Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Sheath

I saw it everywhere, and on everyone: the sheath dress. In linen, cotton, solids and prints, and even in tropical wool, the sheath dress seemed to be popular in Annecy this summer.

Someone suggested that the sheath dress is enjoying new attention because Michelle Obama has made it a staple of her wardrobe. That may be true, although it seems just as likely that the style is popular simply because it is classic. From Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly to Jackie Kennedy to J.Crew, the sheath dress continues to enjoy a place in many wardrobes.

While Holly and Jackie sported pearls with their sheath dresses, what I saw in France was very different. Though it is a city and it is chic, Annecy sports a more casual chic. Instead of pumps with a sheath dress, it was strappy sandals, or even flip flops! Instead of pearls or a scarf, I saw simple gold or silver necklaces, or Senegalese beads, and the Birkin was replaced by a fun canvas bag or a market basket. It just goes to show that in France it's all about style, not fashion.

Before you say “but I can’t wear a sheath . . .” think about this: a sheath dress is designed to hug the figure. If you’re fuller in the hips, find a dress that accommodates your hips and have it tailored (which is très français, by the way). Seriously, think about Michelle Obama; she’s fit, but she’s not petite. And, if you don’t have Michelle’s arms, there is always the cardigan.

Anyway, one of the first things I did after unpacking was to pull out my charcoal grey sheath dress (and my cardigan), put on my sandals, grab my market basket, and head out to do the grocery shopping.

And I felt very French . . .


  1. It's nice to know they use accessories that are more casual and not as expensive as some things can be. I like the idea of going out with the market basket in hand with strappy sandals.

  2. I love the sheath as well, it is nearly the only kind of dress I wear and no matter how long ago I bought it, it is timeless. So glad to have you back!

  3. I snared a lightweight wool jersey sheath (black, d'accord) at J.Crew two years ago and am so glad I did. It has beautiful buttons down the back and a little wool ruffle at the hem. Too warm for summer, but just right in spring and fall with a cardigan or a wrap. In the winter, I wear a tissue-weight turtleneck or my French sailor shirt underneath, along with a scarf. Timeless and (nearly) seasonless.

    I'm glad to hear that the sheath is much beloved in the homeland! Any pictures??

  4. Stephanie, I was at the outdoor market one day and saw a woman wearing a white linen sheath, Jackie-O sunglasses, and carrying a market basket like yours--don't you know I thought of you!

    Andi, as you know, it is so lovely there. The weather was spectacular, food and shopping were fun, and those Annecy women have casual chic down to a science.

    Marsi, I am so mad at myself for not taking any pics while I was out and about! I did take some of my nephews and few from our al fresco dinners and may use them in some future posts.

  5. I am happy that you are back. I am sure you had a wonderful time. It is good to see you posting again. I love sheath dresses but they do not love me, I have yet to find one I look good in. This style is so versatile, it can be dressed up or down.

  6. I am so happy that you are back and am just catching up on your posts. I love what you said, and it is so true- France is all about style not fashion. I hope your trip was full of wonderful memories :)

  7. Boutique Sexy Backless Pearl Sheath Dress, This sheath dress can show your beautiful back to others and it is very sexy.