Erin and I were invited to a gala black tie event honoring one of our clients. I wanted to wear a dress but knew I didn’t have one I felt great in. I also knew I could easily put together a pant outfit. With no time to shop for something new, my daughter Erin brought me one of her dresses to work one day and tossed it into the back seat of my car. “You love this dress; wear it to the gala!” she said.
Her dress is so fluid, luscious, elegant. I’ve coveted it for some time. If only I could wear a dress like that, I’ve told myself.
But really, what was she thinking? Is she not aware of how different our shapes are? I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that her idea would work.
I’ve had dresses on my brain. Yesterday I shared on the blog my curiosity about the fashion psychology of wearing dresses. I told about my three dress mentors. Just look at them! Are they delighted with their dresses? It sure looks like it. Mila, on the right, puts it in words: “I have to wear this today because I can’t stop loving this dress. I just can’t stop loving it everyday.”
Am I too old to have fun with a dress?
It all seems like a fashion dilemma.
Have I gotten too efficient with my wardrobe that novelty dresses don’t have a chance of being in my closet?
Do you have to be a little girl or a woman in her 20s to wear dresses that are frilly, sassy, or fun?
By the time you’re in your sixties, is that “frilly, sassy, fun” stage over with?
Am I resigned to wearing what matronly ladies wear, those frocks that hide out in the back of their closets for decades?
I took action
I decided to stop with the questions and just aim for the goal: feel as fun and fancy as my three dress mentors.
I started by trying on Erin’s dress. I loved it but I couldn’t wear it like she does. She’s got a very defined waistline. Mine? Not so much.
The mechanics of styling Erin’s dress
Erin wears her dress sleeveless (of course) and tied in the back. I knew I’d be more comfortable wearing a jacket. I tried different ones on but it was the tried-and-true Carmen Marc Valvo jacket that worked. With sleeves just past the elbow and no front closure it was open enough to show the beauty of the fabric in the dress. All other jackets I tried on covered it up too much.
I decided to bring the belt to the front and tie a bow. This is a great trick for making it look like you have more of a defined waistline than you do.
I also made one other change. I tucked the loose neckline of the dress under by about two inches. I wanted the dress neckline to nestle right near the jacket edges.
The dress comes below the knee and I felt I needed to add more height to the outfit to get the right balance. I wasn’t going to wear my 4-inch heels (yes, I still have a pair). I was wearing a modest 2-inch heeled ankle wrapped patent shoe by Paul Green so I could stand for hours. When I added the fascinator, I had all the height I needed.
I kept the accessories to a minimum. With the fascinator, I really didn’t want to overdo it. So I wore a pair of sparkly Alexis Bittar earrings and a bracelet by Alexis Bittar as well. I spotted a Beauty Bundle!
Beauty Bundle Ingredients
- Black fascinator (or not, depending on how casual the outfit is)
- Black Paul Green ankle wrap 2-inch heeled patent pumps
- Long sparkly Alexis Bittar earrings
- Deco looking Alexis Bitter cuff
I could wear this Beauty Bundle with lots of different outfits that don’t require black tie.
The results are in!
I loved our evening at the Ritz. My fascinator was the topic of conversation at our table as well as in the powder room and later in the evening with two young ladies who came over to complement me. Oh, and the hotel greeters and my client and her family, too. It put smiles on faces.
It was no small miracle that I got the image of “only young shapely women can wear fun fancy dresses” out of my mind. I felt great; festive, sassy and actually, like myself–the playful part of myself, especially.
Get this: by the end of the evening Erin said, “Mom, this dress looks better on you than me.”
Guess what’s hanging in my closet now? Yup, THE DRESS. I’m ready for more invitations to come my way. I have to wear this dress some more because I can’t stop loving this dress. I just can’t stop loving it everyday.
What’s your feeling about wearing dresses–fancy or otherwise?