You remember Lee?
To recap, she was invited to a military ball and was trying to find a dress. The ball was last Friday and here she is in her selection, pretty in purple.
I don’t have the deets yet on how the night went, except that she had an amazing time.
On another note, I know I’ve been silent for a few days. I’ve been focusing on my short story, which I know you’re going to love, but it takes up all my writing energy. So bear with my creative processes, and I promise you shall be rewarded with literary genius.
Or at least a funny tale of… well, I don’t want to give anything away.
Same dress, two different colors. I’m partial to the champagne gown pictured on the right. Lee is partial to its gunmetal sister pictured on the left. Let’s settle it here with an electronic arm wrestle. No, seriously, please feel free to weigh in with your favorite.
(For those who are wondering what happened to the pink over budget dress, according to Lee the material was very delicate and she had already noticed some snags in the fabric, not acceptable for an $800 dress. She was worried about the gown standing up to a cross-country airplane ride, not to mention the prospects of getting multiple wears out of it.)
Ultimately, Lee has to make her own decision based on what she feels most comfortable wearing, but I champagne plan champagne to champagne work champagne on champagne subtly champagne swaying champagne her champagne to champagne choose champagne my champagne favorite.
After hearing my complaint from afar that she did not try on enough color, Lee sent me these never before seen pictures of her in the following gowns.
This fuchsia Badgley Mischka dress is everything I love. It’s playful. It’s young without being prom-y or slutty. It’s mature without being matronly. With alteration of the straps, it would be sexy without being too revealing.
Sadly, it’s double her budget.
Lee dutifully tried on some of the dresses that had been pinned by her team of consultants, with the following results (in her own words):
1. Amsale Back Cutout Gown – the cap sleeves didn’t quite work and it was too plain – very bridesmaidy.
2. BCBG Sophia gown – the material was too plain and bunched up in the back.
3. Tadashi Shoij Asymetrical Pleated – it was very nice, but lots and lots of material. And honestly, it wasn’t sexy enough.
4. Tadashi Shoji Draped Taffeta – it had no hanger appeal (just looked old ladyish) so I didn’t even try it on.
Two other options that are back in her budget stratosphere and still in the running include:
After talking to Lee, it sounds like the middle dress pictured here is in serious contention. She reports it has a nice swing when she walks and it will travel well. But it’s black. Sigh. I’m totally smitten with the pink dress, as is she, perfectly illustrating why people should never try on something outside of their price range. I still plan to lobby for her to find a way to make it work. (After all, lobbying is what I do.)
And I believe people should have those things they most want and love.
Last night, as you may have seen, Lee was able to grab a friend and head to Friendship Heights for a little dress trying on action. As I had other Friday evening plans that I did not want to dispose of, I had to skip the fashionable fun, though I was kept up to date by Lee’s stand-in consultant.
As I sent around previously, here is option number one:
This dress is a great color and cut on Lee, but I have had a few people text me to say they think it could be aging. Now I wasn’t there to see it in person, so I cannot say for sure whether or not this dress has that unintended and dreaded effect. But I do want to issue a general warning to women against making yourself look more matronly with the wrong dress.I know how hard it is to find the right balance between too young and too old, but the perfect dress is out there. I just may take kissing a lot of frogs to find it.
I am told by Lee’s trusty photographer that option number two, the above-pictured champagne-hued dress is gorgeous in person. Kassie Rempel DC shoe goddess and founder of the soon-to-be-launced Kassie’s Closet, weighed in that she liked this dress, and her opinion means the world. I like the color and the one-shouldered cut, but if Lee chooses this option, I want to see her put her hair up. Since she is traveling and won’t have access to her regular hair stylist, my next project might be to find a good “how to up do” tutorial for her.
And last but not least, there was a third option that I did not get a chance to post last night. The color may be a little heavy for summer but I like the cut and can envision the flow as she dances the night away.
There were others tried on that even I haven’t seen. There was color. But these were the favorites. If you have a favorite, please feel free to chime in. If you have an alternative, we will look at that too.
A military ball awaits.
Belle of the Ball? Style Dilemma? Who has time to shop for a ball, even a Special Forces Ball? Oh right. I need to make time. I promised my assistance to Lee. But this week has been nothing short of pressure-filled, and suddenly it’s Thursday without a dress contender in sight. Don’t you hate it when your day job and adult responsibilities keep you from your hobbies?
Lee says her top three dress options thus far are: a Tadashi Shoji One Shoulder Belted Gown that is sadly no longer available; this Jim Hjelm beauty; and the Amsale Back Cutout Gown in a merlot color that would be gorgeous with her hair color. It’s a good start, but my anxiety level might be a little high given that she hasn’t tried on a single gown. Let’s keep in mind my own guest of a wedding style dilemma dress was discovered after many many misses. (To be precise: two online ordered and returned dresses; one unsuccessful visit each to Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales; and two visits and one purchased and returned dress from Neiman Marcus, all before I found the winner at Betsy Fisher.)
Lee is going to have better luck. Lee is going to have better luck. Lee is going to have better luck.
My favorites, sight unseen?
I adore this Dalia MacPhee gown and while I pinned it in silver, the designer informed me that it comes in other fabulous colors too. Last night, a mutual friend pinned this Notte by Marchesa slik-chiffon gown which has an appropriate level of sex appeal. (I hear there is e-flirting going on.) And the dress I’m yearning for is this 1951 Schiaparelli. I know, this exercise is about Lee’s impending ball, not my fantasy one.
But we all dream about being the belle of our own ball.
This week’s edition of Must Have Monday is being postponed in order to bring you this special bulletin. Over the weekend, I received somewhat of an urgent email from a friend I’m going to call Lee. The message read something like this:
Help! I was just invited to attend a military ball out of town in mid June, and I want to wear a fabulous dress. I enjoyed reading about and seeing pictures from your own adventures during the guest of the wedding style dilemma, and I would like to put myself in your hands and be your project.
Devotedly Yours in Fashion,
As it turns out, DC Celine and I have been dying for a good fashion project since successfully finding me a dress for Kaitlan’s wedding.
There’s not a lot of time to act. The event is a Special Forces Ball, and the location is some place not subject to high heat and humidity this early in the summer the way we are here. Lee is a busy professional with an active social life so we’ll have to jump immediately on the project. Her open mind on the specifications of this dress should make her an easy candidate to dress. She wants a floor length gown. Unlike me, she doesn’t have a bunch of absurd rules about what she will or won’t wear. (In other words, she’s open to strapless and one-shouldered options.) And she looks fabulous in bold colors. No black dress is going to win this challenge if I have anything to say about it. Lee also works out regularly and will look good in just about any style of dress.
There will be a Pinterest board: belle of the ball dress challenge. (If you want pinning rights, comment here or send me an email and I’ll add you to the esteemed list.)
There will be a Twitter hashtag: #belleoftheball
There will be shopping (of course) and pictures of dresses Lee tries on.
And at the end of the project, there will be a beautiful dress on its way westward for an evening of dancing with men in uniform. While her relationship with her date is platonic, it doesn’t mean the dress won’t get potential date use some other time when she gets back home.
I’m thinking Inaugural Ball.