour glass figure back then - tiny waist - generous on the top and bottom. Once it becomes necessary to build in that many hills and valleys on one garment - fit is definitely a huge ordeal.

 

For naturally thin women and even those with stouter boxier shapes, I believe the coat dress could be an easier accomplishment.

 

And yes, I do agree that some days it is nice to just put a single garment on and be done with it.


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#32 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:25 AM

Thanks, Spookie. Thought I'd revive this with some images of coatdresses in the current offerings of the Catherine Walker atelier in London. The maestra herself died in 2010, but it looks like the current managers are trying to keep the coatdress tradition alive. More power to them! They apparently did a lot of Duchess Kate's coatdresses.

 

On the left, a genuine coatdress--i.e., coat-like fastening from top to bottom. On the right, looks like a coat-dress hybrid: bodice appears to fasten like a coat on the right side.

 

Eleanor-and-Military.jpg


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#33 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:31 AM

Wow! I'm still not sure how this opens and fastens. Looks like a true coatdress, though.

 

Claudine-Coatdress.jpg


Edited by Testudo_Aubreii, 16 August 2015 - 02:51 AM.


#34 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:44 AM

Here's a true coatdress, with a very simple fastening and cut. Don't see why this couldn't be made RTW. It's basically a close-fitting topcoat in a fabric for gowns.

 

Astrid-Coatdress-detail.jpg


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#35 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:47 AM

A trench coatdress! Bravissimo.

 

French-Trench.jpg


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#36 Testudo_Aubreii

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 02:59 AM

Very nice, above. Very simple, below.

 

 

 

Iris-e1363619014917.jpg

Paddington-Coatdress.jpg


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