Fashion Friday: Town Gowns and Skinny Jeans

Town gowns and skinny jeans — now THAT’S an interesting combination!

It’s Friday again and you know what that means.  I’ve long been a huge fan of Big Mama‘s Fashion Friday posts, so when she added a Mr. Linky-doo, I knew I had to join in. I am in no way a fashion expert, but I do have opinions. And I’m sure you do too, so please chime in with your 2 cents in the comments.

I’m going to hit a couple of topics today because I’ve had so many questions lately.  I hope you’ll keep ’em coming!

Jenn asks: What is your personal opinion of the town gowns Old Navy is advertising?


Photos by Old Navy

I say: Um.  Mrs. Roper, anyone?

I actually hadn’t seen these until last night when I was watching American Idol, and the ad came up.  First of all, the ad is offensive and I am irritated on that basis alone.  Second of all, the dresses?  Eh.  The maxi dress trend, as a whole, borders on housecoat.  It’s a look only a select few can pull off, and if that’s you, more power to ya!  But I have a feeling I’m going to be seeing a whole lotta them on people who should NOT be wearing them.

The biggest problem I see with Old Navy’s “town gown” — aside from the overall unflattering nature of the silhouette — is that it looks cheap.  It is definitely not a good look for me, or for most anyone over the age of 30.

Now, if you’re young and hip and tall and thin and you want to give the maxi dress a whirl, go for something of quality.  Like this.


Photo by Nordstrom

I’m still not entirely sure where one would wear a floor-length dress such as this, besides out to a trendy restaurant; it’s certainly not practical for running around town chasing kids and unloading groceries (as town gown would suggest).  But if you want to partake in the trend, I’d suggest looking somewhere other than Old Navy.  (And I am generally a fan of Old Navy — just not this time.)

Next, Courtney says: You totally have to address the skinny jeans fad at some point.

I say: Skinny jeans fall into the same category as the town gown / maxi dress.  It’s a look only about 5% of the population can pull off well — and once again, it’s the 5% that is tall and willowy and YOUNG.  I’m not a huge fan of the look, even on people that wear them well.  But it’s treading on thin ice if you don’t have the figure of a super model.

If you like the look of the skinny jean but you don’t think you can quite pull it off, consider the straight jean.

I found this in my inbox a few weeks ago.  It’s from Banana Republic:

Straight Jean most flattering silhouette?

I have a few pair of straight jeans, and it’s a way to get the modern look of the skinny jean without highlighting every lump and bump in your post-child-bearing body.  Oh wait.  Maybe that’s just me.

While I like the straight jean quite well tucked into boots and also with flats, I still feel like I, personally, look better in a jean with a slight boot cut when I wear high heels.  That’s because I tend to be a bit, er, top heavy — that and I have hips.  So having a slight flare in the pant leg helps balance me out.

See, here’s the thing about pants.  It’s all about proportion.  It really depends on YOU — your body shape and type.  Stacy and Clinton are famous for telling their students that a pant should fit well at the hip and then go straight down from there — almost to the floor.  (Never underestimate the importance of the right pant length.)  That’s the ideal fit.  Now, for some, that may be a straight jean.  For some, it may be a boot cut.  For some, it may be a wide leg pant.  It all depends on your body.  And that is why the skinny jean only works for someone with the shape of a toothpick.

What do YOU say about town gowns and the skinny jean? Fashion do or fashion don’t?

Join the Conversation

41 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Town Gowns and Skinny Jeans

  1. Once again I agree with you whole-heartedly! I do have a pair of semi-skinny jeans that are a cropped ankle-zip – I wear them to tuck into my boots. Other than that, I mostly do boot cut. I also do have one pair of straight that are new to me, that I love.

  2. Sarah – You make a good point about what to wear WITH the skinny jeans. I should have hit on that. Dang, there’s always something I miss. Guess that’s why I’m NOT an expert, huh? 🙂

  3. The Stain Farm – YES! You nailed it. And that is primarily why I cannot find dresses in ANY style to look good on me. I think it’s hard not to look matronly in a dress when one is well endowed. UGH.

