Gail the Goldfish (my favorite goldfish) gurgles: I'm going to a wedding in Chicago in early November and realized since I've been wearing the same dress to every wedding I've been to for the past 3 years, it might be time for something new. The ceremony is mid-afternoon, reception starts early evening at a pretty fancy venue. Dress isn't specified, so I'm guessing cocktail? I'm pear-shaped, about a 2 on top and 4/6 on bottom, would prefer to keep it under $150 or $200. Greens and blues are favorite colors (I'm very pale). I'm a big fan of the 1920s/art deco look, so bonus points if you can find something that looks Great Gatsby-inspired but not a costume, even if it's just an accessory.
Fall has become the new, hot wedding season (sorry June, you're out, October is IN.) I know this because *I* got married in October, thinking naively that it would be LESS popular - ha - was I proved wrong. Of course, since fall foods, fall colors, and fall weather are all my favorites, I was still fairly pleased with my decision. That being the case, Gail - I strongly doubt you are the only reader of this fine blog going to a wedding or three in the very near future. And though I handled wedding guest dress styling recently, I haven't done a dress post yet for this fall. What an omission! So here's what we're doing in this post - some of these dresses will be specifically for your request [i.e. Gatsby inspired dresses for a fancy evening wedding in Chicago].* I also assume that, if not specified otherwise, this wedding is likely fancy cocktail attire. And some others will be intended for more general appeal - in a range of dressiness. I will try to specify which ones are meant for you, but hopefully you will be able to figure it out. :-)
*When I say that I'm assuming the dress should be a dress for an evening wedding, I generally assume the dress you wear should jive with the time the reception starts and not the ceremony. As a Catholic, my ceremony was several hours before my reception (which was a dinner reception) - and most Catholic ceremonies will be the same way - because there are Saturday evening masses that conflict with having an evening ceremony in a church (and all Catholics have to get married in a church.) Hence what we fondly refer to as the "Catholic gap."
Now moving on from my little digression and on to the dresses!
| |Eliza J Beaded Satin One Shoulder at Nordstroms
($148 - I usually do not like satin at all, but something about this red satin number really does it for me, I think its the ruching [which seems insanely flattering] combined with the beading and the interesting back makes this dress very appealing. Plus the color is beautiful.)
| |T by Tadashi Off the Shoulder Bandage Dress at Nordstroms
($138 - I've recommended this here before, but I think this simple, off the shoulder bandage dress would make a great wedding guest dress. Probably its biggest drawback would be that it would make many traditional bras difficult, but a strapless bra really isn't that hard to come by, now is it? It comes in several great colors, including this royal blue.)
| |David Meister Ruched-Front Cocktail Dress from Neiman Marcus
($142 - This green dress would likely be really flattering on a pear shape. It might be a wee bit casual for your wedding Gail, but with the appropriate shoes and blinged out jewelry (I'm thinking gold gold gold) I think it would work - the lace on the back is a nice touch. Plus the green is lovely and its a killer deal.)
| |Lauren by Ralph Lauren One Shoulder Gown in Cottage Plum at Bloomingdales
($180 - This is got really for you GtG, but for my readers who have formal weddings to attend, but don't want to break the bank to do so, I love this Ralph Lauren gown. It's simple and sleek, but still special enough to work for a black tie event. And the purple will make it stand out from the sea of black. Add a belt and you really have something interesting.)
| |Vince Camuto Faux Leather Detail Sheath Dress at Nordstroms
($178 - this dress may be veering a bit towards work for a wedding, but with appropriate accessories I think it can be directed back towards wedding. I also think its a truly spectacular fall color and [as on the model] would look great on a very pale person. Paired with other jewel tones and gold jewelry it would look really beautiful.)
| |Aqua Dress - Angelina Beaded Tank in black and silver at Bloomindales
($158 - I like this tank dress with the shiny teardrop design for the Gatsby type theme you wanted [though I haven't seen the actual movie.] There are a couple of concerns; it may be a bit short depending on your preference and you might get cold, but a wrap should help with that. There is
also a grey and gunmetal version, but I worry that it is too close to white for a wedding. I would pair this with some colored accessories, maybe, to bring some interest to the dress - but I'm not sure what colors quite yet. I've seen some other version of this same dress, like this one for instance
, that are much cheaper - but they also tend to LOOK much cheaper. I like that this one looks to be high quality and classy.)
