I’m Bringing Dickeys Back! Go Ahead, Laugh All You Want

Huh huh huh huh huh, I said DICK.
Publish date:
May 23, 2013
shoppables, fashion, style, layering, dickeys

First of all, the real me is a crass 15-year-old boy who loves any excuse to say the word “DICK” in casual conversation. And then laugh like Butthead of Beavis and Butthead fame. I mean, I already own the AC/DC T-shirt. We really aren't that different, ol' Butthead and I.

Need more proof? Yesterday I sent this screenshot to Mandy and said, "HAHAHAHA your post has 69 comments right now!!!"

To which her very dignified response was, "I had the same f%#*ing reaction!"

So being able to say DICK over and over is obviously a good enough reason to bring back the much-maligned dickey, but there are other, better reasons as well. Like, HELLO, they are actually really cute! Stay with me, I promise you'll agree.

First, a little history: A dickey (or dickie, or dicky, whatever you like) is basically a false shirt front worn with fancy men’s dress wear in the late 19th century. Laundering was expensive and infrequent, so it was far easier to only wash/starch/press the part of your shirt that was going to be seen. (I do this all the time on shows -- only steam the front of a dress shirt, because it’s going to be under a jacket so WHO CARES?)

The turtleneck style dickey was REALLY popular in the 70’s, so much so that now people instantly cringe when they hear the word.

The poor dickey has been reduced to nothing but a punch line in shows like "The Big Bang Theory" and "30 Rock," synonymous with bad fashion and a shorthand for "dork." (COMEDY WRITERS AND THEIR CLOTHING JOKES, OH HAHAHAHAHA SO FUNNY, GUYS!)

I hadn't even thought about the old-school dickey in ages until I realized it was a good, cheap way to fake my Wednesday Addams summer fashion look. I did a little research and found a company making THE CUTEST dickeys that are so perfect, I just don't know how to explain it. So here are some pictures instead:

COME ON. I always want to look like the adorable kids in layered clothes in the J. Crew Crewcuts catalog, but when I try to wear collared shirts under sweaters and stuff I just look like a lumpy, rumpled, mess. Everything is all bunchy and twisted, and I start sweating to death the minute I get in my car. Layering is actually a drag.

Ce Ce Toppings is a new-ish maker of dickeys that has the good sense not to call the dumb thing a dickey. They call it a "topping." And I love them.

Zooey Deschanel should be wearing the shit out of these ALL OVER on "New Girl." I might drop her costume designer a line.

Ce Ce Toppings are made in the USA, in case you have become particular about that sort of thing. I'm trying, but not judging anyone, because it's almost next to impossible.

In case you aren't already sold on it, here are 5 reasons why bringing the dickey back is such a brilliant idea:

  1. You don't have to worry about armpit stains in shirts or bother taking your shirts to the dry cleaners after every wearing. The "topping" is just sitting on your neck like a necklace, and it's easier to wash/dry/iron on your own if it really needs it.
  2. You can wear one under a sleeveless shirt or even a vest to get the cute fussy/frilly or schoolgirl vibe without sweating to death because you have multiple layers on. My armpits need to be free at all times--they are swingers.
  3. If you are large chested, chances are you own ZERO buttondown shirts, because they don't ever close around your ample assets. If the shirt does close, it most likely gaps between the buttons, causing lumps underneath your top layer. The buttons on a dickey don't come down to your boobs, so this problem is a non-issue.
  4. I get overheated like crazy when I have on multiple layers -- so the lack of all that extra bulk is the only way I could work the layered look. Plus my shirts have a way of twisting and turning every which way, so my seams are always a disgusting mess when I attempt to wear layered stuff.
  5. The DICKEY is a great way to cover up a HICKEY!

Bonus reason I like the idea of a dickey: I have spent the last year with some sort of annoying chest breakout that no dermatologist could figure out. I spent all my time hiding it in higher necked garments. Finally my current doc gave me some cream that cured it, but ended up giving me horrible hives. I'd have killed somebody for a way to wear all my low V-neck tops while all that was going on!

I already know what you are gonna say next: "But the dickey will move around and pop out when I bend over!" Perhaps, but this is easily fixable with a small piece of double stick tape, a.k.a. toupee tape, a.k.a. Top-Stick.

Either stick the front of the dickey to your sweater or outer layer, or stick your bra straps to the dickey itself at the shoulder.

You could also get this same look by chopping up some dumb random button front shirt you already have in your closet. I sometimes buy the largest size little kid's oxfords at discount stores and chop the arms off to make them more streamlined under clothes. You could also use any number of crazy vintage blouses from a thrift store. Sometimes an allover pattern is way too much, but a little bit just at your neck is perfect.

Now I don't want to ram this DICK-ey down your throats, so let's take a proper voice vote to decide on it.

All those in favor of the dickey, say "Aye." Those opposed, say "No."

And as it goes, so shall it be -- the ayes have it, the motion is carried.

I hereby declare 2013 THE YEAR OF THE DICKEY.

Alison's on Twitter: @IveyAlison.