I’m a Brand Ambassador for Artful Home. You don’t have to call me Ms. Ambassador, I’m still Brenda to you. As a brand ambassador, I get to page through the latest catalog–in this case, it’s the Winter Collection–and pick something to work into an outfit.
It’s a little bit like being on one of those chef reality shows where you’re given ingredients and then it’s up to you to come up with a winning dish.
This styling challenge brings me outside of my comfort zone
So pretend I’m a contestant on a fashion reality show. I look through the catalog and pick the Peacock Dress. The clock starts ticking.
I’m nervous from the get-go.
Why? If you look in my closet you’ll see solid colors, checks, and stripes but not many (maybe zero) painterly prints. This dress isn’t trimmed in the painterly print; it’s an all-over print.
The next thing that makes me nervous: It’s a mesh double-layered tulle dress. I love mesh and tulle in bits but in a whole dress?
The Peacock Dress challenges my Style Ancestory
I tend to feel more secure in sturdy dresses, dresses with stiffer fabrics. That could come from the classic, formal part of my Style Ancestry. Afterall, I grew up on a farm in North Dakota. You have to be pretty darn sturdy to survive. My parents modeled how to be strong in harsh situations like when the corn crop is destroyed by hail, or rains never come, or there’s too much rain, machinery breaks, the hired hand shows up drunk, and oh yeah, you have to be able to endure some very bad winter weather and mosquitos the size of birds in the summer.
Maybe that’s why I see myself as more yang than yin; being the driver, not the passenger; taking care of rather than being taken care of; being in control rather than going with the flow.
So knowing that about me, listen to this description of the Peacock Dress by Giselle Shepatin:
Painterly strokes and serene hues dance across this flouncy, feminine dress created from two layers of lightweight mesh tulle. Known for her dreamy fabrics and free-spirited flair, Shepatin creates pieces that are flattering, feminine and easy to wear.
Okay, so can you spot the words that are outside my Style Ancestory comfort zone? Yup, feminine, free-spirited, dreamy.
“Feminine, free-spirited, dreamy” are all qualities I want more of in my grownup life. More and more I want to explore what it means to be feminine, free-spirited (less in control) and dreamy. I’ve earned this chapter. It’s my time!
How I styled my two layers of lightweight mesh tulle dress
I’m styling this dress in winter. My first decision is to bulk it up a bit. I’ll slim it down when spring comes along.
The next decision is to belt the dress.
Remember this Calleen Cordero handbag that I wear quite often? It came with a shoulder strap but I don’t use it. I always carry the bag by its handles. I’ve stored the shoulder strap in my belt basket. You know where I’m heading with this, right?
I look through my belts and spot the lovely mushroom brown shoulder strap. It would blend nicely with the print of the dress. My eyes start twinkling. I could make myself so happy by using it in a way it wasn’t intended.
Next, I go to my necklace section and try a few pieces on but in the end I go with a necklace I haven’t worn in a long time. It’s got a chunky-ish gunmetal chain and a violet pendant with a leaf overlay. I love the violet shade with the colors in the dress. Yum.
The wrap comes next. It’s California chilly outside and I need a wrap.
Now, this is interesting. At the very beginning of the fall fashion season, like maybe in July!, I bought this lightweight fluid gray wrap. It’s not a shawl, more like a ruana. I LOVE the color. But alas, I haven’t worn it. I’d taken the tags off already so I couldn’t take it back. I had a “what was I thinking” moment. Really, Bren? Another gray scarf/shawl/what-have-you?
I am SO glad I didn’t take it back because it’s PERFECT! This wrap is lightweight like the dress. I feel dreamy wearing the two pieces together.
Bonus points: Looking at these three pieces without the dress in the picture, you can see a Beauty Bundle being born. In this Beauty Bundle unit the pendant, “belt”, and shawl can easily travel together and transfer to other outfits.
I also want to see what it’s like with a distressed jean jacket. Jean jackets and dresses generally work well together.
This picture looks darker because it’s taken indoors. In the light or in the dark, this is a great pairing.
When two layers of mesh just aren’t enough
While styling the dress, I’m intent on listening to what else it wants.
It says, “More sheerness.”
Okay! I reach for this gray sheer crinkled Petit Pois layering piece. It gives me a layer of warmth under the dress. The weight is great and the colors blend. Picture a black mesh top instead: it wouldn’t work.
Another place I can add sheerness is with fishnet stockings. I choose brown ones (again, black would have been too harsh). I follow that color path and add my brown suede knee-high Aquatalia boots. I feel suede works better than a shiny leather would. It’s softer, more feminine this way!
This outfit is feeling feminine and dreamy to me. Is it hitting that free-spirited note I want to explore? Maybe so! I look at myself in this picture and think here’s a person who has some tricks up her sleeve. She could be spontaneous and unpredictable, ready to go new places and try new things. Would you agree? Do you see something else that I don’t see?
I think the beginning of the year is a perfect time to try something you haven’t tried before. What about you? Have you tried something new? Is there a quality you want to bring into this chapter of your life? We want to hear about it! Please weigh in!
This Anatomy of an Outfit featuring the Peacock Dress is sponsored by Artful Home, a company that supports real women with real bodies…in my humble opinion.