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Maybe You Won’t Hate These Star Wars Hot Topic Dresses as Much as I Do

I'm old.


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I feel a little bad for griping about Hot Topic’s Darth Vader and Rey-inspired dressy dress ensembles. There’s not nearly enough merch—especially connected to blockbuster properties—that is marketed with women in mind. And I know I’m about 20 years past Hot Topic’s target demographic. But I’m pretty sure 13-year-old me would have had the same reaction: whyyy.

Fashionably Geek has a post on the dresses along with their product descriptions. Let’s break this down.


The “Darth Vader” dress is where most of my ire is centered. This just does not strike me as a dress that can be practically worn anywhere, though Fashionably Geek helpfully suggests it could be considered re: “nerdy options for prom.” Here’s what Hot Topic has to say:

You’ll never want to leave the Dark Side once you slip into this gown! It’s inspired by Darth Vader himself, and is the perfect solution for all your LBD needs. The high halter neck bodice has a gathered elastic neckline with a back keyhole detail and a cloth covered button closure. The fitted waistband is covered in buttery soft faux leather and is accented with silver tone industrial zipper teeth piping and flows into the hi-low hem sharkbite skirt with a pointed peplum detail. An organza overlay skirt mimics the shape of Vader’s helmet and is subtly printed with various ships from the movies.

Granted, I am a cranky old person and that halter neck makes me think I would never want to leave my house in this dress, let alone the Dark Side, but other than the overlay skirt in the shape of Vader’s helmet there is nothing I can get behind here. Also, without the description, I wouldn’t have caught that vital “skirt in helmet shape” detail.

Darth Vader’s costume has so many instantly recognizable visual attributes that this just seems like a missed opportunity. Of course, fashion is very personal and everyone has different tastes and desires, so feel free to tell me that I am wrong in the comments.

They’re obviously going for a certain “Dark Side” aesthetic with the model’s styling here, but I can only think of the South Park goth kids:


(image: Comedy Central)

There’s more hope (sorry) to be found in the “Rey-inspired” dress. First of all, it has pockets.


If you weren’t already aware, pockets are an exceedingly rare commodity in women’s clothing—our pants often feature fake pockets, we dream of more dresses that can hold stuff—and this dress looks pretty comfy. Here’s the description:

Transform into a Jakku scavenger in this Hot Topic exclusive dress from Star Wars featuring an allover tonal speeder print, wrap front, draped open pockets and a wrap belt. “For Rey’s design we focused on practicality and softness. I found my mind wondering what kind of dress I would have worn every day, all day, if I was a kid again running around and scavenging as Rey did for so many years. Easy to take on and off, easy to care for, big slouchy pockets for storing one’s things, the hem ragged because it got nicked on one too many adventures.” —Kelly Cercone (2015 Her Universe Fashion Show Judges Winner)

OK, I take it back; the more I stare at the Rey dress and read about its design inspiration the more I like it. I wish it had a cool double belt like Rey’s instead of the loopy bow thing, but I guess you could double it up yourself. The speeder print is funky. And my brain keeps whispering: pockets!

I think the dress’s practical nature is derived from its association with Her Universe, a Hot Topic subsidiary focused on creating fangirl-friendly merchandise that was founded by Ashley Eckstein, a.k.a. the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Clone Wars. Generally, I’ve found Her Universe clothing to be comfortable and wearable in a way that the Darth Vader dress is … not.

Considering that the Rey dress appears to be sold out from sizes XS-3X, it would seem like the buying public agrees with me. Clothing companies, if you’re pondering your geeky fanbases: kindly create more stuff that we can wear outside, to school, to the office, to cons—and please remember the pockets.


image: Comedy Central

(via Fashionably Geek, images via Hot Topic)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.