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The Sheath Dress

The Sheath Dress

You have seen this style of dress and maybe even own one or two?  Well, hello sheath dress!  In the spirit of the election and known for its appearance on several First Ladies, and like Jackie Kennedy pictured below.  

Kate Middleton also wears her sheath of choice for her many royal occasions.  

This week we are covering the history and meaning of the Sheath Dress.

Here's a classic sheath
Here's a classic sheath

By definition, a sheath dress is a style of dress designed to fit close to the body, with minimal embellishments.  A sheath dress typically falls around the knees or lower thighs but does not surpass knee length.

A version of the sheath dress was spotted early on in Egyptian paintings.  The Goddess Isis was discovered in an ancient Egyptian sheath dress woven of colorful linen and embellished with bead work and embroidery. This was an indication of her high social standing is the ankle length of the skin tight (sheath) dress.

The woman’s shape was celebrated in the 1950’s, when girdles became a thing of the past, and they could show off their curves with this form fitting style of dress.  Worn as both day and evening dress, the figure flattering sheath dress continued to remain a 1950s clothing staple.  

This versatile 1950’s dress was simply cut, fit close to the body, and accompanied by very little embellishments. Synthetic fabrics allow the dress to fit snugly along the waist and hips. Darts were sewn from the bust to waist, might be strapless, sleeveless, or long sleeved. Sheath dresses are also popular choices for bridal wear.  Sleek and form fitting are my descriptors of choice. 

This little dress achieved a milestone of freedom for women, not only did styles change, but they embraced power and gave notice.  Associating names like our First Ladies along with this style of dress gives it the utmost strength and beauty.  The sheath gave women a reason to ditch the corset and embody her natural shape.  Nothing is more powerful than hips, simple style, and accessorized with iconic power. 

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