A Corporette reader, Lost in the Racks, asked:

Big dinner coming up SATURDAY NIGHT [emphasis mine] with SO and his firm (900+ employees). No idea what to wear. He’s wearing very dark grey pinstripe Hugo Boss European cut suit. I need to look amazing – first time to a work function with him. I’m 5’10″ and usually a size 12 – curvy (38DD). Help?

So, LitR, I'm sort of letting you jump the line here because it sounds like your event is tomorrow?  If that isn't true and its next Saturday - well - you're still a bit pressed for time but you could order from SOME online retailers (Zappos, Amazon, on-line only Nordstrom's dresses).  But for the sake of this post I'm sticking to "things that I think are available at most malls in America" but simultaneously "still look fabulous enough that you won't look like you bought it the day before."  I assume you volunteered your husband's suit to describe level of dressiness and not a matching issue - since almost everything in the world goes with gray - but I'll try not to clash (and if you need to, you can always buy him a new coordinating but not too matchy-matchy tie.)  Or better yet, let the guys in the men's section of a department store or suit store do it - they are much better at it than us mere mortals.

So I'm going to add some styling and possibly actual shoe and jewelry advice, because in the end what makes an outfit for an event like this sometimes isn't the dress but rather how you accessorize.  Also, on a final note, I know most people would head straight to the "LBD" section for this one - and that's fine - but I think some color would be great for this.  I mean, its a middle of the summer party and *you* don't have to be conservative to avoid "embarrassing" yourself in front of your bosses - you just have to be appropriate, if the difference is clear. So I'm going to suggest some color but I'd definitely suggest you look at my "wedding guest black dress" post (which has both LBDs and non-LBDs), my "teal" cocktail and work dress and my "little red dress" post from before for other ideas.  Many of those dresses, especially the Nordies ones, may be available at your local mall - but I'd call ahead to check.  Now moving on to some ideas specialized just for you.

Ivy & Blu for Maggy Boutique at Nordstroms ($168 - the reviews are mixed, but you'd be trying it on first. Its available in your size at 2 of the 4 stores near my house so I figure you have decent odds of it being available near you.  I think a fun floral would be great for a summer work party because well its summer.  I'd keep everything else simple, nude or gray heels, maybe a silver or gold bangle, pendant necklace and maybe even just stud earrings.)
Cascade Hem Sleeveless Dress in palm frond from Ann Taylor ($79.99 - so I would normally not recommend asymmetrical hemlines, I just usually don't like them, but something about the execution of this one works for me.  Plus the color is great, I like the top, the price is right, and its available in-store in lots of locations.  So it might be worth a try-on at least.  Most reviews are good - saying its flattering and a nice length for the taller set.)
Textured Cotton Sundress in polka dot from WHBM ($160 - WHBM has this fun polka dot dress - they also have a couple great striped dresses.  If you're hitting a mall, I'd hit them up first. They're one of my must stops when taking my friends dress shopping and they are always amazed by how much they like the dresses and how flattering they are...including both x-shaped and fairly short to tiny, thin, and tall.  So they have variety.)
Tadashi Shoji Lace & Tulle Cocktail Dress at Nordstroms ($298 - you'll have to check store availability - this is a repeat for me from the teal post - but I just love it.  A more modern take on the lace trend, a beautiful teal, looks long enough that should work for a 5' 8" person, wide shoulder straps and high neck should hold the girls, and the ribbon detailing at the waist line should help emphasize a variety of natural waist lines.  Also comes in a lovely cantaloupe color. Maybe worth the splurge since it would be a great dress for weddings and such?)
Banded Drop-Waist Dress in black at WHBM ($160 - if I was you and looking for a little black dress for this, I might seriously consider this one.  It has 11 reviews and a 5 out of 5 - with lots of reviews saying it looks great on curvier figures.  I think it would really work well with your assets [as they say in the boob trade lol] and the banded section through the bodice and stomach looks forgiving but while still having a nice a-line twirly skirt at the bottom.  Yes, I'm a grown-woman who likes twirly skirts and I'm proud. A pair of red pumps and a bright red lip with some great jewelry and this would be a great "guest at a company party" look.
Colorblocked Pleated Sleeveless Dress in tropical jade at Ann Taylor ($148 - this dress practically SCREAMS summer at me and if this color flatters you it might be perfect.  Add a long necklace or pendant, some nude or metallic sandals, and maybe that bangle she's wearing and it's a great look.  A nice mix of formal and fun. I'd bring a cardigan or wrap though.
Etched Leaf Wrap Dress at Talbots ($109.00 - available in all sizes and should be in store - I think a lot of wrap dresses might be too casual for this event, but since this one has a pattern, a very nice one in my opinion, it dresses it up enough that I think it works.  Again with a bit of extra jewelry and nice shoes and you've got a good look; plus wrap dresses are just SO flattering and look so good on bustier women.)
Adrianna Papell Jersey and Taffeta dress at Nordstroms ($178 - I wanted to include one dress that was really a more formal "event" dress - unfortunately this one isn't available in stores near me but you should check with the stores near you.  Or look for something with a similar wide-v-neck and fit and flare skirt - which I think would be a great formal dress shape for you.)
Side bow dress in bright red at The Limited ($79.90 - possibly with an additional 50% off - the sale is difficult to understand.  There is also a black version of this dress and this is called red though on my screen it looks orange.  Either way, the Limited is getting great props everywhere for its new resurgence  so I'd definitely check it out for a mall option for a dress.  [Oh and I secretly hop this is orange - I love orange.])
Adrianna Papell Sleeveless Beaded Tulip Hem at Macy's ($199 - this is a brand new Papell as far as I can tell, at least I've never seen it, so I'm throwing it up here just because I like to keep people informed - I'm not actually sure you could get it in time for your party LitR (sorry).  Its definitely an interesting dress, I love the fish tail ruching, but not so sure about the beaded neckline - would have to see in person I guess.  I am a HUGE fan of burgundy though - so they've got me there.)
And Now Just a Few Accessories Suggestions ... Because of Reasons
Cole Haan 'Chelsea' Pump in laquer red patent at Nordstroms ($148.95 - if you decide to go LBD - these amazing red Cole Haans, which for my money are the best red heels out there, are for sale on 50% off - might be worth treating yourself.  Everyone needs a pair of go to red pumps! Though when I explain that to my husband he doesn't seem to understand it.)
Green/turquoise/gold jewelry at F21.  (Bracelet and chevron pendant).  Forever 21 is my absolute favorite place to shop for "one time only" jewelry at the mall - they have fun/funky stuff and frankly it rarely ends up being one time only.  These would be great with one of the teal or black dresses, for example.
Cejon Metallic Crocheted Evening Wrap at Lord & Taylor ($28.50 - a lovely crocheted wrap that would be perfect for a slightly cool evening summer event.  Dillard's has a slightly better picture of it but not everyone has Dillard's.  And I think you could totally wear a gray/silver wrap with gold jewelry if anyone's wondering.  Cejon actually has several lovely wrap/scarfs in metallics at L&T right now if anyone's in the market.)
Okay LitR - that's what I got for you tonight. I hope you find something that makes you look and feel incredible (without making you wear your grandparent's clothes). But really, just have fun and take advantage of what I hope is an open bar. The goal here is just to look nice enough that you fit in - the nice thing about going to your husband's work events and not, say, your own is there's no one to impress. :-) 

