Jane Eyre’s party frock

I presume that regular readers of this blog have by now figured out I am deeply superficial. Much as I would like to pretend that I give my spare thoughts over to contemplation of society’s many injustices, it would be foul calumny to claim any such thing. In the same vein, rather than donate my lunch hours to the benefit of those less fortunate than myself, I often find myself wandering the aisles of the area’s many chain stores.

I’m not always looking to buy, you understand. Often, I’m looking for ideas or inspiration.  Also, over the past year, Zoesmom and I have found a new hobby: that of spotting what we like to call ‘asylum wear’.

white This is the sort of clothing that we deem was forced upon women in Victorian asylums. It might also be what the so-lovely Mina Harker was wearing that lured Dracula to her bedroom, although apparently this version is a wedding dress. white2

I particularly like the back view, which reminds me of a shower curtain.

There is also ‘orphanage wear’, which is what Jane Eyre wore at Lowood, an example of which I spotted when I strayed into Banana Republic. This dress below I would categorise as ‘party night at Lowood’.


I will admit that this dress looks much better in black than it did when I saw it in the store, where it appeared in a colour that BR is calling ‘oatmeal heather‘, but that I like to call ‘beige’. Anyway, the sort of flat, drab, dowdy colour that does no one any favours, particularly when it’s covering them from neck to ankle. The colour that Jane Eyre would be made to wear, just to make sure that she didn’t look remotely attractive. I suspect one would look as if one were being eaten by sand.

My first reaction on seeing something like this is to wonder who, exactly, is supposed to wear it?  It doesn’t look great on the model, and she’s standing at the sort of hip-jutting angle that if it were seen in real life would cause bystanders to recommend a good chiropractor.  Secondly, that little item is black cashmere and costs $275.  I have noticed BR’s prices creeping up of recent months, and it’s been amusing, particularly as there is currently absolutely no reason why anyone should buy anything at full price when it will have at least 30% knocked off in a month’s time. Are the prices increasing so the store makes more money even when forced to discount? ‘Cos if so, the fact that the stuff ain’t shifting and the discounts are getting bigger ought to tell them something.

Are they, perhaps, trying to edge into J-Crew’s market, a store perfectly capable of providing its own alarming dresses? Such as this one, for the woman who loves Christmas so much she wants to spend $650 to look like a tree:


This dress, I kid you not, is also available in a colour charmingly entitled ‘root‘, just in case you want to take that look forward into the New Year, when the tree has dried out and lost all its needles.

I think I will plan a party if you all promise to dress for it…


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I've run out of books. Again.

6 thoughts on “Jane Eyre’s party frock”

  1. A WEDDING dress?! You’ve got to be kidding. Is it some sort of wedding night convenient apparel, you know, “go straight from the aisle to bed with no need to change clothes” sort of a thing? And that “tree,” as you call it, is nothing short of hilarious. She looks like she should be on stage in a kindergarten performance of Little Red Riding Hood, warning the unsuspecting LRRH whose busy plucking an apple from her branches, not to talk to strangers, just before the wolf pops out from behind her.

  2. I think you should have an asylum party! I would love to come in my best grey sack dress. I spied one at BR the other day which will no doubt be marked down to $39.99 any day now.

    All those dresses are hideous and not even 14 year old perfect bodied girls would look good in them.

  3. I will come as Anne of Green Gables, pre-Gables. I will don my best boxy, ill-fitting dress and a pair of down-at-heel ankle boots. I believe they sell those at Payless now.

  4. Emily – I think you are right, it’s a multi-purpose wedding dress. I know exactly what you mean about the kindergarten play too.
    ZM and Raych – I’m sure you will both look…erm… destitute?

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