accessorize this dress: take two

‘Tis the season to get married.

As I mentioned last night, two women, two weddings, two dramatically different dresses, two requests for help with accessories. While I presented Chani with only two color options for her boldly printed dress, the green dress that Terra bought for her event is open to a whole spectrum of possibilities, even more that I presented here. (Don’t be shy. Add your ideas to the mix.)

Terra is the guest of a wedding in Buffalo, NY next Saturday. The groom is her “best guy friend” and the venue is a winery, though most of the festivities will occur indoors. Terra tells me she plans to wear nude peep-toe pumps with her kelly green dress, which further allows an open palette for her jewelry options. Now, I’m at a tiny disadvantage with Terra because I have never met her. I don’t know her style profile (sexy? girly? sophisticated? daring? conservative?) or what she might already have in her own closet that could work. But with that said, my ideas:

I love turquoise and green together, as if you couldn’t tell by the collage above. In fact, it was hard to limit myself to just one suggestion. (Believe it or not, I edited out some.) I thought of basing my entire recommendation on this color pairing, but I buckled under the pressure to provide options. Just in case Terra hates the color turquoise.

True confessions of a serious color addict: I also love orange and green together, as well as fuchsia and green.

If color-blocking is too bold for Terra, she could wear a necklace and earrings in which the gold features more prominently than the color of the stones. Gold and green are gorgeous together and she could easily deck herself in a multistrand gold necklace or layer a bunch of gold necklaces of varying lengths. Finding the right ones could be a fun project if she likes thrift or consignment stores. Or if she has a box of “vintage” pieces from her mother, grandmother, great aunts.

The main message I want to impart on Terra is that she really can’t go wrong, regardless of what she chooses. This dress is a blank slate and she can make it funky, edgy, pretty or bright.

What’s most important is that she make it hers.

accessorize this dress: take one

yellow or purple?

Yesterday, two different women asked me to help them figure out what accessories to wear with the dresses which they plan to wear to (different) weddings next week.

Request #1 came from my friend Chani, who shocked me in the process by wearing a gorgeous purple dress when we met up.

Me: I only ever see you in black or gray.

Chani: I know! But I was inspired by you to not buy this dress in black.

It turns out Chani went on a little shopping spree, buying the aforementioned dress and a little number to wear to outdoor nuptials in Charleston on July 8th. The dress is from Kate Spade, and it’s a swirl of purple, brown and yellow paisley. She plans to wear nude pumps, and while she doesn’t know this yet, I have the perfect little handbag for her to borrow.

Chani is moving into bold colors slowly, so I created two fairly conservative options for her. (And by conservative, I mean pulling from shades in the dress and not going totally crazy with something offbeat like turquoise.)

Option #1 – Yellow: I like the idea of making this sunshine shade pop. I’d recommend choosing between bold earrings or a bold necklace, but not both. If Chani opts for the earrings, I think she can go sans necklace. If she goes with the necklace, I’d wear a simple stud earring of some variety (and am happy to look up some options).

Option #2 – Purple: Perhaps considered the safer option for someone just breaking into color, these purple earrings both make a statement in their size but are not too dramatic in their shade. I couldn’t find a necklace for under the price of the dress that I thought would work, but if you have suggestions, Chani has the weekend to shop.

Lately, I’ve been into stacking bracelets or wearing one statement-y cuff. I’ve pictured examples of each, but there are a gazillion on the market to choose from in this category.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second styling request, and of course, check in next Friday when I hope to have a picture to post of Chani in her complete ensemble. I’m confident there won’t be a hint of black or gray to be seen.

the day after

Kaitlan is married. The bride was beautiful; the ceremony, heartfelt. Her groom was not highly intoxicated, as was the groom from the 2:00 ceremony, whom we all witnessed make a fool of himself and his bride as they proceeded through the Arch of Sabers while we waited patiently (albeit awkwardly) to enter the Naval Academy Chapel.

They exchanged vows. They kissed. They walked elegantly through the aforementioned arch. And as the afternoon and evening proceeded, the clouds held their rain, and the wine flowed.

I wore the navy last-minute-purchase dress, which seems anti-climactic to write about now. It had, as my friend Sheila described it, a Judy Jetson neckline. It was fitted and sleeveless with this fantastic zipper up the front. And most importantly, I felt amazing in it.

But what fueled me the most (aside from the cosmos and the wine and the champagne and the wine and the beer and the champagne) was being approached by the mother of one of the bridesmaids and being asked when I’m going to write a book. There’s nothing like hearing that someone you don’t know enjoys your writing to make you want to write more. I need those two weeks of solitude to get a jump-start on said book, and I came back from Annapolis determined to find that time.

As Kaitlan and Adam begin this next chapter of their lives together, I will be inspired by new beginnings. I’ll review my 2012 goal board and keep the promises I made to myself and others.

And that is my solemn vow.

 

 

 

 

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.