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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Plastirobe  
  A dress that varies in opacity by distance.  

Ed Morris really isn't up to a night on the town after dealing with endless visual ads on the way home from work on Ganymede.

She leaped to her feet. "Let's go out tonight and celebrate. Okay?" Her slim fingers fumbled at the zipper of her shorts. "I'll put on my new plastirobe, the one I've never had nerve enough to wear."

Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she hurried into the bedroom. ""You know the one I mean? When you're up close it's translucent but as you get farther off it becomes more and more sheer until -"

"I know the one," Morris said wearily. "I've seen them advertised on my way home from work..."

From Sales Pitch, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Future Science Fiction Magazine in 1954
Additional resources -

For other science-fictional fashions, check out the biofabric from a 1970 J.G. Ballard story, and the scramble suit from PKD's A Scanner Darkly.

Consider the disappearing dress - an art project created by Helen Storey and a group of artisans.


(The Disappearing Dress [video file])

The garment is constructed of a water soluble polymer. When dissolved the fabric turns into a tiny amount of liquid gel which can be reconstituted into a solid once more or used to grow plants. The dress is a dramatic illustration of how the material behaves.

In a light rain, the disappearing dress would act kind of like a plastirobe - at first opaque, then increasingly transparent.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sales Pitch
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Sales Pitch
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Plastirobe-related news articles:
  - Life Dress Plays Game Of Life
  - Invisible Dress: Your Fashion Future
  - x.pose 3D Printed Corset Has Data Transparency

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