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#1
Old 06-18-2009, 11:47 AM
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Do Women Really Wear Dresses They Can't Sit Down In?

I see on TV shows this comedy device all the time. The woman shows up, generally when she goes to some fancy party, wearing a dress that is very tight. Then of course she can't sit down in it, with predictable hillarious results, such as The Nanny and I Love Lucy.

So in real life do women do this? Or is it a comedy device for TV and movies. Especially now-a-days with so many different kinds of fabric, it seems it'd make it easy to make a form fitting dress that could stretch to sit down.
#2
Old 06-18-2009, 11:54 AM
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I've certainly seen women wear dresses they shouldn't sit down in. When they do sit, the dress rides up so high they practically need two hairstyles to get by.

These women, however, generally do not seem to care. Whereas I have a dress that reaches just below mid-thigh, normally - not at all short - but it's form-fitting around the hips and legs, and when I sit, it does make me uncomfortable that it has hiked up a couple of inches, and I am very conscious of the way I am sitting.
#3
Old 06-18-2009, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
I've certainly seen women wear dresses they shouldn't sit down in. When they do sit, the dress rides up so high they practically need two hairstyles to get by.
::snerk::

Good one, Anaamika.
#4
Old 06-18-2009, 12:16 PM
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I think now dresses are a lot stretchier than they used to be. Garments designed to be close fitting often now include a small blend of elastic material. This reduces the need for tailoring, and the finished garment is less wrinkly due to the give. It's also common to find unlined dresses where in decades past they would have more than a single layer of cloth. One consequence of this is that the dress provides less shaping and support, but on the other side has better drape. Women desiring a smoother silhouette must either have a very low body fat percentage, or buy those Spanx-type undergarments.
#5
Old 06-18-2009, 03:42 PM
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I confess. I've done it. It was not intentional. I bought a beautiful and form fitting dress to wear to a gallery opening. I bought it 3 months before the actual event and on the day of I brought it with me to work to change into before the show. Well, apparently those three months had not been kind to my diet. The dress that fit ok in February was SKIN TIGHT in May. I didn't have any other option so I sucked it in and stood the entire party. I probably could have sat, but in order not to bust any seams I would have had to yank it up to my waist. So I told everyone that I was ok standing cause "I sit all day at work"
#6
Old 06-18-2009, 03:43 PM
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I don't know if it is completely true, but the story goes that Dinah Shore was permitted by the IRS to deduct dresses as a professional expense only if they were to tight to sit in. Presumably that was to ensure that they were only used on stage.
#7
Old 06-18-2009, 03:50 PM
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I've definitely left the house in outfits that seemed great in front of the mirror but almost got be nabbed for indecent exposure or whatever's still illegal. Mostly slits that wouldn't stay in place (snerk away), skirt fabric that was lighter than air, tube tops with no support and materials that shifted up my thighs as I walked.
#8
Old 06-18-2009, 04:33 PM
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I remember a woman in a movie or book who said, "I'm wearing velvet, darling. If I sat down, these wicker chairs would leave marks that would show the rest of the evening."
#9
Old 06-18-2009, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teela brown View Post
::snerk::

Good one, Anaamika.
Thank you, but I'm afraid I can't take full credit. I stole it from the old movie Kingpin.
#10
Old 06-18-2009, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
Thank you, but I'm afraid I can't take full credit. I stole it from the old movie Kingpin.
It reminds me of Patsy Stone's line from AbFab:

"One snap of my fingers, and I can raise hemlines so high that the world's your gynecologist!"
#11
Old 06-18-2009, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
I've certainly seen women wear dresses they shouldn't sit down in. When they do sit, the dress rides up so high they practically need two hairstyles to get by.

These women, however, generally do not seem to care.
The second part would depend on their age. I was amazed to see private school girls in Bilbao with skirts so short they would have been considered belts in my home town, but when they sat down they tried to pull the "belts" down, trying to turn them back into skirts. Usually they get over that by the time they turn 20, though.
#12
Old 06-18-2009, 06:36 PM
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Well the short skirts, we used to call, in the 70s, "airplane skirts."

Or as Archie Bunker says "bend over in that and the mystery is over"

But I was thinking of women who intentionally buy dresses that form fit, because they look good, but then can't bend over.

As I said, I've seen it on I Love Lucy and on the Nanny, Fran was known to buy dresses to show off her body but then she can't sit down.

But obviously those are sit-coms so it's done for comic effect. Lucy having to stand up while she eats or having to drive with the top down etc.

