Operation Chelsea: the maxi dress

I promised to push the envelop, so I didn’t say no when the sales associate at Neiman Marcus suggested a maxi dress. It was reaffirming to know that my instincts are right.

Operation Chelsea: Strapless

Rules were made to be broken, so I tried on a strapless dress in this great pursuit for a guest of a wedding dress. It isn’t the dress I’m going to buy, but I thought I’d at least share that I was open-minded enough to try it.

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.

 

Operation Chelsea: Dress Reject #1

On Monday, I ordered a David Meister black fitted dress with interesting ruffled detail down the front and a jeweled neckline that looked so pretty on-line. This wildcard dress, not pinned on my Pinterest board, was going to serve as a backup to the navy lace sheath.

Well, it arrived today and it has been declined. The jeweled neckline is, as our intern Marlene described it, prom-y. Frankly, the jeweled neckline looked cheap and the whole thing was just bad. I didn’t even show the bride before sealing it back into the box to go back to its home at Saks Fifth Avenue.

I promised a twitter fashion show, but I don’t want to dignify the dress by trying it on. However, I am happy share this photo of the offending neckline.

Fingers are crossed that the navy lace works out better (and that it isn’t 85 degrees on the day of the wedding).

Operation Chelsea: an order is placed

After much deliberation and internal questioning over my guest of a wedding style dilemma, I went with my gut and ordered the top contender: the dark teal (navy in my book) DVF Zarita Lace Dress. I had also intended to order the dress that was runner-up in my head all day, the red Alice + Olivia Esme Ruched Dress, but then some late night activity had me second guessing this as my sure second choice. By way of backup, the Nicole Miller Open Back Jersey Sheath Dress had been running a steady third place (safety school position) if neither of these options work, but now it has easily slipped to fourth place. (See, Alison, I can depart from my comfort zone.)

What dress has jumped ranks to grab my attention? The Black Halo Alexandra Sheath Dress, pinned by two contributors, Elizabeth, a childhood friend I haven’t seen in probably 20 years (but she gets my style nonetheless) and KC, my DC fashion crush for her gorgeous yet effortless chic.

How did I narrow down 79 pins (with a few repeats) to a handful of dresses?

First I eliminated silhouettes that I didn’t think would be totally flattering on me (though I appreciate the aesthetic of the pinners who thought they would work on my frame). And while a number of orange dresses were presented as options, the shade didn’t feel right for the occasion. (And remember, green is my new orange.) I considered for about 45 seconds a totally budget-busting option suggested by Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen, but the financial planning gods mercifully ensured it’s no longer available in my size. (Although their rivals, the fashion gods, did in the process lead me to my future second wedding dress, if I ever go down that road again.)

I thought for a long time about the Xscape Ruffle Collar Stretch Satin Sheath Dress but I was afraid the taffeta combined with the style was too bridesmaid-y. I’d have considered it if I could have also bought these ridiculously out of the question shoes to go with it. Of these Prada pumps the financial planning gods would most certainly not approve.

Operation Chelsea: interesting side note

Yes, I check out how many hits I get on my blog. I still get excited when the number tops 100. This figure might be abysmal to a quote-unquote real blogger but given that I write for fun, don’t have regular columns and routinely let myself be overtaken by writer’s block, busy schedules, and fatigue (in other words, I’m undisciplined) seeing the proof that I have any readers is affirming.

Sometimes, in addition to looking at the hard numbers, I also check out what search terms bring people to my blog. I like to see it when “chelsea chronicles” appears; it’s good to know not all readers happen upon me by accident or through Facebook. Other popular search terms that direct people to my blog’s door are lillybee orĀ  lillybee sizing, kate spade scout (I think I wrote about this purse a lot last summer) and even back brace styling.

As I sat down at the computer this morning to check out any additional dresses or comments that might have been posted to the guest of a wedding style dilemma board on Pinterest, I decided to check out my blog stats. Today’s stats page revealed that of my four readers thus far, three were directed to me by Facebook and one from a search engine. Imagine my surprise when, only one cup of coffee into the day, I scrolled down to see that the search term used was: milf gallery hot baby.

Do we think the googler of this phrase was disappointed in what he/she found? Of these four readers, three read Operation Chelsea: 24 Hours Later and one read Operation Chelsea. Was Mister milf gallery hot baby (yes, I am going to assume it was a dude) sorely disappointed to find a discussion of what to wear to a wedding? How many results pages deep did the guy have to go to find my blog? Out of curiosity, I ran the search myself and five pages in (which is much farther than I ever go in any Google search) my blog still hadn’t appeared. Was the mention of one dress being potentially too milf-y all it took to even register?

For those looking for a dress update, I didn’t place any orders yesterday. A combination of the flurry of late afternoon Pinterest activity, having two extra kids stay the night, and a complete and utter lack of decisiveness waylaid my intentions.

You (and Mr. MGHB) will just have to wait.

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.