I’m not really moved by this dress, and I’m guessing you aren’t, either. There’s not much to say about it: it’s navy blue, and it came from Nordstrom. It’s so basic, I don’t remember who made it, and I can’t be bothered to check the tag. That said, there is still a place for this kind of dress in my closet. It is the perfect foil for accessories that pop, like my orange and gold pig’s trotter sandals by VC Signature by Vince Camuto that you have seen here before and this awesome Anya Hindmarch shoulder bag from several years ago. Even though the bag is not new, it is right on the color block trend. Finished with a new favorite wide belt from Lula Vintage Wear, the blank canvas dress is complete.
This dress is very pretty and sort of on trend, thanks to the knife pleats. I could see Betty Draper in this dress — the Betty Draper that was married to Don and subsisted on red wine and cigarettes. Not the depressing Betty that’s married to the anal retent Henry Francis. But I digress.
Back to the dress. It is lovely, but it highlights an issue with vintage clothing: acetate rayon. Lots of it. This dress looks great for summer, but some serious sweating will go down on a hot, soupy day like today. This is not your picnic dress. This is your over-air-conditioned-office dress. No standing near open flames, either. So stay in your office and move slowly and everything will be fine.
I was going to include a picture of Betty, but wouldn’t we all rather look at Don?
In the last four days, I have had the same conversation with three different friends, which tells me that this burning question is on everyone’s mind: under what circumstances, if any, is it acceptable to wear shorts? Now, I am talking about wearing shorts out in public amongst the masses. If you are toiling in your back yard in your old, ratty shorts, I don’t care. Also, shorts worn while working out get a free pass here. Same goes for shorts at the beach. Setting these carve outs aside, the question becomes should they ever be worn?
My friend JP says she was once told no self-respecting woman should be seen in shorts. And, another friend, TH, says they are for working out only. The contrarian, KN, says her 65 year-old mother kills it in shorts all summer long. More power to mom. As for me, I say no. Except when I say yes. If you are in my neighborhood, you might see me in shorts walking the hounds, and the other day, I wore shorts to take those darlings to the vet. I am not proud of this, but I did it, and I have to own it. (Can you tell that I was always the kid who confessed before she got caught? And I am not even Catholic.)
Maybe I want to wear shorts because they epitomize the easy, beach living that I once had and would kill for again. Look at me in these pics from my youth in Jamaica. Sure beats Lawyers, Inc. Maybe it’s just because they are so dang easy to throw on. (They also do not blow up over your head on a windy day, as yesterday’s water color dress did in full view of everyone.) Either way, I know they’re not right for me anymore.
What do I have to do to put you in this jet ski today?
Beach shorts are always ok.
Don’t try this look outside of Midtown.
I’m not the only one thinking about shorts. Check out the dude in his short suit, captured by Bill Cunningham for the NYTimes. I don’t like it, and I don’t want to see it here, but wouldn’t it be amazing to see a man dressed in something other than Dockers?
I don’t think there are adequate words in the English language to convey my love for this girly dress. No one has ever accused me of being afraid of color, and this dress makes the point. It certainly stuck out in a sea of navy and black at the Lawyers, Inc., partner meeting this morning. No, I was not ejected. Someone had to pour the coffee.
I also love it when there is a story that goes with the outfit. That’s probably obvious by now. I scored this dress in an awesome vintage store in (wait for it) … Lincoln, Nebraska, while we were there for a two week arbitration in March. I had noticed the store, Ruby Begonias, during one of my 300+ trips to the Starbucks by our hotel. (To call its storefront unimposing is to be the master of understatement, as the picture at http://www.city-data.com/businesses/488216987-ruby-begonias-lincoln-ne.html shows. Do not be fooled. The basement of that place is chock-a-block with great clothes.) Since there is almost no personal time during trial, I was thrilled when one day we wrapped up a bit early. I dashed to Ruby Begonias, and, in the 20 minutes before it closed, I found, tried on, and bought this dress (1960s “watercolor dress,” per the tag) AND a spectacular 1950ish party dress, complete with crinoline!
Today I am wearing the watercolor dress with a taupe, patent leather belt from JCrew and a fresh vintage flower pin from my favorite Twin Cities vintage spot. I feel like the JCrew belt anchors the dress and makes it less garden party-like. There is a very cool self belt; so cool that I schlepped it in today so you could see it. It will come in handy at my next garden party.
For the first time since this blog began, I am wearing pants. Not just any pants — kelly green pants! (You can see them hanging in my closet above, although there they look like they look like knee shorts.) Even though bright pants are tres chic for Spring/Summer, they still sort of feel like the sartorial equivalent of the middle finger. In other words, they feel awesome!
The trickier part is what to wear with kelly green pants. Whatever you pair with them has to take a back seat to their in-your-face greenness. I went with a very basic, black twin set and these old Donald J. Pliner shoes. There may be nothing that bores me more than a twin set, but I think it is ok here. At least I am not wearing pearls.
It’s a good thing none of the Big Partners at Lawyers, Inc., read this blog because I am about to make a shocking confession. (Not only do they not read it, they don’t know who I am, which was proven again yesterday when one such BP kept asking me questions that made no sense. Mystery solved: he thought I was another lawyer at Inc., who, by the way, looks nothing like me. )
Back to the confession: sometimes I’m not excited to come into the office. I need motivation beyond the pure joy of billing time. Today, I found that motivation in my closet. The genius of this vintage dress is that, depending on how you style it, it can be worn day or night. It is semi-sheer, so it is perfect for a steamy day like today. The right undergarments are a must, so let me take this opportunity to turn you on the world’s greatest half-slip by Commando. http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/commando-half-slip/3060152?origin=keywordsearch&fashionColor=True+Nude&resultback=1314 The name alone is reason enough to buy it, but it is also brilliant under sheer or close-fitting clothing.
I have also rocked this dress for a dinner party, with a black full-slip and black patent belt and pumps. Plus some bling, the antidote to anonymity.
The neckline and buttons on the dress make a necklace impossible, at least as far as I can see. Instead, I’m wearing an awesome bangle from StyledLife, an ancient jeans belt from Ann Taylor (a place I don’t think I have set foot in in over 10 years), and my favorite Marni sandals, which I bought in NYC years ago during a weekend break for a trial in Connecticut. I love a sturdy high heel.
A word about the location for today’s and yesterday’s photos. As the photographer for both pics remarked today, “There’s a lot going on.” And she wasn’t talking about the dress. All I can say is never trust a lawyer with a clean office. And a nod to an awesome French guy (is there any other kind of French guy?), Eric Ripert, who graces my PC in the background.