| |French Connection Dress, Lily Jaquard at Bloomingdales
($228 - though with the sales at Bloomies right now, you should be able to get it for under $200. I think this dress, which is in many ways utterly modern, also flirts with the shape and attitude of the 20s-era Gatsby dresses with the lower neckline and the feeling of a slightly slinkier tank dress. I might just be imagining that, but I also just think its very pretty and would be a great go-to dress for many types of events. It would also go great with tons of accessories. There are lots of similar dresses out there, but this is my favorite I think. If you would like to see some of the similar dresses, follow this link to the "google shopping" search
for this dress - which shows similar dresses at other retailers.)
| |Tadashi Shoji V-Neck Trim Fit and Flare Dress at Nordstroms
($198 - this dress, or ones very much like it
all have great reviews at Nordies and strike me as a great dress to wear to lots of weddings and events for years to come [a little special and interesting but unlikely to become dated.] This is one of my favorites though because of the v-neck line instead of the boat neckline that many of them have. I also LOVE this one - but it is tragically well out of the budget.
| |Ivy & Blu for Maggy Boutique Pleated Jersey Fit and Flare Dress at Nordstroms
($148 - for those of my readers looking for a simple, go to cocktail dress for networking events or weddings that hits the middle on the dressiness level, this dress might be perfect. It comes in the three hottest colors this season (and three of my favorite colors for that matter): fuchsia ("acai"), "bright purple", and turquoise. I bet it will also go on sale though - if you wait long enough (though popular sizes may go quick.))
| |Pim + Larkin Embroidered Shift Dress on Piperlime
($69 - I like this shift dress and I think it could be dressed up enough with blingy jewelry, either in silver or gold [or better yet - copper or bronze] to work for any cocktail-type wedding. My only hesitation for you GtG is that I'm not sure how shift dresses work for pear shaped women? But it is very pretty.)
| |Diane von Furstenburg Raquel Knit Sheath Dress at Nordstroms
($175 - I sort of love that this dress [also available in navy blue and black] is like the ultimate blank slate. You could add basically any accessories to this dress (belt, long necklace, short necklace, layered necklaces, crazy shoes, bracelets, literally anything) and it would work. Or you could add minimal accessories and it would be clean lines for a low-key cocktail affair. Throw a leather jacket and moto-boots over it and your ready for a night on the town with the girls.)
| |Tadashi Shoji Mixed Media Fit & Flare Dress at Nordstroms
($348 - this dress is tragically well out of your budget GtG, but I am putting it up here for any of my other readers who might be looking for a little black dress with a different take [whose budget can handle this.] I actually love the cap shoulder and back detailing of this dress and, while I usually don't love lace, I think its very well done here. If I had the budget, I'd definitely want to check it out.)
| |Calvin Klein Pleated Dress at Piperlime
($128 - I like this vertical black and white striped dress (it looks a little blurry when small, but when you make it bigger, it looks less headache inducing.) You very rarely see vertical lines so this is unique and fun. Probably flattering as well!)
| || |Ark & Co. Paisley Dress at Piperlime
($79 - this has turned into the black and white print row - but I regret nothing. I think a pretty black and white print dress is a great alternative to the little black dress we all have in our closets. This paisley dress is lovely and I don't know why but I just LOVE a good paisley. Is this something that is passed in utero from our mothers? I don't know - because I'm not even sure my mother LIKES paisley...)
So Gail, and everyone else, I hope those ideas appeal to you! Do you have a "wedding uniform" you wear to every wedding? How often do you update it? Have you bought any dresses this fall for weddings? If so which ones? Leave a comment in the comments below!
READERS NOTE: before I jump back in....OMG....I'm here. I know. I keep disappearing for prolonged periods. I'm sorry. Its a combination of work, my health, and August being...well....August. Hopefully as fall approaches (my absolute favorite fashion month - bar-none) I will be re-motivated to post much, much more frequently. But in the meantime, I apologize profusely. Now, moving on from self-flagellation...unless you're into that sort of thing...this post IS about leather after all.