  4. Erin, yeah, the short dress does have more potential than the long. And assuming that model is six feet tall and the dress wouldn’t be so short on a normal person, it COULD work — on those who aren’t too busty. I still stand by my statement that it looks cheap. The same basic style in a higher quality garment could be cute on the right person.

  5. Mrs. Roper – now THAT made me laugh. I’ve tried straight jeans but the ones that fit me in the hips and waist tend to be too baggy in the leg for me. Boot cut seems to work better on my body. The town gown is a no. The short one is better than the long ones but it would still make me look like I was dressed by a tent maker.

  6. I say that I agree on the town gown. They’re going to look sloppy on anyone shorter than 5′ 6″.

    I think more people can work the skinny jeans, but only with long tops that hit below the hip.

    But basically, I totally agree!

  7. I agree with you about the gowns. I know it would look like a moo moo on me. On the skinny jeans, I think I may have a pair from Old Navy. Not sure they are called skinny jeans but I kind of like them. Since I’m short and a “little” overweight most jeans are too bulky and make me look heavier. These seem to fit me better.

  8. I Agree! Both items of clothing are for the waif. As an added bonus you have to be tall AND waif-like for the dress. I do think both items are ADORABLE, and, should I ever get down to 100 pounds at my height of 5’10”, I will gladly sport them both.
    Also, i agree with you on the Old Navy dresses….eh notsomuch. But that dress from Nordstrom?! be still my heart……

  9. Who came up with those Old Navy ads? Can you say, creepy?? Well, it borders on creepy and hysterical…
    Great advice. I agree the silhouette is not flattering, and why does a dress need a pocket?? I would add one requirement to the young/hip/tall/thin request…NOT so blessed in the chest. Otherwise, that dress will be a disaster. 😉

  10. When I was preggo w/Asa, ON had some maternity town gowns and I thought, THIS IS GOING TO BE MY NEW FAVORITE DRESS. I mean the models looked divine, comfy and glowing. I however looked like a cow. And when I opened the door of the dressing room to show my husband he GIGGLED at me. Hmph.

  11. Skinny jeans – ick. ick. ick.

    The town gown – I don’t know. It’s certainly not something I’d wear out in public. I might wear it around the house to lounge in though! I can see myself wearing it while sitting out on our deck, having a drink with my husband on summer evenings.

    In public – not a chance.

  12. Maybe I’m in fashion denial, but I like the short dress. I certainly don’t have the same body as that model, but I am tall and have thinner limbs, which the dress accentuates, and a less attractive middle, which the dress hides. As long as there isn’t a breeze. And I wish ALL dresses came with pockets!

    But in general, the long dress (I didn’t even know they were called town gowns) just bums me out. Not practical.

  13. The town gowns are so so. I am tall so I think the longer ones are ok. I like the look of skinny jeans but they wont stay up – I dont think I have enough junk in my trunk. I have been looking for a regular waist skinny (not low wasit) but can’t find them anywhere. I never thought of a straight jean but that does give almost the same look!

  14. I’m embarassed to admit that I bought that short dress. It’s not that short on me, I PROMISE. And, I just so happened to try it on with a tank top underneath and it works. Or maybe I’m just kidding myself. It’s definitely not a big night out kind of dress, but I do think it’s cute alternative to shorts in the summer.

  15. The town-gown looks like a tank top mu-mu to me – I could/would never wear that! And skinny jeans are not for me either, big girls don’t do skinny anything:)
    Have a great weekend!

  16. Ha! Mrs. Roper. Too funny, girl.

    Yeah. Big double NO for me, thanks. And I’m finding all of my springy Old Navy purchases from a couple weeks ago to be disappointing, quality-wise, which I’ve not experienced with their stuff before. Bummer.

