We have a new dress code at work. Nothing transparent. No dresses above mid-thigh. Absolutely NO fishnets with short skirts.
The new dress code causes me quite a bit of stress as it requires me to exercise aesthetic and spatial judgements first thing in the morning. Not since the days of being at school have I been so careful to check and double check my back, front and side views.
To take some of the stress off, I have been trying to wear longer dresses. Of course, longer dresses, little legs and Sydney summer humidity are not a happy match for each other so last week I fell back on the old long-dress-with-side-splits-to-catch-the-wind-and-yet-still-give-enough-coverage-to-avoid-the-need-for-hosiery look.
Actually, let’s not obfuscate around the bush here – I was in fact indulging myself in my cheongsam obsession. Pure and simple.
My love of cheongsams dates back to early Bond movies (Miss Taro anyone?) but my lust for them grew in earnest after watching Kar Wai Wong’s film “In the Mood for Love” (2000).
In that film, Maggie Cheung appears in a succession of over 30 different designer cheongsams each more elegant than the last.
Try as I might, I am not a patch on Maggie (particularly as I have never once seen her with an escapee bra strap)
Cheongsams are not easy to put on. There are lots of poppers and brocade buttons to contend with. Once on cheongsams are quite hard to pull off, particularly for short caucasian persons with curvy bottoms like me. The poppers and brocade buttons have a tendency to unpop and unbutton you see.
The trick is, of course, to have them tailored exactly to fit your shape. This can cost up to $5,000.00 which seems like a lot of money until you see what happens to celebrities who have cheongsam side splits gaping in awkward places.
Until such times as I can have one custom made, I have been collecting cheongsams from thrift stores and eBay. I don’t wear them often and without Frocking Fridays, I probably wouldn’t have worn this one outside the house. Looking at the photos I am disappointed to note that the length of the cheongsam makes me look shorter and dumpier than I think I am. The low heeled shoes don’t help of course.
Without looking at the photos though and listening to the swish of the split skirt and satin chrysanthemums, for a moment I can (just) imagine that I am Maggie undulating in silk and sighs down dark alleyways.