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: 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.