All photos by Erin Leydon
One of my favorites clients, Stella, is going to Europe soon and picked out some dresses from the shop to take with her. Stella and I chat endlessly through Instagram messaging and she mentioned that while planning for her trip, she was buying and pulling dresses to bring with her and that she was pretty much only bringing dresses. That led to a discussion between us on how easy dresses are in general and how for traveling they are so easy to pack and that they take up so much less room then separates do. Plus, by adding or changing what you wear with them, you can make one dress work multiple times during the trip. Perfect for those that are light packers or have limited luggage allowances. Gone are the days of helpful porters and an endless parade of over-packed trunks unless of course, you are prepared to pay a lot in baggage fees.
Stella and I have opposite love for what lengths we like the most. I think a full length dress makes me look taller, Stella thinks they swallow her up too much so prefers a midi or shorter length. We crack up sometimes because we will both love a look and then I will say "if only it was longer" and she will say "if only it was shorter".
I am definitely a long dress girl. Sometimes I struggle with the midi length if the proportions are not right. Dresses that end just under the knee can be truly awful on me. I need either the length of the dress or the length of my leg. There are the occasional exception of course - I love a full skirt that ends about 3 inches above my ankle but if that same length in on a skinny skirt - ughh. There is always an exception in fashion - that's what makes it both so fun and so maddening at times. Figuring out what works on you and what are the exceptions to what "never" works is what can lead to that bed full of tossed off clothes and a full on fashion melt-down. At least with a dress you only have to try one one thing on at a time while you are going through the process to figure it out.
So again: Dress = bonus points.
I live for when I go on vacation and I can wear nothing but long, long, long night and day. There is something about that extra bit of skirt flowing out behind you that gets me every time. I am always jealous of girls that live year round in hotter climates then my own 4 season clime, which means 3-4 month at most of summer weather. In LA, wafting through the grocery store at 10 am on a Tuesday morning in November won't cause a single bat of an eye, but it doesn't go down so well that same Tuesday morning in November where I live when the snow is piled up outside. Sigh
I have always been a dress girl. If I had to break down my personal closet into a pie chart there would be this big round circle of dresses and a tiny little wedge that accounted for everything else. And then maybe a a second little pie beside that for shoes.
There is something about the ease of a dress. At heart they are the simplest of garments. You put them on and you are done. You might have to zip a zip, or button some buttons and cinch a belt, but it is all really a 2 minute process. Add shoes, a bag and something over it if needed and you walk out the door. Give me a dress and I can give you 4 different versions of looks for it in 10 minutes. Tell me I have to go to something casual and I can't wear a dress and I can panic. Sometimes I think it is a simple case of being born in the wrong era, but then as I research and hunt for info from the past, I realize that maybe that time never really existed except for in my own fantasies. If you go far back enough to when women only wore dresses all day long, I would have been miserable without my modern freedoms that I have. Plus there is that fact that I am a era-ccentric magpie and I love to jump over and mix up decades all in one look. So in the present I will stay and just dress to meet my own vintage fantasies when I can. What else is a girl to do?
This seventies burgundy & gold silk Bill Blass was a hard one to let go of and put into the shop this week. It is fantastic and is so easy and comfortable to wear. You slip it on, cinch in the waist to where it works on you with the sash and it's done. It is meant to be slouchy and easy and sexy. I paired it with velvet Jill Sander platforms because the color and mix of textures worked perfectly with the dress, but you could do a high black strappy shoe, or add a pop of color, or even wear a flat sandal and it would work. To show you how versatile the dress can be, I first popped a silk chiffon black cape by Adolfo over it to really maximize the whole flowing feel of the fabric. Then to change things up, I ignored all the color rules ever written and threw a spectacular 1920s embroidered silk shawl over it. The shawl is such a strong piece that the dress became the background for the shawl rather then taking center stage. Which is the perfect strategy if it is a dress on repeat
And that's just one pair of shoes and two accessories. Imagine all the endless possibilities with jewels and coats and evening jackets and sandals and boots and .........whatever you can fit in a suitcase or pull from your closet that can make your dress still feel fresh and different every time.
That's my kind of dressing.
Love it all? Get the details for the Bill Blass dress here, the Adolfo cape is here (and if you would rather a more opaque version I also just put this Giorgio Sant Angelo version in the shop - check that one out here). The embroidered shawl is also available here - it's a beauty!