It’s nearly summer and if you’re like me, you’d love a dress…
*you can grab from your closet that’s easy to wear
*that doesn’t wrinkle
*is cool in the heat so instead of hugging you and making you sweat, it’s loose and encourages air circulation, and
*has sleeves in case you don’t feel like exposing arm flesh every day
Does one such dress exist? Ya, you betcha and I’m going to tell you about it!
My history: I don’t have a lot of luck finding summer dresses that fit me or come sleeveless. I’ll be people-watching and quickly I’m down in the dumps over the parade of dresses that I’d never be able to wear. My girls are queens of dresses. I try to be happy for them. Boo hoo me.
Is there a dress out there for Brenda?
As a brand ambassador for Artful Home I get to look through the catalog and pick something to wear and write about. When I got the catalog in the mail this spring I sat down and paged through it. I saw cute tops, pants, third pieces, and Capris. There were dresses too but I didn’t linger on those. I know me. I know my body. I’d stick to what works.
But then something happened. That spirited, defiant part of myself that resembles a fifteen-year-old sneaking out at night came forward and said, “Stop your whining and pining. You’re getting a dress.”
Well, that was that. She’d spoken. I started over with the catalog pages and looked at dresses. Shortly, I spotted the Isabel Dress by Spirithouse.
It should have been obvious the first time around. It’s plaid. Who loves plaid? Me! It’s a muted gray, black and white plaid. Who loves gray, black and white? I do, I do! The fabric is puckered. Who’s a major advocate for textured fabrics? The BK. It’s lightweight and made from viscose/cotton/elastane. Who’s been dreaming of a lightweight dress? Moi! It’s a summer dress with sleeves. Who wants sleeves? Me and a million other women.
Would it fit?
I’ve tried summer dresses. There’s one I bought last year and I won’t tell you which one. I LOVED it and tried to ignore the waist not being in exactly the right place for me. Does this limit my wearing of it? Oh, yes! But this Isabel plaid dress was accepting of my waist being where it is. In fact, you could have a long torso or a short one and this dress gives you great fit results. You could have full thighs or skinny thighs, be full in the hips or narrow in the hips and this dress would deliver good fit. It’s fit for the masses!
Notice how it’s more fitted in the arms and upper torso but then it opens up and gets wider from the waist down? That shape is spelled h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.
But before we get too carried away with this happiness feeling, we must know: Can it be styled three ways?
I have this 3-way philosophy that I use with separates. But by gosh, I think a dress should meet that standard as well! Let’s see if it does.
Styling the dress for work, at least my kind of work
I could show up wearing this dress with all white accessories. I love the opportunity to wear my white slip on shoes with floral appliqués secured with pearls. This shoes are by Caslon. I got them last year at Nordstrom. I wanted to keep going with the white so I layered my new flea market Mickey Mouse watch pearl pendant and my heart necklace. When wearing something long like this dress, I want to repeat the long line in my necklaces.
If you look at my forearm I’m wearing my button bracelet. Don’t tell the rest of my homemade button bracelets this, but I think this one’s my favorite. The buttons are mother-of-pearl so it ties in with the pearl necklace and the pearls on the shoes. I could easily spend a few hours in this dress working in a client’s closet putting outfits together for her or helping her purge items that no longer suit her.
Styling the dress in a more dressy way
I wanted to see what would happen if I put on my black suede Gabor black ankle wrap sandals. I got a dressier vibe right away. So I added a strand of pearls and my shiny Kate Spade faceted black beads. My arty ring came on and so did my iron Moonlight Cuff (also from Artful Home) with little diamonds. I slung a python print black and white small cross body bag over my shoulder. I’m ready for a date or an event. Invite me to a baby shower, I’m ready. Meeting out-of-town friends for dinner? I’ll wear this! Although I will remember to take my Fitbit off! I like this version. I notice I walk in a more ladylike way when I’m wearing the Isabel dress styled like this.
With the side pockets, I can keep a lipstick and a handkerchief handy. Maybe even one of those little dental floss picks. Things love to hide between my teeth when I eat. Does that happen to you? I could put my whole emergency grooming kit in my pockets! Or just my hands. A dress with pockets! I didn’t even dare put that on my list of wishes.
Styling the dress in a fun, funky go-to-the-Farmer’s-Market way
In this version I’m wearing my black Wellfeet slip ons. Notice how each outfit has started with the shoes? That’s how I styled this dress, from the bottom up. These Wellfeet sneakers live on into their fourth year now. I can wear them for long periods of time, no problem.
I could imagine myself wearing this to the Petaluma Antique Faire and wanting to have a wrap if the wind kicked up. We get lots of ocean and bay breezes here in Sonoma. A girl’s gotta be prepared. So I added my well worn (but doesn’t look it) black linen Eileen Fisher jean-styled jacket. It’s probably three years old.
Do you adore as much as I do the love affair happening between the textures here? My puckered fabric dress is crushing madly with my raffia black vintage framed summer bag. Can you hear the sizzling energy between them?
I love pulling out my Calleen Cordero black leather cuff with the silver metal pattern. I like the width of the cuff as it relates to the width of the plaid print of the dress. The cuff is chunky but the design makes it a little more delicate. It’s a great accent to the dress and pairs well with my arty ring. My leather corded heart pendant is a super summertime accessory. It’s so lightweight. It hardly feels like I’m wearing anything!
Would I wear this on a Saturday to run around and do all sorts of things? Yup! “Come on, Honey, let’s go to Boonfly for brunch and stand outside for forty minutes waiting for our table. Maybe you can take photos of my outfit while we wait.” He just loves that. (Don’t ask him for verification on that last part. But he does love Boonfly!)
I realize many of you out there look fabulous in summer dresses. And really, I am happy for you. Especially now! For me who has a tough time getting one to fit right? Well, I’m really happy! Want to go to lunch? I’ve got a dress! Want to go get an ice cream and sit in the park? I’m there! Want to go to a museum and dinner afterward? I’m ready in my puckered plaid dress!
My daughter Erin took all these pics. (Thank you, Hon.) She went for a creative shot and I’m leaving you with that. I love being framed by my favorite flowers, peonies. That’s me, smiling at you, and thinking about our weeks ahead.
I have to know. Are you a dress person? Are they easy for you? Hard? I’m ready to celebrate and commiserate, whichever. Do share!!
This post was sponsored by Artful Home, a great fashion and accessory resource for women who love style and ease. They care!