Monday, March 07, 2016

Help me, Internet! You're my only hope.

I'm feeling a little like Jo and Meg March at the moment. Remember when they were freaking out over what to wear to the Lawrence boy's party because they only had one pair of clean gloves between them, and Jo had scorched the back of her dress? No? Just me?

Well, anyway, I'm in something of the same fix, because next month, I'll have three formal events in the same week. Two will be in Washington, DC, and one will be right after I get back to Chicago.

Here's my problem. Three formal events doesn't leave me with enough time to have a dress cleaned. And what if my suitcase gets lost? I'll be stranded in a hotel room, improperly dressed, weeping into my vintage copy of Emily Post's The Blue Book of Social Usage.

So I'm shopping for evening dresses.

I already own one extremely reliable black dress with a matching jacket from St. John knits. It's as dull as dull can be, but it cost more than I'd ever spent on a single outfit, so damned if I'm not going to pull it out and wear it whenever possible. I'll save that dress for Chicago, where there's a good chance that it will still be chilly.

I popped for the matching jacket (not pictured) because it covers my back and arms, which don't look like hers.


That leaves me with the two formal events to dress for, in April, in Washington, DC.

Internet, help me out. I'm posting screenshots of the possibilities that are currently in my shopping cart at Nordstrom--a store I've grown increasingly fond of as I get older.

Among other reasons for this, Nordstrom (rather delightfully) has a category in the dress section of their website called "Mother of the Bride." I may not be the mother of a bride, but I'm certainly old enough to be one. It's a relief to browse there and know that I'm not going to see a lot of abbreviated satin poufs and other prom dress monstrosities. 

As for what I'm looking for, I have the simplest of needs when it comes to evening wear. As far as I'm concerned, a dress only has to:

1. not require anything really adventuresome in the way of a brassiere

2. not bare an unseemly amount of flesh

3. be dry-cleanable.

That last one sounds self-evident, considering what dresses cost. But you wouldn't believe the number of dresses I've seen that are spot-clean only. What are we, barbarians? Is some seamstress stitching her fingers to the bone only to have me wear the fruit of her labors once, then toss it into a landfill? I think not.

Anyway, do me a favor and tell me what you think.



 Oh dear. If this makes a model look a little pot-bellied, what on earth will it do to me?


The back view. Is it just me, or is there something skimpy about this dress? Especially given the price.

I like the abstract nature of the beading on this one--no swirly vines or flowers or anything like that. It's about as tailored as chiffon is going to get.



 OK, this one's a little Downton Abbey. Or Madame de Pompadour. Also, it's sleeveless. But I do like the color. Hmm.


Ah, sleeves. They're a good thing. Also, this dress comes in a lot of colors, some cheaper looking than others.

Opinions?



28 comments:

  1. I love all of them, but #3 gets my vote. It's the color. As far as it being sleeveless - don't you need some kind of wrap with all of them?

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    1. Yes, you do. And of course, I could always do push-ups and biceps curls! non-stop! between now and April. XD

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  2. I think #4 is beautiful and I like it best in the pale blue. #2 is my second favorite. I just love that they're both super fancy but have a bit of sleeve and don't require fancy underpinings.

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    1. Amen. I do have a bra with a very low back that, amazingly enough, I had to buy last year to wear under that St. John dress. It's one of those dealios with the padded, shaped cups that takes two days to dry when I wash it, so I never wear it. But let me tell you, I was panicking between the arrival of the dress and the arrival of the bra, thinking I was going to have to wear the wool-blend knit jacket all night to an event in June.

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  3. I love the last two. But then I am not exactly a minimalist.

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  4. The short sleeves and essentially crew necks on formal dresses? NO. You need either sleeveless or 3/4 length sleeve, for sure. So that cuts out 2 and 4. I like 1, but the slit is a bit long for someone our age, IMO. Looks a tad desperate, you know? #3 would work - beautiful neckline, that's for sure!

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    1. I should follow your advice slavishly, because you are blessed in the chest yourself. I don't care for the slit, but it might end up much lower on me, because unlike a model, I'm not 5'11". And its possible I could have it stitched shut.

      On the other hand, the dress has a bateau neck, which I tend to hate, for awkward bra strap reasons.