Hello TCFKAG! I have followed you on Corporette and have a question for you. I am seriously loving leather pencil skirts for fall, but am overwhelmed by the options. I was wondering if you had any suggestions. I'm looking for black leather, or vegan leather, knee length and pencil skirt. I can't decide if it should be all leather, or with leather accents, or what. I work in a business casual environment, but it's not exactly a creative place and I wear mostly traditional things. This would be a bit of a fashion risk for me, so it has to look super professional! Just leather :) I'm a 4-6 or size 27, I'd like to spend under $200. Thank you!
Wow! Are you the REAL Blair Waldorf. You can tell me, I'll never tell. ;-) xoxo. Anyway, I'm totally with you on the leather pencil skirt train - I like them, I think they look cool and just a touch edgy, but....then....the little birdie on my shoulder that annoyingly reminds me that I'm a *grown-up* with a *grown-up* job rears its ugly head and I wonder. Should I REALLY be trying to make leather pencil skirts work for the office? My concerns are really two-fold. On the one hand, I don't want to look like I am a young professional who can't tell which "fashion" trends ARE appropriate for the office and which aren't (like, I don't care if you wear your formal shorts with heels to as many dates as you want...still don't think they belong in the office.) Plus, from a practical standpoint, I can't help but think that these things are going to be a bitch to clean. So as you can imagine, I've been giving it some thought. In my struggles, I think I've come up with a couple of general rules of thumb (at least for myself)
So with those general guidelines in mind....ON TO THE PICKS.
- If the skirt is black, I think the leather should only be accents, since to me black leather is by its very nature a bit more "tough" even in pencil skirt form,
- If the skirt is another color, it can be all leather - possibly - but it needs to be otherwise very, very traditionally styled,
- Only one piece of leather accented wear per day. At no point should you look like you're dressed up as Biker Lawyer Barbie for the day.
- And finally, do *not* spend too much money on leather workwear. I think its going to become a dated trend quite quickly for most of us and....frankly....I think the cost-prohibitive nature of cleaning them is going to make them impractical pretty quickly.
Worthington Leather Pencil Skirt at JCP
($98.99 - a straightforward black pencil skirt - though the picture looks brown to me. I like it though because, rather than being too tight or too shiny, the seams and zipper dress it down enough for me to make me think that it would be more work appropriate than many others I saw. One note, based on the info on the website, it does appear to be real leather.*
)Vince Camuto Faux Leather Trim Striped Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($89 - this skirt falls on the less is more side of the leather camp - but I think the stripes give it some interest as well. It also comes in red and black. I like how the side and waist piping in leather gives just that bit of edge that the less adventurous might be looking for. Paired with either a simple black button down or perhaps a very light, silk deep burgundy button down, I think this would look amazing for fall. Plus emerald and darker greens are SO in this season. But for work, PLEASE do not pair it with high heeled gladiator sandals...just for me okay ladies. :-P)Exact Stretch Studded Trim Pencil Skirt at The Limited
($69.95 - so this skirt obviously takes the idea of leather trim and one ups it by adding studding. I'm not sure how I feel about it other than....intrigued. For a skirt that involves STUDDED LEATHER, its surprisingly lady-like. And the price is right - even if you only wear it on nights out. I don't know - might be worth a look see. Again - everything else would have to be very primly styled - perhaps a gray shell with a black blazer?)
Riverside Colorblocked Pencil Skirt from Ann Taylor
($109 - I have to say - I really LOVE the color of this skirt, this darker merlot is right on trend and would work beautifully to mix with the other on-trend seasonal jewel tones (like eggplant and teal.) I also think the color-blocked side panels serve a practical purpose here - leather can be constricting, but with these side panels you can be allowed greater freedom of movement. And I think the merlot color gives this an overall more refined look. Its definitely one of my favorite for the "full" leather effect out there.) Leather Waist Pencil Skirt from Neiman Marcus Last Call
($69.00 - most sizes still available.
This is a Labor's Day Sale. Okay - I think this is the PERFECT execution of leather in a work skirt - the contrasting color of the leather adds interest and brings attention to it but it remains classy. Plus mixing brown and black is fashion forward without being too aggressive or "weird." You won't scare any of the older employees at your office, but the younger employees will think you're cool. And I like the cut of this skirt for people who don't look good in traditional pencil skirts. A real consideration for people looking for leather accents!! Its even available in most sizes.)
