Monday, 22 July 2013

Best place to put a hook and eye? Under the armpit. Really?

Is it just me or do we need to fund some researchers somewhere to come up with a sensible, non-arm-breaking solution to the underarm zip and hook and eye?

Every dress I buy at the moment appears to have this set up. OK so the dresses are fitted, and fitted nicely. But little ol' me wonders if its possible to move that darn zip and do away with the hook and eye altogether.

A zip straight up the back is, in many cases easier. You can reach around from underneath and pull up a certain distance. Then use one arm to lift the dress up at the shoulders, and grab the zip, from above, with the other arm to continue pulling it up. Even then, if the dress is to fitted, its nigh on impossible to do the zip yourself without damage to arm and shoulder muscles and ligaments.

The zip is bad enough, but just about manageable under the arm if you take a deep breath and try and relax as you pull it up under your armpit risking the possibility (100% certain) that you will snag your own skin in the zip. I assume forensics teams always look for DNA in this location, because it'll be rife.

But then there is also a hook and eye. The assumption is that the designers, though opting for a zip solution, decided that they didn't actually trust said zip and promptly added another fastener. The hook and eye is a fairly straight forward little gadget to work when you have two hands free. They present slightly more of a challenge when you need to hold the material together with one hand and connect the hook and eye together with two hands.

See what I said there? Did anyone spot it? Yes, three hands are required.

So you are on your own, and presumably aren't sporting three hands. So which part of the process is the first to get rejected? The holding together of the material obviously. Helpfully, if you can manage the zip first, this job is already being done. It's a pity, therefore, that doing the zip up is so much easier AFTER the hook and eye. Chicken and egg anyone?

Now lets picture the scene. You are trying on a dress. You need a mirror to manage the various zips and so forth, so lets assume you are using a full length one. Lucky you.

You just about manage the zip and stifle the cry when it snags your skin. Hopefully it's not going to bleed down your side.

Now for that hook and eye.

You lift one arm up into the air (the one under which the hook and eye reside).

You warn the arm you've raised to prepare itself for a long wait.

You then attempt to grab the hook with your other hand.

You manage this, and try and pull the hook over towards the eye.

Using the mirror as a guide, since you can't see the actual eye - it's under your armpit for goodness sake - you pull the hook closer to the eye.

The material moves with it, further under your armpit and the eye moves further away.

You take a breath.

You try again and the eye flips over to face the wrong way making it impossible to hook.

You let go of the hook, reposition the eye, and set about trying again, by which time you are starting to get hot and bothered with one arm in the air.

You try again, over and over, getting more and more frustrated.

You eventually give up on the hook and eye and spend all day worried that the zip will fail, slide down and show off your bra to all your work colleagues before you've noticed. After all, the designers clearly didn't trust the zip so how can you?

After a stressful day constantly checking under your armpit you vow to wear something different the next day.

Day two: a repeat of day one with a different dress.


Seriously? Is it just me?



  1. I have a similar thing, got a dress from H&M last week and it is lovely but like you say above, the body is fitted and guess what the zip goes under the arm. And low and behold right at the top is a little hook and eye! I have just given up tying to do it, I haven't the time in the morning and when at work I gave up! Luckily the zip stayed up all day! :)

  2. I don't bother doing up that hook and eye and its never caused an accidental side boob reveal. I prefer the design where the side zip goes up to a bit that is sewn together under the arm.


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