  17. Thank goodness someone else is offended by the new Old Navy ad campaign!!! I have had a MAJOR bone to pick with Old Navy lately, stemming from an in-store promotion related to this new Supermodelquin campaign. As part of the promotion, they were handing out fake little cocktails in the store!! Worse yet, they were serving them up with a side of M&M’s or Skittles…nothing like luring children in with candy and then glorifying cocktails. You can read the whole story on my blog. I also agree that the new town gown commercial is terribly offensive. I have also written about it.

    I am opposed to the town-gown mostly for moral reasons at this point, although, the fashion isn’t making a big pull in the other direction. As for the skinny jean….the only way this gal is wearing the skinny jean is with a looong tunic and some tall boots. : )

  18. My husband gets really frustrated everytime the old navy commercial comes on and starts grumbling about the dresses being nightgowns. The commercials are so disturbing.

    A big issue I have with sun dresses in general is that I have a bigger bust to put it politely. Shopping at more affordable stores like Target and JC Penney, I feel like I cannot find a dress where I’m not showing off tons of cleavage and so I have 2 sections of dresses. Church appropriate and dresses to wear when I’m safely by my husbands side somewhere and can’t possibly run into church friends:) It’s rediculous. I’m living a double life. I’ve tried the whole tank top under the dress deal but on a hot day it’s one layer too many.

    As for the skinny jean issue, I think skinny jeans are really cute… On my eleven and ten year old daughters. Not on any one with hips and a booty. Not on boys! Not on husbands!

  19. I tried on one of the town gowns at Old Navy last week. It was incredibly unflattering. Yes, I could see if I was on a beach vacation somewhere with some adorable gold sandals and a big slouchy bag and hat, it may look really cute and perfect for the environment. But we live in a small town of 5,000 in IL, and if I wore that anywhere here, it would look like I was either wearing my nightgown, or wishing I was on a beach somewhere (which I currently am wishing).

    College-age girls could probably pull it off. But not me. I’m too…..what’s the word? 30. I’m too 30.

    And yes, the Old Navy commercial is offensive. My husband thinks the most offensive part is that the black mannequins were designed to look like the Obamas, in which case, no, we don’t want to see Michelle Obama’s dress get ripped off.

  20. I’m no fashion expert – by far – I mean, I wear jeans and t’s even if they do make me look fat LOL But it would be over my dead body that you would find me in either one of those items of clothing.

  21. I think the town gown is perfect if you are on vacation on some beach and you need something to throw on over your bathing suit before you walk into a restaurant. So, I won’t be wearing one any time soon. I did buy one of their “town” dresses, but it is short and has more shape.

    As for skinny jeans, no thank you. I think the look is very dated and really doesn’t look good on anyone. I prefer straight leg if I’m wearing flats (rare) or bootcut. I feel best when I’m wearing well-fitting boot cut jeans and heels.

  22. The only person I know who could pull off one of those dresses is my sister – who is in her 20s, 5’8″ and size 1. If I put one on, I’d look like 3 people were inside. And I have way too much on top that would spill out with the way the dress is cut.(to see waht my son calls that part of my body, see my blog!) The skinny jeans need to GO AWAY!! Bootcut with some fab heels is way, way cuter!

  23. Hooray for my DVR! Because of it, I’ve never seen the offensive Old Navy commercials. We DVR everything and then fast-forward through ALL the commercials (unless we space out and forget).

    You’re right in that long dresses don’t look good unless you are really tall. Stacy and Clinton have spent hours on that topic. The short dress wouldn’t be too bad if they weren’t so cheap.

    And you will NEVER find me in a pair of skinny jeans. Somewhere between the ages of 25 and 30, my skinny frame suddenly became pear-shaped. Not sure how that happened. More dessert, anyone??? And then from 30 til now I have put on another 15 pounds or so. Needless to say, I have WAY too much in the hip and butt area to even get anywhere near a pair of skinny jeans!

