Let's keep that photo in mind as we begin.
We start by describing it. As always, there are many ways one can go. Let's try this:
Revision one:
TAP: a floor-length strapless sparkling green gown with peach lace along its slit skirt and deep neckline.

Still hideous, but no problem. Let's try changing the colors. For inspiration, GS4 player Cattriona has an excellent list: http://home.kc.rr.com/gemstone/colors.html

Revision two:
TAP: a floor-length strapless Yavash-red gown with black lace along its slit skirt and deep neckline.

Better. Now it won't burn my retinas with the poor color choice. But that's an awful lot of detail in the TAP. Let's move it around and spruce it up.

Revision three:
TAP: a strapless Yavash red gown with black lace along its plunging neckline
LOOK: A slit at the side of the floor-length skirt is accented with matching black lace, drawing the eye along the length of the gown.

Remember, when you SHOW something to someone, they see the TAP followed immediately by the LOOK, so you don't want to rehash what you've put in the TAP if you can help it.
I added the bit about how someone's going to leer at them by drawing the lace together from two separate locations. The above design has some vavoom, with the plunging neckline.

Let's say I want to do something more demure. I can use the same process and imagine that the neckline is different, or there's some more detail added. I have a list of terms I found in a basic search. http://austinweddings.com/articles/wedding_gown_terms.shtml
Maybe I want different fabric. I can look at http://allaboutfabrics.com/index.htm

So the above picture can also become
TAP: a high-collared green sleeveless gown with a daring slit skirt

Now, let's try to give it some detail specific to Elanthia. Surely your character has a preferred god!
TAP: a high-collared gown embroidered with tiny wrens along its slit skirt

And let's give it more pizzazz.
TAP: a fitted emerald gown embroidered with tiny wrens along its slit skirt
LOOK: The stylized songbirds swoop from the high collar down the length of the dress. At the base, ruby buttons held in the birds' mouths pull the fabric back, as if the wrens wanted to expose the wearer's skin.

Perhaps it could use a little punch-up, but I can think of several bards who would love it.
Summing up, take a real life picture, describe it, change it, DR-ify it (if desired) change it some more, and voila. You've got an item.
Moreover, you can use the same picture to come up with many different designs. Using this method, I created several actual Trevellyn's designs using a J.C. Penney flier that came in the mail. I'm not saying which designs!

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