Bailey 44 'She Walk in Beauty' Faux Leather Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($196 - so this is at the very top of your price range, which is a bit steep for something that is likely a trendy item - but I *do* love me some navy. Again, much like with the AT skirt above, the side panels would allow for movement but here there is no colorblocking, which I know some would prefer. On the other hand, I actually like the seam on the front of the AT skirt above. I think the differences add up to a taste preference more than anything ... as well as a $100 price difference of course.)Classiques Entier Leather Trim Jacquard Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($178 - so, if I had to guess, I would guess that you are going to be seeing SO much jacquard this season that you may get royally sick of it. But I really like this version with leather trim at the hips and pockets. Another example of just a little leather rather than a lot, but jacquard will never go entirely out of style - so I think this skirt might have real staying power, meaning that the price tag might actually be worth it. And Classiques Entier is a fairly decent quality line. Try pairing with a dark emerald green to be so on trend you might explode.)ASOS CURVE Exclusive leather pencil skirt with jersey trim at ASOS
($89.44 - so sorry Blair, this one isn't for you, but I wanted to highlight this for my readers who shop in the women's section. ASOS CURVE has a few cool looking leather skirts right now, but I like this one as a potential work skirt - the color is more neutral than black and if you perhaps go a size up (to avoid too much cling - don't no one want cling at work) I think it could look great. Plus, again, the jersey trip would allow for movement. A nice option! P.S. The skirt also comes in black if you're into that sort of thing.)
*FINAL EDITOR'S NOTE: I haven't specifically addressed it in this post, but the plus side to your budget is that essentially all of these options are faux leather - so your concerns about vegan options are likely moot. In any case where the leather was not faux, I would have noted it.
So dear readers (if I have any left after my prolonged absences) - would you wear these skirts to work? What do you think about leather in the workplace. What does your WORKPLACE think about leather in the workplace. Or am I just really uncool and is leather totally okay. Its okay, you can call me a fuddy-duddy, I go to bed 9:30 most nights. I have embraced my fuddy-duddiness in all its glory. LEAVE NOTES. SEND MESSAGES. I'm happy to be back and need motivation to stay back! :-)
I have been absent from this blog for an unacceptably long time - I am aware. Unfortunately, my health has been...not good over the last month. But I am hoping to have an upswing soon. Today I was inspired by a black and white polka dotted dress
I saw in Boden's daily e-mail advertisement - reminding me of my favorite pattern and one of my favorite dress shapes, the belted sheath. I am also a fan of this particular neckline, which allows you to wear either statement jewelry *or* a pendant - but still maintains a mostly modest high neckline (especially for those smaller of chest.)
Now - having found such a terrific dress - I thought I'd go about styling it three ways. One for pure fun, one for a more "sexy" date night or night out with the girls, and one for work. But we'll go in reverse order - most demure to least demure. ;-)
Styling it for work
BP Moveover Pointed Toe Flat at Nordstroms
($49.95 - red is so often the color of choice with black polka dots ... and don't worry, it'll make an appearance down flow, but for work I was thinking about keeping things a bit sleeker with patent, pointed toe black flats.) Franco Sarto Instinct at 6PM
($47.99 - Recommended for those more interested in heels - I think the Mary Jane cut gives it a dash of vintage, but the pointed toe and angled block heel keeps it firmly rooted in the present - and comfortable for work at that.)Fornash Enamel Bumble Bee Bangle Bracelet in black and gold at SimplySoles
($25 - again going a bit against expectations here - I like using a simple palette of black and gold to keep the outfit relatively neutral - while adding a bit of a wink with the bumble bee motif on the bracelet to acknowledge that the outfit is still fun and youthful.)Studio Silver 18k Gold enamel Carnelian Pyramid Pendant from Macy's
($37.50 on-sale - finally, I've added a bit of color to the outfit, but again - I think - not in the way people expect. When wearing polka-dots, most expect colors to be bright and bold, but I think tempering that and bringing it in a bit in a more controlled way gives the outfit a more refined look. I really like these three items together for a work accessories plan for this dress.)K. Amato Fan Teardrop Earrings in black and gold at Designs by Stephene
($47.50 - a perfect match for the bumble bee bangle, but also incredibly reusable in their own right - I like these earrings a lot as a basic workhorse for any wardrobe - or at least a workhorse with some edge to them.) Giani Bernini 24k Gold over Sterling Silver Diamond-Cut Teardrop Leverback Earrings from Macy's
($110 - honestly probably a bit much for this particular outfit, but so pretty I couldn't resist recommending them. They'd certainly keep the outfit in the really focused black and gold world. I love them just as they are, as single pieces of jewelry.)
