Operation Chelsea: 24 hours later

Alison did it. She got the guest of a wedding style dilemma dialog going. It’s amazing how I can feel so close to a community of women who for the most part don’t know each other and in some cases don’t know or barely know me. Regardless of whether they are strangers or dear friends, they understood my style needs immediately, suggesting dresses that I adore as well as making suggestions that push my style envelope a little. They were honest when they didn’t like something, and even Kaitlan (the Bride) weighed in.

Since I am on a deadline, I need to start narrowing choices, and today will be about doing that. My goal is to choose three dresses to ship (not keep) to me. From the comfort of my own room I will play twitter (and Facebook) fashion show. The rejects will be returned (even if I love them all) and a winner will be declared. While I know it would be more traditional to gather some locals with a good eye and have a shopping excursion, my schedule between now and the wedding looks something like this:

Today: kids

Sunday: kids

Monday-Wednesday: Boston (no shopping time)

Thursday: New York (no shopping time though wouldn’t it be great to take a later train back and carve some such time out?)

Friday: Kaitlan’s last day in the office (i.e. work)

Saturday until ten days from Saturday: kids

This 21st Century version of brick and mortar shopping will have to do.

I know you are dying to know the top contenders, so here they are:

1. The Nicole Miller Open Back Jersey Sheath Dress: This dress was pinned to my board in a couple of different colors, including this gorgeous red version. In the spirit of full disclosure, I own this dress in black and wore it to the first #BlackChampagne fake funeral event where I first met Alison and other valued pinners in this community fashion building experiment. It feels a tad anticlimactic since I have this dress and know it works, but it’s also a relief to have an option regardless of what happens with the other selections.

2. Navy lace: After getting the blessing of the bride that a navy lace dress is fine even though I happen to know her bridesmaids are wearing navy, this dress jumped to the top of the contender list.

3. Wildcards: I haven’t narrowed down a wildcard yet, but in a nutshell they range from pink and swingy to totally vavavoom (but hopefully not too MILF-y) to channeling the esteemed Jacqueline Kennedy’s classic style. And I still can’t get this one out of my head.

Contributors, you have until mid-afternoon, when I hope to place an order, to bring new options to my attention.

For the moment, I’m burned out on dresses. It’s time to start contemplating shoes.

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birthday suit

In pursuit of a birthday dress

My birthday has been fortuitously timed for the last several years. On the day that marked 40-minus-one, my dad happened to be in town. And since his birthday is the day after mine, it was never a question that we would go out to dinner for a joint celebration. Beforehand, my friends all met up with us for happy hour so he got to meet my people prior to going to dinner.

On the birthday known affectionately as the big one, I happened to be at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. There I turned 40 under the lights and icicles of Tivoli Gardens surrounded by scores of climate-beaten friends. It was 20 degrees. It sleeted. We drank glugg. It snowed. We drank more glugg. We danced to bad 80s music at an Irish bar late-night. There might have been tequilla shots.

It was perfect.

Last year I was feeling a little less festive, but rallied nonetheless for happy hour and dinner. After all, who wouldn’t go out when their birthday falls on a Friday night?

Which brings us to 39 + 3. This year, one week from today as a matter of fact, my birthday falls on a Saturday.

In the continued spirit of serendipitous timing, my friends Tim and Sarah are having a black tie optional party that night. (I don’t know who actually opts for the “optional” given those parameters). So if my last official birthday in my “early” 40s weren’t reason enough, I they provide the perfect excuse to don sequins.

Of course, I am a horrible procrastinator so here it is one week away and I don’t yet have a dress. But here are a few I have my eye on.

Some quick thoughts:

I love the champagne color in theory, but I’m not sure whether it will camouflage with my skin tone too much. The sheath dress in the middle of her two sequined sisters I actually own in a slightly more stony shade, NWT, the victim of last year’s failure to make my office Christmas party due to a horrible stomach flu. I should wear this dress, as technically it is new. But one only turns 42 once. (Well, until next year and the year after that, as I plan to hit the age pause button for awhile.) There is so much fiscal responsibility in Washington right now though that I feel it is my duty to break the miserly mold that is de rigueur.

The plum dress is my perfect shade, but I am afraid it could be a little matronly looking. A definite must-try-before-buy. The blue sequined dress with dolman sleeves is gorgeous, but is the shape right for me? I love the cut out detail on the arms to show off my hard work in the gym, but the body of the dress will either work spectacularly or fail miserably.

The silver is hands down my e-window shopping favorite. I love the combination of long sleeves and a short skirt. But I have to make sure my new Twitter BFF DCCeline isn’t planning on this one for an event we will both be at later in the month, when I intend to get a second wear out of the birthday dress. Black Champagne will be my NYE, and sequins are mandatory.

And last year’s Christmas party dress? Well, I am eager awaiting birthday lunch with my friend Chris. He never fails to take me to the best suburban Virginia has to offer.

Black tie definitely optional.