Dress vs. Dress

As I mentioned last week, it’s starting to warm up here at IPF South, making it a good time to continue an ongoing process of evaluating what should stay in my wardrobe and what should leave. Today and yesterday I broke out two dresses that I haven’t worn in a while (and only one has been on the blog before) in order to determine what to do with them. Neither was an unqualified success or disaster. Both however made me think about the way I shop: that I tend to buy the same shapes again and again (which is generally good, I think) but don’t think enough about whether the colors/ patterns are ones that I actually like to wear.
Wednesday’s dress:
Dress: MaxStudio
Black top: Joe
Black tights: Target
Gold flats: Nine West
Black & white bracelet: gifted
I really like this dress intellectually. It’s flattering. It’s comfortable. It washes well. I bought it in Vegas so it’s got all sorts of fun memories attached to it. But I’ve worn it twice in the nearly two years I’ve had it — suggesting that I don’t actually like wearing it, which is sort of important. I think one of the obstacles to wearing it is that I need to wear something under it for teaching/ daytime wear but my ideas for colors to wear underneath end at black, white and blue (and I don’t actually own any blue layering pieces). I’m going to hang onto it for another 6 months. If I don’t wear it again, it’s time to release it to the wild.
Today’s dress (today’s not a teaching day but a working in a coffeeshop day — hence the more casual styling and the bare legs with a fairly short skirt):

Dress: Old Navy
Blue flats: Joe
Blue cuff: The Bay
With this dress, on the other hand, I’m declaring defeat. I just don’t like wearing it. I like it on Rebecca of MinnChic who has it in blue. I don’t even mind the way it looks on me. But I prefer a straighter skirt on an empire waisted dress. The slight a-line on this one makes the skirt feel perilously short to me at moments and makes it more susceptible to be getting caught in today’s wind. I’m also not in love with its scoop neck.
All of this reminds me of a shopping lesson I seem to need to learn repeatedly: being more mindful when I’m shopping — paying attention to more than just price and a generic sense of fit & general flattering-ness. As I’ve also discovered with buying the same piece in multiple colors, the lady magazine advice to find a shape that works for you and then keep buying it is perhaps best used in moderation.
What other shopping lessons do you need to learn repeatedly? And what colors would you wear with black and blue?

10 thoughts on “Dress vs. Dress

  1. I think the first dress has all kinds of potential. I think red, bright pink, purple, light gray (like a heather gray) and maybe even green could work as other colors underneath. Or you could pair white underneath and color over it? That said, if you decide to set it free, I wouldn't mind seeing it appear in my mail box someday. Just saying… :)I like the way you've styled the second dress with the blue flats, but I can definitely understand the wind issue. I once flashed an entire Starbucks while walking to the train on a blustery day. Not sure if that's actually what you meant, but clearly it's a story worth sharing either way.

  2. I just want to throw my support behind the second dress. As others have said: of course if you don't enjoy wearing it, the dress should go. But! I think it looks adorable on you and that it's really flattering. Something I've tried with short, full skirts is to pair them with straight slips.

  3. I have to learn over and over again not to buy faux-wrap dresses that leave me picking at my cleavage all day and needing to wear something under. But I love the print… *gives Boden the stink-eye*My favorite thing for feeling secure under shortish dresses is the silk split slips (mini length) that WinterSilks sells. If I'm wearing anything short in summer that's what's under there — little silk tap shorts, basically. If flashing happens I'm totally decent.

  4. I just want to throw my support behind the second dress. As others have said: of course if you don't enjoy wearing it, the dress should go. But! I think it looks adorable on you and that it's really flattering. Something I've tried with short, full skirts is to pair them with straight slips.

  5. I really like the first dress, and I think it could pair with red, pink, soft grey, mustard, kelly green, chocolate brown. The second dress is totally adorable, but if you don't like wearing something, and if every time you wear it the very same thing bothers you? Time to send it out the door.My shopping problems are gravitating towards my default black, having no idea whether or not pants look good on me, and deliberately deciding to overlook a fault (poor cut, rumply waistband, weird pocket placement) because I am captivated by an item's theoretical potential.

  6. I think that grey and red would also work well with the first dress. I can very much relate to liking something intellectually – it fits, it flatters, but for some reason I don't like wearing it.

  7. I think the first dress has all kinds of potential. I think red, bright pink, purple, light gray (like a heather gray) and maybe even green could work as other colors underneath. Or you could pair white underneath and color over it? That said, if you decide to set it free, I wouldn't mind seeing it appear in my mail box someday. Just saying… :)I like the way you've styled the second dress with the blue flats, but I can definitely understand the wind issue. I once flashed an entire Starbucks while walking to the train on a blustery day. Not sure if that's actually what you meant, but clearly it's a story worth sharing either way.

  8. I was very struck by how you said you liked the one dress "intellectually." You made me realize that's the very reason I'm hanging onto some pieces that I never wear – I like them intellectually! I like the color, fabric, cut, etc., but I don't actually like the combination of all the variables or I just don't like wearing it. Thanks for giving me my sartorial epiphany of the day!

  9. The blue dress is one of my favorites and I probably should have bought it in more colors. I think you black version looks great on you, but we all have different fashion preferences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s