Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Housedresses, Dusters, and Caftans

You heard me. Oh year. We're going there.

You know you want one. You just needed a safe place to admit your casual clothing fetish.

Well, we here at the Bitter Train are here to ablige. Come on, Sister, admit it. The idea of all that flowing fabric, sans waistband, makes you breathless.

Where did this sudden interest come from, you ask?
Like all my best ideas, it came to me in the tub.

After a leisurely afternoon soaking in the tub, (see previous posts on Mr. Bubble), the idea of binding my body with a waistband seemed contrary to the relaxation that the tub had offered. Perhaps it's my own fault for soaking for so long in the middle of the day. I didn't want to put on work or play clothes. Yet, it was too soon for pajamas. And frolicking about naked just creates too many awkward moments when you have not just a roommate, but numerous pets. You can see the dilemma and the appeal of the simple housedress. Just toss it on and get on with my day, or at least what was left of it. But no. I do not own any housedresses. Or patio dresses.
But look at this beauty. Can't you just see yourself sipping a fruity umbrella drink (or swilling a beer) while wearing it?

Sue and I swapped stories of housedresses, and when our mothers and/or other neighborhood ladies wore them. Then we wondered if we should go to K-mart and check their inventory. Expeditiously (I just wanted to use that word), Sue went on line to see what could be found.

Clearly, the choices and finer points of fashion wear was vast. Questions remain for me as I am unable to determine the differences between the housedress and housecoat (is it buttons?), caftans and dusters (is it the length? the flutter sleeves?), and just how did the "cobbler" go from shoeing horses in the barn to the kitchen? Why do product descriptions include words such as "ample" and "roomy?" And what is a snapdress? And America's Next Top Model has never featured any contestant actually wearing a "models coat" (although they've worn just about everything but).

Fashion Historians - help! Where did the housedress come from? The affluence of the 50's? More importantly, where did they go? Will they be permanently unseated by robes? Is the term "lounger" a bridge word from housedress to robe?

Further research reveals that one may purchase housedresses from stores that end in "mart" or in questionable catalogs such as Carol Wright.

What is your housedress/housecoat/caftan/duster/cobbler/lounger story? Who wore them when you were growing up? Did you? Do you still have any? Do you have my address?


  1. I just wear a jogging suit with gold chains an flip plops, just like Carl in Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Number one in the hood G.

  2. Oh my - I do see the appeal. I mean, they even marketed to younger gals like us and our 20-something zumba partners by using such young models to show off their beauty in them. I can't believe Tira Banks has left this fashionable clothing off the show.

    As for history - my only history is w/ a friend who I worked w/ in Admissions for another college. Perhaps the craze hadn't really hit Ada yet. But she and I looked for one at the mall for her mom for a present of some sort. Her mom had requested it.

    Aside from that - my Mimi might have had one or two, but she was like batman - you'd never known she had them by her outside wear that you saw her in. Perhaps when her batphone rang she quickly changed into the Mimi we knew and loved so no one was the wiser.

    So now my question is . . . do you think woman everywhere wear housedresses . . . just not out? Just in secret? Or do you think they just haven't made their full comeback yet? I don't know - those were awfully young models - there is hope for you gals!

  3. Wouldn't be caught dead in one walking the streets of Ada. MS

  4. My grandmother lived to 94 (37 years of my life).
    I think I can still count on my hands and feet the number of times I saw here in anything but a house dress. "Models Coats" were her particular favorites. They had to be snap buttons, below the knee, and elbow length. A tall order.
    Christmas just isn't the same without an exhaustive trip through the house coat section of Misses Lingerie...

  5. I think velour sweat suits have replaced the house dress. It's hard to beat something you can sleep in and then roll out of bed and go to the store in. I have a pink, green and navy one. If you live in Ada, you may have seen me in one. Highly recommended!

  6. Do not wear one on a first date.

  7. GREAT BIRTH CONTROL....housedresses. I'd say stick to VICTORIA SECRET.....oooh yeah!!!