I was just wondering if women actually did that, or is it just strictly comedy. I understand how you could buy a dress and then gain weight, but then you didn't buy it so it would be tight.

Kind of like I heard tales in the 80s of girls buying jeans and then putting them on and sitting in water so they'd shrink to their bodies exactly. I don't know if that's true either.
#13
Old 06-18-2009, 06:45 PM
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I've worn dresses that I have to be CAREFUL about sitting in...making sure legs are crossed etc...but that's true of any girl who's ever worn a mini-skirt.

The only thing I've ever worn that made sitting almost impossible was a corset from Frederick's of Hollywood that I wore for Halloween. I literally couldn't drive in it--my friend had to drive, because in order to sit in a driving position, I couldn't breathe. I sat in the passenger seat in a very odd position, and thanked God it was a short drive.

I have new respect (and a bit of horrified fascination) for Victorian women. No wonder they were always fainting and needing smelling salts. It's an inhumane device and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

Maybe they said what I said that Halloween..."I do LOOK good, though."

#14
Old 06-18-2009, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audrey Levins View Post
I have new respect (and a bit of horrified fascination) for Victorian women. No wonder they were always fainting and needing smelling salts. It's an inhumane device and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.
A corset made for you, which fits properly, is a completely different experience than one bought off the rack. Trust me, I'm a historical reenactor.
I think the vain-woman-punished-for-her-pride was just something that happened in comedies. Although I'm sure somewhere a woman has bought a dress and didn't think to sit down when she was trying it on. You see this a lot in family photos: Mom will have a dress that probably looked great when she was standing, but looked bad on her while sitting.
#15
Old 06-18-2009, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audrey Levins View Post

The only thing I've ever worn that made sitting almost impossible was a corset from Frederick's of Hollywood that I wore for Halloween. I literally couldn't drive in it--my friend had to drive, because in order to sit in a driving position, I couldn't breathe. I sat in the passenger seat in a very odd position, and thanked God it was a short drive.



Then the corset you were wearing wasn't fitted properly. A good corset supports and adds general shape, your issue is that you have not 'trained' your body to the correct form by wearing the correct corset from puberty. You were just cramming everything in by lacing it up tight.

if you really want to corset train, start wearing it daily, laced loosely and gently and gradually tighten it as you become accustomed and shaped to it. Sort of like the sofa to 5k, you start gradually, you dont just slam into a 5k race.
#16
Old 06-18-2009, 11:15 PM
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If you really want to corset train, you don't use something bought at Frederick's of Hollywood, though. They're totally not right for it.

I have tried on skirts and dresses that I couldn't sit down in. I think the OP means *can't* sit down in, not *shouldn't* sit down in, but I could be wrong. I think he's talking less about dresses that ride up so high they're obscene and more about dresses that literally do not let you bend enough to sit down. I've been in them before, but didn't buy them for precisely that reason. I can imagine some women do, though.
#17
Old 06-19-2009, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
II think the OP means *can't* sit down in, not *shouldn't* sit down in, but I could be wrong.
No you're right. I was just wondering if it was true or just something used in comedies
#18
Old 06-19-2009, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
The second part would depend on their age. I was amazed to see private school girls in Bilbao with skirts so short they would have been considered belts in my home town, but when they sat down they tried to pull the "belts" down, trying to turn them back into skirts. Usually they get over that by the time they turn 20, though.

Get over wearing them or get over worrying about it?
#19
Old 06-19-2009, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
If you really want to corset train, you don't use something bought at Frederick's of Hollywood, though. They're totally not right for it.
Seriously. A Freddy's "corset" isn't a corset. It's a cheap, mass-made, thin plastic boned bodice that looks like a corset. A real corset has steel boning, is fit to your shape and does not hinder your ability to breathe sitting down at all. And your posture will likely improve if you wear a real one.
#20
Old 06-19-2009, 12:23 PM
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A real corset, when someone plants their foot in your back while you're holding onto the door frame and they PUUUUUULLL the strings.... nothing rips.
#21
Old 06-19-2009, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by sinusoidal View Post
It's also common to find unlined dresses where in decades past they would have more than a single layer of cloth.
Also, women routinely wore slips and girdles and such, so even if the dress itself was a single layer, they were still wearing another layer (or more) underneath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
I was just wondering if women actually did that, or is it just strictly comedy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Devil's Grandmother View Post
I think the vain-woman-punished-for-her-pride was just something that happened in comedies.
I disagree. Most women are pretty practical about choosing their attire, even when choosing items that cause some inconvenience. Even if they wear a short dress, for example, they make sure it's not SO short that they need that second hairstyle.* If they wear very high heels, they make sure that they can actually walk in them.