  24. Town gown = ugh. I have a hard time thinking that those dresses will actually FLATTER anyone.

    And I like the skinny jean. But I have the skinny legs. Straight leg or boot cut is always the best choice, because it looks good on EVERY body type.

    I was looking at jeans the other day, and I was shocked to see that the flared leg is coming back! I don’t get that! I couldn’t find a boot cut or a straight leg to save my life!

  25. Good advice all the way around. Al thought I don’t know about the short dress – kind of reminds me of maternity wear and I so don’t ever want to wear that again.
    Not to mention I don’t think I’m built for any of the looks.
    I was watching Keeping up with the Kardashians the other night – I know, I’m a scholar – and all of the ladies had the long drape like dresses on and I really didn’t care for it.
    I’ll stick to my capri’s!

  26. i am a sucker for bright prints and cheap prices, so i was intrigued by the ON dresses. then i saw them in person at ON, and they look like they would fall apart the first time you washed them. the fabric is very cheap. if you wanted a dress to wear once on vacation, there you go.

    i bought a maxi dress this weekend at TJ Maxx, and it was 17 dollars. it is actually very comfy, and just right for church or a night out (what is that? remind me, husband!) it is chiffon, and with a scarf for a little more coverage up top, is a cute look. but i am tall.

    and i am with you on the skinny/straight jean stuff! i have to have a little bit of a boot cut to balance out my middle part.

    great post! oh, and I saw the ON dresses online. if i had seen the commercial first, i wouldn’t have gone in the store!

  27. i wear both skinny jeans and the dresses. I only have one dress that is long and I wear it as a swimsuit coverup. At first I wasn’t sure if those type of jeans would look good on me. I had a gift card that I received from my sister and I found some that I liked so I tried some on and they actually looked good. I’m not like 90 pounds and really skinny, but I am kind of straightish and most pants fit me kind of funny and these actually seem to fit the best everywhere as opposed to the others that I own.

  28. Oh, my, those ON ads are weird-o. I cannot stand talking mannequins. They freak me out.

    Moving on… the “town” gowns are really yucky (although the Nordstrom one has a pretty print… still waaay too long for me).

    I found you through one of your comments on Mrs. Fussypants’ site. You write like I think 🙂 I will be subscribing!

  29. I think that there are bigger things to get irritated over than the Old Navy ad campaign, maybe its time to loosen up a little?
    As far as the town gown goes, I dont think they are ugly and I bought one of the long ones even though I am a bigger gal, and I think it looks fine. Remember, it isn’t the dress that makes ya look fat…
    Granted, it was a bit to long and I had to lay it up, but everything I buy seems a bit too long and needs hemming.
    The short version did make me look like an egg, so I didn’t buy it, but I am sure that it looks good on some people.
    I personally don’t buy skinny jeans, but it is more because I enjoy getting my hands into my pockets.
    The thing about fashion is that if you think you look good, you probably do. Confidence it better than any thing you can buy and beauty (and humor) are in the eye of the beholder, so if you want to wear skinny jeans, a town gown, leg warmers, etc. more power to you! Even if you are above 20 something!

  30. I say no on both.

    Just because you change the name of something, doesn’t make it any better. Town Gown? Right.

    As The Talking Heads said (so well): “Same as it ever was”.

  31. i totally agree with the town gowns.
    They look cheap…you wear them…u look cheap…not chic.
    although i would consider a shorter version of them…with a little alteration of the initial design here and there.
    and the skinny jeans…hmmm..even though i CAN pull them off without a single problem…i am NOT a big fan of the trend…i would take straight or boot cut over them any day…flared out legs dont go with me…since i have no big bum to balance out the flare..and i have long legs..and dread ending up looking like a stork.LOL!
    have this beautiful pair i am really proud of, dark washed denim, which comes with a denim belt with a beautiful decorated chic buckle..and they are straight..and look awesome on me!!
    looking forward to more posts since this is the first time i stumbled across your blog…happy blogging!!^_^

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