must have monday: nude pumps

I know this seems like an overstatement of the obvious to anyone who owns a pair (or in my case, multiple pairs) of nude pumps and/or wedges, but I get asked all the time, “what color shoes should I wear with this?”

The answer to that question can always be nude.

I wear nude (or its sister shades of blush, clay, and beige) with any and everything. Are you one of those people who tries to match the navy blue of your suit/dress/skirt to a navy pump? It’s impossible, so give up and get a nude pump or wedge to wear with your navy ensembles (save your navy shoes to wear with green). Do you wear black shoes with red? Unless you are color-blocking or mod, please stop. A nude shoe looks so much more sophisticated with a red dress. I even wear nude with black so as to elongate the leg and not look too funeral-y. They even work with jeans (but no floating hems, please).

Luckily for us, nude shoes have saturated the market, so you really can find one at any price point and in a variety of subtly different hues.

My current favorites are the Mai suede wedge in tan from SimplySoles, but I also have my eye on the Platswoon in adobe. Piperlime has pages worth of results if you plug the right coordinates into their search engine, including the Flax in light natural. When in the dressing room ready to model options for the guest of a wedding style dilemma, the cunning women at Neiman Marcus let me try on dresses with a gorgeous pair of nude patent leather Prada pumps that I have spent way too much time daydreaming about the last 48 hours.

This particular shoe might not fall into the “must have” category but they are squarely on the “will lust after” list.

the reveal

I do believe I promised that yesterday was decision Saturday and that I would be forthcoming with my dress selection. Did Team Poppy win out over Team Black Lace with their heaps of praise over the color, their insistence that the Sarita Tulle Lace is more wedding appropriate and their argument that black is too somber for a May wedding? Or did Team Black Lace prevail with their promise that the Zarita Lace is timeless, more elegant and can be a closet staple for years to come? Maybe a dark horse emerged, something that missed my eye when I was shopping the other day.

I know I made a promise, but sometimes promises are cruelly broken.

I did buy a dress yesterday, but I’m not going to reveal which one. I will tell you that I’m going to wear nude pumps. I will tell you that I’m in need of a clutch. I will tell you that I haven’t decided on jewelry yet. But if you want to see pictorial evidence of the happy ending to the guest of a wedding style dilemma, tune in next Saturday, May 5th. My morning starts early at Michael Anthony Salon where Mickey either will or won’t cut my hair short again, then continues on to Annapolis, where I hope to check in early so I can change into the mystery dress before heading to the Naval Academy chapel for Kaitlan and Adam’s special event.

The suspense is maybe not quite as high as it was one-year ago today when the world caught first glimpse of what dress Kate Middleton chose to wear to wed Prince William. But one element will be the same at Saturday’s nuptials.

There will be lots of men in uniform.

Brick and Mortar Shopping

Taking a step outside my comfort zone.

One would think that the buyers for Saks, Neiman and Bloomingdales would have heard that 40 is the new 30 (ten years after 30 was the new 20).

But their dress selection does not suggest such.

During a brick and mortar excursion for the guest of a wedding style dilemma, I was struck at how the high end department stores offered two types of cocktail dresses: frumpy or slutty. (Honestly, the same could be said for their bathing suit collections.) One would think grandmothers and their teen granddaughters are their only demographic. It leads me to ask: who’s looking out for the urban professional woman in her late 30s/early 40s who works out, has a good (but not absurd) budget for clothes and an excellent sense of style?

Apparently those buyers shop for boutiques.

My goal is certainly to look amazing at this wedding, not ridiculous. The so-called flirty styles are garments I would look askance at a 20-something for wearing. (Just to clarify, I’m not a prude. I believe in flaunting assets. I just don’t believe in flaunting all the assets at one time, except in the privacy of your own space.) On the other end of the spectrum, heavy lace, too much adornment and not enough skin exposure are the dominant features of most available dresses. I struck out at Saks. I tried on one subpar dress at Bloomingdales. I had luck only at Neiman Marcus and even then, the only designer who had remotely appropriate dresses was DVF, which I’m thankful for, but I was hoping for better variety.

I made the best of it. I broke my rules to try different styles. As you have seen the pictorial evidence of, I tried strapless. I tried a maxi dress. I tried this horrible flowy dress pictured here that is best described as the female version of something Hugh Hefner would wear (in other words, it felt like boudoir attire). I could only envision myself wearing it with feathered slides, surrounded by heavy velvet couches and drapes, maybe a whip in hand. It’s a dress for “entertaining” at home, not a dress to wear to a wedding. But I’m determined to leave my comfort zone with increasing frequency moving forward, and you don’t know how you are going to react until you try something new.

As you have now read, I’m struggling between two dresses, the poppy flower shift and the black lace shift. The black lace is more forgiving of those pesky trouble zones and has an elegance that is timeless and could be worn in three seasons. Plus it has this totally edgy zipper all the way down the v-shaped back to give it a departure from funeral garb. The poppy is happy and colorful and exudes a retro vibe. But would I only wear it once so as not to hearĀ  “here comes Chelsea in her poppy dress again.”

Needing to sleep on the decision before making a purchase, I return this morning for another round of trying on these two options. I’ll be equipped with the correct underpinnings, the right shoes, and most importantly, the invaluable input of my trusted social media advisers.

Operation Chelsea: Dress Reject #2

Sigh. I didn’t expect it to happen this way. But then again, my predicting the future track record hasn’t been super accurate lately so I should have known better.

The navy lace Zarita dress by DVF was a big bust.

Initially, when I pulled it out of the box, my first reaction was pretty. But my second reaction (and the one that stuck with me) was matronly. I know dresses can look different on the hanger than they do on the body, thus I was willing to give it a shot. But in person the combination of the long sleeves, below-the-knee length (I want to show some skin) and the safe color lend it an older woman aura.

Not to mention, the lace on the bodice near the neckline was snagged from where the garment tag rested during shipping. Bad packing, Neiman Marcus!

So, if you aren’t yet sick of my self-centered posts about dresses, stay tuned for the fashion show I hope to share with you all this weekend.

I promise to show some skin.