P.S. To the other Corporettes who are hopefully now reading this blog instead of just the tumblr (or nothing before).  There is a tab on the top of the page entitled "Vicarious Shopping Questions" where you can submit your questions directly and they won't get lost in the shuffle of a Weekend Thread that gets out of hand and I just forget or lose them (which happens sometimes!)  


Also, if you haven't been reading the blog at all, you may have missed the announcement that I have started a PERSONAL SHOPPING SERVICE through TCFKAG Shops.  You can click on the tab at the top of the page logically titled "Personal Shopping" to learn all about it - but the upshot is if you have a particularly complicated or involved question - or would like help with something like restyling your whole wardrobe or picking out a new wardrobe after significant weight loss....something like that, you should consider hiring me as a personal shopper.  I'm fairly cheap as these things go and it will be a more interactive, on-line process via e-mail or video chat (if you prefer).  Or, if you live in the Boston/Greater New England area - it might even be in person.  So take a look see at the info and submit from that form if you are interested!!!


Okay - that's all the announcements.  Hope you like the dress ideas and happy shopping. Other readers - I know Reader LitR has to go buy these items at the store, but if you are going to buy any of them - I'd be super touched if you bought them through the link on the website because when people buy things through my links I make a little money which is both cool and I get adorably excited about it (think $10 per, like week, and you'll understand why its adorable.)  Gosh - REALLY, really checking off now.  :-)
Anne Shirley
6/7/2013 22:25:48

These picks are gorgeous! And love the non-tumblr format.

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6/8/2013 01:52:45

I really, really want that teal lace one. If only my life had enough fancy events to justify it.

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6/9/2013 15:55:01

Oh my GOD, I want that asymmetrical Ann Taylor dress SO BAD. Amazing selection, as always.

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LitR
6/10/2013 02:00:44

THANK YOU!!!! Original poster here, and your suggestions are fantastic. It's this coming Saturday so I went to the mall armed with your suggestions and voila, I got the Tadashi Shoji in teal (thank goodness we have more than one Nordies!) AND the red/orange dress from The Limited as a backup. I have those Cole Haans in a Merlot which look lovely with the teal dress. And I managed to find the bangle at Forever 21. You are amazing. I just LOVE this site and am recommending it to all my friends. My mother was so impressed too that she told my sister. Big internet hug.

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6/10/2013 04:54:23

NEVER have I been so jealous of a reader. AAaaarrrrghhh. That sounds perfect. Hope you have a great dinner and you're gonna look amazeballs.

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Or better yet, let the guys in the men's section of a department store or suit store do it - they are much better at it than us mere mortals.

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