Styling it for a night out with the girls - bright/vintage fun
Faceted white bead vintage necklace from etsy seller Bonnie's Vintage Attic (
$29.95) or again for those preferring a more mainstream retailer Panacea Epoxy Flower Necklace, White at Cusp by Neiman Marcus
($45 - I *like* a white necklace for this [to be honest, its inspired by a vintage white chunky necklace I inherited from my aunt - it gives the look a vintage fun feel for summer without relying on many of the tropes that people frequently do with black and white dots. White, other than pearls, is really an underutilized color in our jewelry lexicon and I think it would look great with this outfit.)Ceramic Studs - yellow lemon dots - by etsy seller Hermoosa
($24.95) or for those who prefer more mainstream retailers Kate Spade New York stud earrings in yellow and white at Nordstroms
($34.80 - now 40% off - I love the bright vintage lemon yellow and white with black and white polka dots in the summer. And I personally prefer studs - though there are lots of fun chandelier or teardrop options out there too.) Now, if based on these earring suggestions you really wanted a yellow necklace idea, you might consider this one from Dillard's
- though I'm not convinced about the starfish accents. Bruno Premi in emerald green at Yoox
($59 - I know that a green shoe is a bit different here - though not totally out of nowhere since green and yellow go so well together - but I love these sandals [the block heel would be good for dancing and walking but they still have that sexy look] and I think adding a kick of green at the bottom of the outfit would be just what the outfit needed. Though for those of you who prefer a wedge - and are a lucky size 9 - these Butter wedges
might be just the thing for you. If, however, you were worried about the shoes being the only green in the outfit, you could consider something like this vintage bangle I found on Etsy
(pictured above) that works in both green and yellow - as well as a few other colors - and would be a great way to work the shoes and the rest of the jewelry together into a cohesive whole ($5 used at Sissy's Touch of Grey.)
Styling it for a sexy date - finally - here's the red!
As way of introduction - I feel like you can either go with reds or cobalt blue here as a theme for your accessories (if you decide not to go straight black ... which you can but would overlap too much with my above posts so....). So For each of the items I'm suggesting to style for date night, I'll recommend something in fire engine red and cobalt blue. Pro-tip though, I wouldn't wear ALL blue or red, I'd wear say red shoes and red earrings - but maybe a silver or gold necklace, just to mix the color up, but I'll leave the mix up to you! And whichever color you pick, make sure to bring it on the bright red lip!
Louise Et Cie 'Scorpio' Peep Toe Pump at Vince Camuto
($69.99 - there are as many red peep-toe pumps as there are people in the world, but this one is different and special while still looks like it would be comfortable. It is a textured fish-scale leather in a bright red and the heel and toe accents are dipped in gold enamel. It is under 4" in height. I love that its an elegant and different take on the classic red pump.) If you're interested in close-toed shoes, consider the Adrienne Vittadini Cecilia Pump in Red at Belk.Kamalikulture Zaylie Sling Backs in Cobalt Blue at Zappos
($69.99 - definitely hot looking - the reviews are mixed with some concern about the strength of the sling though. I think it would be okay for a sometime shoe maybe? If you're looking for a more traditional cobalt pump though - perhaps consider the Guess Rolene pumps on sale at 6PM right now
- they look pretty good.) Gold Wing Earrings found on Shoptiques from Langford Market, Texas
($12.90 - okay - the shipping on these is absurd because, well, they ship from a little boutique in Texas - but I feel I would be remiss if I did not share these awesome earrings with my dear readers! So here I am, sharing. They also come in a green and gold that is cool too.)Orion Teardrop Earrings at Nordstroms
($15 - I may or may not have done this whole red or blue thing just because of these earrings. I love these earrings. God. Earrings like these make me wish I could pierce my ears.)Akuamarina Silver Leaf and Murano Gold Round Pendant Necklace at Forzieri
($70.40 - I know I said I'd stick with red, but this gold murano glass pendant goes so beautifully with this look that I couldn't help it. Seriously, I love this necklace. If you do want red - this version of it is red
and this other murano glass necklace from the same company
is a beautiful, fun red and yellow necklace (might go great with the look above this one as well). House of Harlow 1960 Plectra Pendant Necklace in blue on Zappos
($60 - so this is designed to be opera length, but I think you can make it shorter to be worn around the neckline of this dress. And I love the color and the way it would go with these earrings. Its pretty cool!)
