One of the many joyless fashion rules that experts and strangers alike apply so eagerly to fatties like you and me is NO TINY PRINTS.
The idea behind this is one of scale. As the conventional wisdom goes, if the print you're wearing is too tiny, it'll make you look even bigger than your already monumental size. (As an aside, BIG prints are also not OK, unless you want people mistaking you for a couch, or a conceptual art installation -- because all of these “rules” ultimately boil down to DON’T BE FAT IN THE FIRST PLACE or at least that YOUR BODY IS HIDEOUS AND YOU MUST DISGUISE IT USING A COMPLICATED SERIES OF CONTRADICTORY LAWS -- which is just ridiculous, because you should wear what you like, and ignore the uninvited criticism of rulemakers.)
(But I digress.)
The tiniest of the tiny prints is the ditsy print, which apparently first became popular when they were mass-produced by American textile manufacturers in the 1920s and maintained said popularity as a simple decorative style through the 1940s. While there’s no formal definition of what constitutes a ditsy print, generally they are small-scale, often with a floral motif, and usually arranged to look like a random scattering (in keeping with the slang use of "ditsy" or "ditzy" to mean flighty or confused) instead of a uniformly repeating pattern.
That said, these rules are pretty flexible and the word can be used to describe pretty much any small-but-busy print.
Being sort of old-fashioned, and often evoking a set of kitchen curtains in somebody’s grandma’s house where the decor hasn’t changed in fifty years, ditsy prints are not enormously popular for clothing, occasional short-lived trends notwithstanding. Of course, there are always those who spurn the norm, who like things even when everybody else is like LESLEY YOU HAVE GONE MAAAAAD, who were youthfully obsessed with Laura Ashley style in the 1980s and who never actually quite got over it in the years between.
That’s me! The one with the weird fashion sense. Let’s go.
This is a pretty standard example of a ditsy print. The white lace adds an EXTRA grandmotherly dimension by creating a sort of doily on which the collectible bulbous ceramic child sculpture of your head may rest and be admired by the world. You look LOVELY, dear. Put on a sweater though. You’ll need a sweater.
(As a totally unnecessary aside, the copy on Simply Be’s website calls this dress “perfect for your holiday,” which I know means “vacation” in American, but every time I see the word used in this way I start singing Madonna’s “Holiday” and am stuck with it for the rest of the day at least. THANKS, SIMPLY BE.)
Another traditional kitchen-curtain dress, albeit an updated version. Note the short length, the neckline ruffle and the tiny hem flounce, like Laura Ashley ran out of fabric to make this ankle-length, and got depressed and had a few drinks and stopped trying. “TART UP AND SHOW YOUR LEGS, YOU CHEAP 21ST CENTURY HARLOTS,” this dress slurs angrily, “NOBODY APPRECIATES THE SEDUCTIVE POWER OF A FLOOR-GRAZING PUFF-SLEEVED PSUEDOEDWARDIAN FROCK ANYMORE.”
Then it falls off the barstool, loses its keys, and passes out in a stall in the ladies’ room while mumbling angrily about Jane Austen.
SEE, I told you ditsy prints could be hip.
LOOK GUYS, SEPARATES! I’m breaking with my traditional dresses-only rule to show you these two gorgeous ASOS ditsified pieces. Sure, you could wear the top with something innocuous like jeans, or you could wear the skirt with a plain white T.
I, however, would wear these two pieces together, at the same time. But I’m obviously a weirdo.
Maybe that’s advanced ditsy. Like the 401 course of ditsy-prints-wearing.
Hey, just curious: do you hate these high-low hems? I find them inexplicable myself, and yet I am strangely drawn to them, probably because they represent a relief from constantly worrying that the back of my dress has gotten hiked up under my always massively oversized shoulder bag and my ass is sort of out there. I figure the longer length in back means I have more time to wander around oblivious before my prodigious bottom is fully exposed. Not that this ever happens.
As I said above, ditsy prints are generally expected to be floral in nature, but if we’re breaking rules here let’s REALLY BREAK SOME RULES. Like with a lipstick dress. From a distance, people might think you’re wearing a straightforward wrap dress with a small floral print but up close, BOOM! They now know how much you like makeup.
I’m not always into novelty prints because I feel like I have to REALLY LIKE the thing they’re printed with to get into wearing them, but lipstick I can get behind. I just wish it also came in a pink version.
So, some of the big news for fashiony fats lately is that ModCloth, the adorablest twee-est outfitter ever to put a bird on it, has VASTLY expanded their plus size selection. Being fond of both twee shit AND birds on things, and having spent literal years shaking my fist at the cruelty of the fatshion gods who gave me beautiful ModCloth dresses to look at but not to fit in, this has come as welcome information to yours truly.
This precious dress, for example, is covered in a stamp print. STAMPS. WHAT is nerdier than stamps? I love it. I would buy it, if it wasn’t a halter, or if halters didn’t make me feel like my clothes were trying to break my neck out of some weird sense of vengeance because they have mistaken me for someone who accidentally ran over their sweet and kind halter BFF on a wild weekend trip to a remote cabin and then me and my friends hid the BFF halter body and so the other halters have no closure and cannot let go of their need for revenge.
But that wasn’t me, halters. I swear. Let me wear you.
From a distance, this looks like any pink dress. But up close:
SimplyBe recently staged a “blogger takeover” in which they asked plus size fashion bloggers to design some stuff. The ice cream dress is the work of the gorgeous and brilliant Lauren of Pocket Rocket Fashion. Again, I am often avoidant when it comes to novelty prints but I ordered this pretty much immediately upon seeing it, partly because it’s subtle enough to not make me feel silly, but also because I really do enjoy ice cream.
So! What do you guys think? Pro-tiny-prints or against? Do you hate ice cream? Halters? Everything I’ve shared above? Lay it down for me in comments.