But some women are not at all practical about these things. We've all seen women staggering around in stiletto heels that fit so badly that they can't even walk. A woman intentionally wearing a dress that she can't sit down in is all too believable to me.

*An old coworker of mine used to tell me about the tight spandex dresses she wore when she was going out. But hers weren't as short as her friend's. The friend's were so short that.... (spoilered for those with weak constitutions)
SPOILER:
she had to cut her tampon strings off!

I obviously can't swear it's true, as it's a FOAF thing...but eww!
#22
Old 06-19-2009, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Anaamika View Post
Get over wearing them or get over worrying about it?
Get over worrying. And insist that I must let them into the lab even though the lab rules clearly state that trousers must be worn... "no, shorts which show half of each buttcheek do NOT count as trousers."




This morning I brought Mom to buy a pair of trousers for her gym class. She almost bought a pair that she couldn't sit in "but they actually fit..." "no, Mom, you can get inside them, but you can't roll around the floor in them, therefore they do not fit."

Last edited by Nava; 06-19-2009 at 01:36 PM.
#23
Old 06-19-2009, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by teela brown View Post
It reminds me of Patsy Stone's line from AbFab:

"One snap of my fingers, and I can raise hemlines so high that the world's your gynecologist!"
Another AbFab line I can't forget is, "One more facelift and she'll have a beard." Quite the mind picture, that is.
#24
Old 06-19-2009, 01:39 PM
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I can't read Javascript here at work, so spoilers are generally wasted on me. I only can see them if I reply to the post. So generally I just ignore them. Howevem yours is one of the few I clicked on....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post

*An old coworker of mine used to tell me about the tight spandex dresses she wore when she was going out. But hers weren't as short as her friend's. The friend's were so short that.... (spoilered for those with weak constitutions)
SPOILER:
she had to cut her tampon strings off!

I obviously can't swear it's true, as it's a FOAF thing...but eww!

And it was worth it. Oh. My.


Nava, in my old job, one of the women there used to bring in her teenage daughter to work/volunteer. The manager had to tell her that hotpants for her 16 YO daughter were not appropriate in the workplace. How do you even go to work with your daughter wearing hotpants? I know you can't control your kids all the time but when they're right in front of you, shaking their little jailbait ass at 40 YO men - well let's just say my mother would not have thought I was too old for a slap in the face. What the fuck is wrong with people?

Last edited by Anaamika; 06-19-2009 at 01:43 PM.
#25
Old 06-19-2009, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
Kind of like I heard tales in the 80s of girls buying jeans and then putting them on and sitting in water so they'd shrink to their bodies exactly. I don't know if that's true either.
I've never been much for short skirts. But I did go to highschool in the eighties, and wore the super tight jeans. I had to use a coat hangar through the hole in the zipper handle to get enough leverage to pull it up. Often laying straight back on the bed as well. When I took them off, I'd have long red dents down my legs where the seams were.

But I never had any trouble sitting.
#26
Old 06-19-2009, 02:18 PM
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I doubt many women would do this on purpose, but it is possible for a dress to be too tight to sit in and I'm sure some women have bought such dresses by accident. Dressing rooms don't always have chairs, and it probably doesn't even occur to some women that the fabulous looking dress that fits them fine while standing in the dressing room might not allow them to sit comfortably. A woman might also purchase a dress online or through a catalog and realize too late that it doesn't fit that well.

I guess there are probably some women who would knowingly wear a too-tight-for-sitting dress if it looked great on them standing up, but a woman who KNOWS she can't sit is going to be prepared for that and do her best to avoid sitcom mishaps.

There are also some dresses that need to be hitched up a bit to allow the woman to sit down. This happens when the skirt is very tight around the hips but gets wider around the thighs (to allow for walking). When I was living in Asia I bought a long and rather tight cheongsam-style dress on a whim. The salesman warned me that I'd need to hitch the skirt up a couple of inches to sit down or I'd risk busting the seams. I did this both times I wore the dress and had no problems, but if I hadn't been forewarned I might have tried to sit normally, realized it was difficult/seam-straining, and wrongly concluded that there was no way to sit down safely.
#27
Old 06-19-2009, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post

Kind of like I heard tales in the 80s of girls buying jeans and then putting them on and sitting in water so they'd shrink to their bodies exactly. I don't know if that's true either.
I've read similar stories of cowboys doing the same thing with the original Levis. It was either in Panatti's Extraordinary Origins OF Everyday Things or his Browser's Book Of Beginnings.
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