The Dickey, The Fichu, and Me
Emma Thompson rocking a fichu
in Sense and Sensibility, 1995
Back in the day, it was considered socially acceptable to cheat with layering. Usually designed like a decapitated blouse, dickies were for layering under other clothing. Like the fichu before them, they were a way to make an article of clothing more modest. They also gave the look of layering without the bulkiness.
But the dickey seems to have gone out of style for the most part. I’ve seen a number of theories for this, from the dickey being seen as “dishonest” to the rise of more casual clothing in the workplace. The name might also have something to do with it. In any case, it’s become much less common to wear these practical little items.
Honestly, I would still use dickies if it weren’t for the fact that I’m busty and they absolutely refuse to sit still or lay flat. I prefer my necklines high, and it can be hard to find dresses that have both the neckline I love and the shape I need. Thankfully, I’ve figured out an alternative that works well for me and that is the crop top.
The Crop Top
I got this idea when I was looking at purchasing a dress from Modcloth that was a comfortable-looking knit. I wanted to add a bit more detail to the neckline without adding bulk to the waist; the knit, I knew full well, would definitely show a tank top shifting.
Crop tops are pretty awesome for those of us who want to decrease the bulk under our dresses and JSKs but still want the look of layering. I usually have many layers under my Lolita, from shapewear to tights to petticoats and underskirts. It helps me quite a bit to remove some of the bulk at my waist.
Crop tops also stay in place. As previously mentioned, dickies and fichus do not. I end up having to pin them to my clothes, which ends in puckering when they try to shift but can’t. Close fitting crop tops hold themselves in place without that insanity.
Wearing a Crop Top with Lolita
Summer is the most useful season for crop tops in Lolita because it gives the look of layers without adding too much fabric. I wear a lot of layers usually, so crop tops are a godsend. When I want to add visual detail to the neckline of an OP, I tend to gravitate toward sleeveless lace turtlenecks. Something like this is my ideal:
It’s simple, it’s lightweight, and it adds the high neckline I love without adding the bulk of a full undershirt or a blouse.
Sometimes I wear a crop top with a JSK. Again, this gives the look of layering without adding too much bulk, which is a godsend in the summer. In particular, I prefer to wear crop tops that look like this
Of course, this type of crop top is a bit simple for the taste of most coordinates, but it’s easy enough to modify with the addition of a little lace or chiffon. It’s also a simple design to make, for those of you with a penchant for DIY.
As you’ve probably noticed, I’m one of those people who enjoys pulling from a variety of influences and this is definitely one of the weirder things I've picked up over the years. Odd as it is, though, I hope this solution helps somebody.