Okay - since this post is already getting out of control a bit, I'm going to leave it there - though I think if I WERE putting together a date look with these pieces, I might add a bracelet or possibly a different belt than the one that comes with the dress. But...for now I hope these items lend some inspiration.
So one dress, three looks. What do we think dear readers? Are you happy to have me back? Have I lost my touch? How would you style it? Leave a note in the comment section below!
P.S. Do you have trouble remembering the names of necklines? Look at this amazing resource I found when looking for the name of this neckline! Its great (though it doesn't include this specific neckline - which I'm still not sure what to call).
Reader LM takes the bow before the event and asks:
Hello TCFKAG! Found you through Corporette (longtime reader/lurker) and I have a fashion question for you... I know I am super-late to the party, but I have been wanting some tie-neck blouses to wear tucked into pencil skirts at work or with skinny jeans and heels at night. I like the styles that tie up high - e.g., closer to the neck rather than the boobs (if that makes sense). Can you help me find some reasonably priced, cute options, preferably under $60? I am open to solid-colored or patterned. I am about a size 8 (usually M). Thanks in advance!
Let me first thank you profusely for NOT calling them by the other name that shall not be used for these blouses that I frankly think is gross and icky and I react to it like some people react to the word moist. So - yeah - lets stick with tie-neck blouses, shall we. And as far as missing the boat, if you missed the boat, then everyone else who's wearing them right now missed the boat by a couple of decades, so missing the boat by a year is just a blip really and hardly can be called super-late. Fashionably late, sure, but that's the way to be, right? Moving on to the actual CLOTHES now. Lets find some blouse that shall not be named. As a warning, at that price point most of your options will likely be polyester or poly blends, but I'll try to do my best to find some deals on real silk or silk blends too.
I'm on a total How I Met Your Mother kick tonight, don't ask me why. These things just happen.
One more quick note about shopping for tie-neck blouses - many if not most of the tie necks are in fact adjustable, so they can either be tied higher up at the neckline or lower at the boob area (for lack of a better term) so what you see on the website is a styling choice of the retailer and not the exclusive way the shirt can be worn. So you want to double check those product details if you see a tie shirt you like but its tied in the wrong place.
So! I hope these options give you a few ideas to add a little new flare to your summer wardrobe. Who doesn't like adding a bow to their clothes. Its like you're a gift that you get to unwrap at night (or someone ELSE gets to unwrap....BAZINGA.) Man, the dorky tv references are flying fast and hard tonight. Think that's a sign its time for me to log off. Well, LM, please come back in the comments and let me know how you make out. AND TO MY OTHER READERS, THE CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW AT MIDNIGHT. HAVE YOU ENTERED? IF SO, YOU NEED NEED NEED TO SEND ME AN E-MAIL AT TCFKAG@GMAIL.COM. BECAUSE DESPITE MY BEST EFFORTS AFTER READING MATILDA AS A CHILD, I HAVE NEITHER TELEPATHY NOR TELEKINESIS. SO ENTER! WIN! LET ME SHOP FOR YOU PERSONALLY!! (AND REMEMBER - FACEBOOK COUNTS. AND IF YOU HAVE NO SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU COULD EVEN SEND AN E-MAIL TO SOME OF YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST FRIENDS.)
okay....no more big letters they scare me. good night all. good night moon. good night girl in the polka-dot balloon.