I love them, said Liz Jones
Wearing a tight dress is like being in a very close relationship with a boa constrictor. The moment I saw the sausage skin bodycon return to the catwalk, I breathed a sigh of relief.
That said, it wasn’t a deep breath – they’re too tight for that. If you ever read that I donated a kidney, it won’t be for altruistic reasons, it will simply be because I needed to make room.
Her return heralds the death of the tea dress – the passive-aggressive floaty number that hides a harridan who cares if you put a dirty teaspoon on her ironed tablecloth.
Bodycons and skyscraper heels are all over The Apprentice’s new series. Does that mean these ambitious young wannabes are using sex appeal to get ahead?
Good kind of. They know that Lord Sugar would think that a woman dressed in something floaty is in possession of an equally sweet brain. You’ll never catch Sugar’s sidekick Karren Brady in anything short of jaw-dropping.
My first bodycon was bought in the very early 1980s. It was by that master craftsman Azzedine Alaia – black, with a texture like crepe paper and it cost just under £800, the whole of my scholarship, writes Liz Jones (pictured)
Like The Apprentice contestants, I’m just not the wacky type. I don’t want to float. In a bodycon, you strive, you dive and, as Meghan Markle would say, you thrive – and that’s way more my style.
My first bodycon was bought in the very early 1980s. It was by that master craftsman Azzedine Alaia – black, with a texture like crepe paper and it cost just under £800, my whole purse. ‘studies.
It had a kick like a pony to the knee, with a tiny little diagonal zipper, and it was very, very difficult to put on. The process made me sweat, and I often poked my head through the armhole by mistake, but once put on, it always stood out to me.
I felt content and confident, like I was being hugged by a very forgiving friend. Bodycon holds you back and supports you. This allows you to stand upright even when you may be in the dumps.
Since then, I’ve played with a slip and I’ve played with an A-line, but I’ve always come back to bodycon: a pupa from Prada, a gut clip from Gucci.
Always creative, because only expensive fabric will constrain like a corset, no matter if, like me, you have a stressed belly induced by price tags.
Charlotte Hawkins is pictured left while Sarah Jessica Parker are both pictured in bodycon
In the mid-1980s, Hervé Léger – the company created by French designer Hervé Peugnet – took over from Alaia, fashioning garments from strips of knitted fabric, a technique once used in corsetry.
If Hervé separated from the original company, and has since died, the brand that bears his name is still specialized in bodycon.
And it was a jaw-dropping Herve Leger pink bandage dress – it cost almost a grand so you can’t afford to eat, which is just as well – that I chose as my ‘outfit’ come home’ after lockdown for a hot date, after what felt like a decade with no glamorous nowhere to go and a two-year sexual drought.
If the man in your life has been boiling in the bedroom, this is what you need to do the trick. It can peel you like a banana.
These are clothes for adult women who want to do business. Designers have finally realized that the main function of a dress is not to make us look like little girls or, God forbid, comfortable. I think we’ve all had enough of covid comfort. And you don’t have to be thin to wear a bodycon. I actually think it looks better with curves – just look at Kim Kardashian. These dresses scream, “I’m not ashamed of my body. I’m not going to cover it in a bag.
The bodycon is not like a bikini. If done well, with thick spandex or crepe threaded with lycra, and reinforced at the seams – Hervé Léger is like a straitjacket, even Hannibal Lecter couldn’t escape it – he will tame your wobbly locks . You will be tough, as racy as an otter, as impervious as a diver.
Some newer iterations have messed up the formula, with mixed results. I’m not a fan of a tight dress with cutouts – the whole thing is to contain your flesh.
My most recent skintight purchase was a nude Victoria Beckham number; VB is the queen of the squeeze. Everyone comments on it. It even gives me curves, while I’m naturally quite straight from top to bottom.
And unlike Alaia, since Victoria is a woman, it has a very long zip, so you can put it on without becoming a contortionist.
I wore it to meet a man in a bar, and his tongue practically popped out of his mouth. The truth is, the bodycon is back because it’s sexy. It doesn’t matter the price per wear, it’s the price per look!
I hate them, says Imogen Edwards-Jones
Oh no, here we go again. Just when you thought it was safe to stretch out on the couch, crack open another tube of Pringles, and gawk at a little TV, here comes Lord Sugar’s Fembot army all marching on the same drum, dressed in stilettos and nude tights and the ubiquitous skintight dress.
What new hell is this?
Are we back to the 1980s? Do we have a collective flashback to Jackie Collins? The last time we saw this particular combination was during Melanie Griffith’s time on Working Girl, announcing that she had a “head for business and a body for sin.”
Although how anyone can focus on tricky tricks while holding their breath and straightening up is beyond me.
I have to say I’m confused. Surely we had learned by now that no one looked good in a tight dress? Full stop.
They cling, they pinch, they squeeze, they suffocate, they are unforgiving.
Pastry breakfast, baguette lunch, even the tiniest packet of peanuts on the way to the party are all written big for the world to see.
I have to say I’m confused. Surely we had learned by now that no one looked good in a tight dress? Full stop, writes Imogen Edwards-Jones
And don’t think Spanx is your friend in all of this. Yes, they can smooth the belly and lift the behind.
But they can’t do anything about a tight dress because, much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste, the grease has to go somewhere.
On the thighs, on the back, on the front or, in my case, on the side as a double breast under the armpit.
We know all this, but we are still tempted.
For the bodycon – or should we just call it The Con? – is truly a story of hope over experience.
The Apprentice’s Brittany Carter is pictured left while Victoria Beckham is pictured right
I admit that I fell for Zara recently. Sparkling. Money. Sequined. Short. It was like a siren call from the holidays past, exuding fun and youthfulness. And I brought it home.
What a mistake. Will I ever learn? Luckily, I tried it out in the comfort of my own bedroom so no one could hear me scream.
Did I look glamorous? Do I look funny? Did I look sexy? Did I the hell! I just looked like a big, glistening butcher’s choice pork sausage ready for the barbecue.
It makes you dream of last year’s frilly frilly curtains. The neck-length, floor-length shade outfits that allowed us to float, roam, and tumble as we pleased.
We looked presentable and fragrant and perfectly pretty, while half of us were still wearing our tracksuit bottoms underneath.
Maybe that’s the reason for the new Fembot army of Cons? It’s the idea of being perfectly put together, going to the salon, curling your hair, waxing your legs, and slipping into something extremely uncomfortable that makes you so 2022.
However, the Con should come with an age-appropriate disclaimer. If you remember Cindy Crawford working the bandage dress, or Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal, then you should steer clear of the sequined spandex tube winking at you from the High Street window.
Because no matter how superb, smashing and slender your figure is, you are sheep, my friend. Le Con is a young woman’s game.
Photographic research: Claire Cisotti