Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Final Summer Dress Dilemma

The shops are filling up with fall clothing and we spotted Halloween candy displays in the Mt. Auburn Shaw's tonight. But I'm still making up my mind about three summery dresses I found at Anthropologie.  Lots of other summer dresses have come and gone from my closet recently — all the other dresses I bought this summer went back to their stores because they weren't quite right.  I have a hard time finding great dresses on my budget, in the few places where I like to shop (I tend to stay out of department stores, discount stores, and pricey boutiques). So right now I own just four dresses — although I love dresses. They just need to be perfect.

When you put on a dress, you should feel and look wonderful. Otherwise, why keep the dress? You can throw on any old skirt and tee if you want to blend in, or look average. The right dress gives you instant style.

I don't need all three of my current options; I plan to keep just one. But it's fun to vacillate; I keep trying them on and accessorizing them in various ways. This batik-print cotton number, by Tracy Reese for Plenty, has interesting retro charm, fits beautifully, and is half price:


Check out the back. I never wear anything this exciting:


This drapey turquoise and gray rayon jersey dress, also by Tracy Reese, is more conservative and could be worn in the fall and spring:


The top is completely shirred and stretchy, so it's very fitted, but the skirt is full and long, the way I like them, and there are pockets. I wish it had a lining, though; the fabric is thin.


Here the model is wearing it backwards so it has a higher neckline. The color and pattern are a little off-beat, but at least it's not black, like 3/4 of my current dresses.

Finally, this Bailey 44 chemise is dark plum, a rich, flattering color I'd wear in any season. It's featherweight and clingy, with unfinished, rolled fabric at the neckline and hem, and pretty gathers at the shoulder. Going up a size with jersey dresses works for me; I like a dress to "suggest" my figure instead of adhering to it, and the extra length is usually better. This dress has lots of clever  vertical seams that are strategically placed to flatter many figure types:


Here it is in deep olive, styled four ways for the changing seasons:


I wish this one had some sort of lining, too. Maybe it's time to invest in a slip, or one of those high-tech spandex foundation garments I've been avoiding.  Horrors.

I'm telling myself I'm going to finally make up my mind tomorrow. It's been nice having too many choices for a change.

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