Update: the military ball

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.

help me style this dress

help me style this dress
Dear Readers: Sometimes we all need a little help. Yesterday, I bought this dress from the wonderful Teisha at Betsy Fisher, but now that I brought it home, I am having some angst on styling. Let me say first off that it is very much NOT a “Chelsea dress.” In fact, I hated it on the hanger. But then I got it on my body and it hugs and hides all the right places.
I had on the Chie Mihara’s pictured to the left when I tried the dress on, and they really did bring out some subtle tones from the “racing flames” down the side of the dress. But I may need to wear this dress with black opaque tights. I own a version of the black pump pictured, plus one with more sass and substance (a Dana Davis peep toe that sports a 4-inch heel but half-inch platform).
Maybe it is the addition that tights that is throwing me off. Maybe it is a combination of colors that wouldn’t normally attract me. But I would love your thoughts on (1) the dress; (2) shoe options; and (3) jewelry options.
Yours in fashion,
The Chelsea Chronicles

seeing red

The Valentine's Day Trench Coat

As anyone who has read my posts since I left Beatrix in the dust knows by now, lately I have been embracing color. This is very unlike my typical Northeastern default to wearing black most of the time. Black is usually my go-to color and certainly was the color of choice to camouflage Beatrix those two dark months of back brace confinement. But after ten days of being able to integrate more color into my wardrobe, I can honestly say that I have been pleasantly surprised.

My spirit is definitely a bit brighter when wearing color; I don’t miss that sickly glow that black can often cast on your skin. Don’t worry, I’m sure this is not the end of my relationship with black clothes. I have too many black dresses, sweaters and blazers in my closet to eschew my beloved black forever. But for now, I am obsessed with red.

Recently, the DC metro area has been plagued with a tug-of-war, not between political parties (well,  yes, between political parties) but between winter and spring. And the end result has more often than not been rain. Some days, the rain is accompanied by sticky humid weather. Other days, the rain is cold, steady and miserable. Both types of weather events call for my perfect red trench coat that I bought for myself (from Janna) for Valentine’s Day.

However, Thursday in DC was in the mid-60s and sunny, so the red trench stayed home. But feeling of festive spirit — and knowing I had three sets of drink plans — I pulled out of the closet archives a dress (same cut as linked here but different fabric and slightly different shade of red) I bought from Betsy Fisher a few years ago to wear to the happy hour that celebrated my 40-minus-one birthday (or 35-plus-4, depending on how you like to do your math).

Observation number one: nothing attracts compliments more than wearing red. It never ceases to amaze me how wearing a red dress (or a red trench) captures so much attention. Especially when said dress or trench is paired with the perfect shade of red lipstick (Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Rebelle). More strangers make eye contact. More random people offer you wishes for a good day.

Observation number two: red is empowering. There is certainly no fading into the woodwork when one is wearing red, so you really do have to own it. As one of my guy friends put it yesterday, “you look like a little red sports car in that dress.” People make way for you in a crowd. You get what you want.

Observation number three: I need more red in my wardrobe.

While I still have 9 days left until Lent is overt (I gave up shopping for Lent) I am already contemplating how I can incorporate more red in my life in a way that accommodates the fact that I have a list of home improvement projects to fund. And did I mention that I had to pay taxes? A lot of taxes? As my friend and accountant Kara put it, I need to invest in something other than my pretty clothes and good wine.

I’m guessing she didn’t mean a little red corvette.