When I teach classes at Kirkwood Community College, it is often difficult to find comparisons to show people the concept I am trying to portray. Skimming through the Chadwick’s catalog, I noticed this model wearing several different dresses. Since it is all the same model, it is easier to see how each dress impacts her overall look.



A: Poplin Sheath Dress: This dress has an “overall small pattern.” This basically means that the eye doesn’t stop anywhere and keeps moving. This can be very helpful when trying to minimize a large stomach–as long as the dress is not pulling in that area. Office-appropriate rating: A- The neckline is great, the length is great, but the sleevelessness isn’t appropriate for all people and all work settings. If you put a structured jacket on on this it would be great for the office.

B: Lace Sheath Dress: This dress is a “tone on tone” meaning that the lace and the undergarment are the same color scheme so it is more subtle. Notice how the pattern on the lace dress is larger. The larger the pattern, the heavier the person looks. Office-appropriate rating: C+ The neckline is good but the length is a bit questionable. Your dress will ride up a bit when you sit down so this is pushing it. The jacket adds a bit of professionalism, but lace is generally not considered office professional as it implies a sexy nature.

C: Tank Top Dress: The neckline is acceptable but the shoes definitely have to go. This is more of a sundress because, although you can’t see it, the back is crochet material, thus others would be able to see your bra.  Now let’s compare the overall look. The tiers are not aligned so the pattern stops every time there is another tier. Tiers create horizontal lines and thus make this model’s middle section appear larger than in the sheath dresses. Office-appropriate rating: C- If you wore it with a jacket–and didn’t take your jacket off–it might work, but you have to wear better shoes!

D: Ombre Maxi Dress: We again have tiers which create bulk; the ruffles also add bulk. The changing colors are a fun and casual look. There is a pattern within the ombre effect and even though it is an “all over” pattern, it isn’t small. Thus, the model looks heavier in this outfit. Office-appropriate rating: D The neck is too low, the length is too long and flip flops are never appropriate for the office.

Compare the dresses. Which do you think look more slimming?