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  5. I have never worn a formal gown IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, and at this point am unlikely to break my streak. So this is totally a fantasy game for me, and I'm digging it. I'm also breaking the rules, because I want you to go with Tadashi Shoji. A friend of mine who's a very young 60, with a curvy bod, recently wore T.S. to a formal event; she showed me photos, and it was to die. Plus: lots of celebrity cred. (I follow this stuff, even if I'll never participate.)

    Nordie's carries T.S., but Bloomie's has a better selection, IMO: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/buy/tadashi-shoji

    And Saks is even better, because "Dress Event" (25% off).
    http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/Tadashi-Shoji/Women-s-Apparel/shop/_/N-1z12vcjZ52flogZ6lvnb8

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    1. I love Tadashi Shoji. I have a couple of things by him (eBay is also a good source) and I'll tell you what's genius about him, in addition to the fact that he cuts for curves. His armholes are ever so slightly stretchy, fit my arms, and don't flash even the tiniest bit of side boob or bra. I wasn't thrilled with the TS choices at Nordstrom, so I'll check out Bloomies and Saks. Thanks!

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    2. didn't he do my fave 1 shoudered Princess Di dress?

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  6. Love numbers two and three - elegant and timeless!

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  7. Love #3 (color!) best, followed by #2.

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  8. I like #2 and #4 - and I like 4 in Blue Mist too.

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  9. What about this one in navy? http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/tadashi-shoji-textured-lace-mermaid-gown-regular-petite/3452181?origin=related-3452181-0-3-PP_4-Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2-fbt_similar_items&recs_type=related&recs_productId=3452181&recs_categoryId=0&recs_productOrder=3&recs_placementId=PP_4&recs_source=Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2&recs_strategy=fbt_similar_items&recs_referringPageType=item_page

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    1. It's good in navy. I don't care for the other colors with the nude under layer. On the other hand, I hate bateau necklines, because I have to spend the entire evening with my bra straps around my upper arms.

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    3. That's the T.S. dress my friend wore (but in red: va-va-voom).

      Tip for bateau necklines: those teeny-tiny bra-strap anchors, aka lingerie snaps. I don't know whether Tadashi Shoji gowns have them (see above: never worn a formal dress), but they're easy to apply, if not by you then by your friendly local tailor/dressmaker. http://craftystaci.com/2014/08/13/inside-dress-bra-strap-anchors/

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    4. Navy is definitely my favorite color in that one, plus it's pretty much universally flattering!

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    5. I agree with the idea about those bra strap ribbons, but I think I'll have to get special industrial-strength ones installed. My bra straps laugh derisively at the usual flimsy ribbons.

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  10. No. 2. I agree that No. 1 looks ... well, a little cheap; No. 3 looks "mother of the bride" to me; and No. 4 ... well, maybe in another color. No. 2 appears to be a beautiful blush (very on-trend for Spring) and I like that the waist is only slightly defined (more flattering option that No. 4 with A Belt telling you where your waist should be). Snaps though, Poppy, for NOT shopping for another black dress -- you're my hero for that. :)

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    1. Isn't it weird that the first dress looks cheap? It's the most expensive one. I agree with you about the belt, because like many busty women, I am also short-waisted, and it's very easy for me to look like Ed Grimley.

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  11. I like 2, 3, and 4. Bhldn might have a cute topper for the sleeveless one.

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  12. Have you thought of trying Rent the Runway? The pictures and measurements real women post give an indication of sizing and what to try on, they let you try two sizes, and there is quite an assortment of styles/lengths/sleeves to choose from. And designers galore. I've used them a ton of times for weddings and benefits and galas. Plus I think you get 20% off your first rental.

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    1. That's a great idea--thanks! I'll check it out.

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  13. OK ....do you have "bingo wings" ??? you know .... flapping upper arms???
    If so ..... get a sleeve! LOL
    I don't like no. 1 - don't know why ..... do like the others ...... and I adore your black number!!!

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    1. Of course I have bingo wings--who doesn't??? I mean, other than Michelle Obama.

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  14. I like the last Downton Abbey one. I ADORE a sleeve because you know- covers a multitude of (cheesecake) sins x

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    1. They're all still in my shopping cart, so Nordstrom keeps emailing me. I'll probably do that thing where you order several, then return all but one. Sigh--another trip to the post office ... when will it end? #firstworldproblems

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Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.