Another day, another new dress. As the post title says, minimalism fail. I clearly have a problem: a pretty dress problem. I just can’t seem to resist ’em. I thought this Tracy Reese number would be a good option for work, and I was right. Although the print is definitely bold, it’s not too twee or juvenile for the office, and the colours are bang-on for the colour palette I’m working towards. The dress looks great under my ubiquitous black blazer, but it’s also lovely on its own. And, look, sleeves!
Word of warning for those who might want to hunt this down on eBay: I would suggest sizing up. I’m wearing a Large here, and while it’s not quite fitted on me, I would call it “pleasantly loose”. As in, just loose enough to not cling to every bump, and to allow me to eat a decently sized lunch. The only parts that are a little bigger than I’d like are the arm holes, as you can (kinda) see in the photo above. I should also mention that I added a snap to the front of the dress so I could avoid the necessity of wearing a camisole; the dress does come with a snap, but it’s placed fairly low and, on me, that translated to a some office-unfriendly cleavage.
(To give you a sense of the sizing issue, I am currently a size 6 in Banana Republic pants, and can generally wear a Small in dresses from most mall brands.)
Sizing issue aside, this is a really nice (looking and feeling) dress. The fabric is lined and has a good weight to it, which I find to be key for a dress with a fitted silhouette like this. The length hits me a bit below the knees, although I would not consider it a midi dress. This may be a function of the size being a touch bigger than what I need, or it could be the dress design; either way, I don’t find that to be a drawback. Below the knees hemlines can be stumpifying, but I think the streamlined silhouette balances it all out in this case.
Whew, that was quite the essay! I guess that’s a sign of true dress love: pontification for days.
Judging by all the compliments I got (at work and on Insta) on this dress, I think we can say that it was a good buy for $36. And a good way to start a new week, and a new month. Onwards and upwards (and drama free)!
Let’s take a moment to run down the positives of this dress. The colours are palette-approved. The silhouette is flattering and pretty classic, but with a wee twist. Let me just add that the slit is for effect only, and there is no chance in hell that I could accidentally flash the managing partner. (The black underskirt thingie is sewn to the rest of the dress.) I briefly pondered if the dress might be a bit too edgy when I tried it on with black tights – and realized that it looked like the slit was going half way up my thigh. So, scratch that remixing idea.
Back to the dress. The only thing I’m still a little iffy on is the fabric. It’s not very … breathable. On the plus side, this dress should survive the Apocalypse, no problem; it seems pretty indestructible. Right now, with our temperatures still hovering firmly near the “arctic” end of the spectrum, the material does not seem to be too much of a problem, even under a blazer. In the summer, it could be another story. We shall see.
Want to hear a funny story? This was the day that I decided I just couldn’t stand my bangs for one moment longer, and took matters into my own hands – with a pair of office scissors in the bathroom at work. OK, maybe this is not so much a funny story as a cautionary one. Don’t do this at home, friends, because you too might accidentally almost cut off a finger in the process. (I’m not kidding. I wish I was.) Still, the end result did not look too terrible … and I got to feel like a true MacGyver for the day. (The real MacGyver is, like, “bitch, take a seat.” Whatever, guy. When was the last time you cut your own bangs with dull scissors in shitty lighting? Huh?)
This should come as no surprise for long-term, or short-term, or really any kind of BCRL readers: clothes shopping is one of my hobbies. So I end up shopping for all the reasons people tell you not to shop: because I’m bored, or happy, or sad, or stressed out – especially the latter, especially lately. And so it happened that I found myself wandering the aisles of the downtown Winners on a Thursday afternoon, looking to shop off some stress.
Now, my hometown ladies know that the downtown Winners is not the best Winners in town by far (that would be the Gateway Boulevard location) or even the second best (that would be the Mayfield Common location), but it’s the best that the downtown core has to offer in terms of decent clearance rack hunting, and sometimes a girl just wants to find a bargain, you know? On this particular occasion, bargains were not to be had (I think Winners had its big end-of-season sale at the end of January, and there are very few stragglers left now), but I did spot some promising prospects on the dresses rack. Seeing as I was all by myself, and therefore accountable for no one else’s attention spans or hunger levels, I decided to head over to the changing rooms and try everything. Oh, the excitement!
And then, of course, share all my thoughts (and pictures) on Instagram because I need opinions, people!
In fact, I need your opinion as well. So let’s do this.
I tried on 6 dresses – none of which I needed to buy, some of which were definitely tempting. Here they all are … see if you can guess which were my favourites:
Ok, ready to proceed?
My picks were a bit of a study in contrasts. I loved the architectural flair, and simplicity, of the grey RACHEL Rachel Roy dress, even though I was not entirely sold on the quality. Its main flaw, however, was the length – simply too short for work. Of course, the grandma florals-loving side of me (which might be quiet these days, but certainly not gone) adored the floral Beige by eci number. The fabric and print reminded me of the Clover Canyon dresses I had recently seen at Holt’s, though perhaps a touch more sedate. The silhouette was very Dolce & Gabbana, with the just-below-the-knee hemline, and general slinkiness. But it was a bit … loud. And a bit too bombshell-y for my everyday life.
Both dresses had appeal, and both had drawbacks. Indecisive as always, I ran back to my Insta peeps to ask for help deciding: should I buy? And if so, which one?
The vote was split pretty evenly between the two dresses, with some enablers fellow indecisives suggesting both. (For the record, both Luka and my husband preferred the grey dress. This was oddly disconcerting to me, but I guess it’s a flash forward to all the future times those two will be ganging up on me.) So, tell me, which would have been your pick?
Floral or Minimalist?
Want to know which one I picked? Read on.
I did … not … buy the grey dress for two reasons. One, the too-short hemline. I actually went back and tried a larger size but, sadly, it made no appreciable difference, length-wise, and it was too large elsewhere. Two, the ruffle detail, while gorgeous when the dress is worn on its own, gets lost if you wear any sort of topper. The dress just ends up looking really plain and boring, and even a tad shapeless. This ruled it out for work purposes. As for special occasions, I felt that the dress was a little too dressy for my needs; most of my “special occasions” involve a semi-casual date with my husband, or a visit with friends. This dress begs for a nice cocktail party, and that is a rare occurrence in my life. Plus, I already have two light grey “special occasions” dresses (that are rarely worn), and I didn’t think that this one – lovely as it is – was worth adding to that list.
So, the floral dress. I loved so many things about it, not least of all the fact that it was really figure flattering. Had the floral print been even slightly less loud, I would have found a way to de-sexify it for the office. It would certainly be the kind of dress I could probably find occasion to wear in my off-hours … but not often enough to justify buying it, sadly. Even for $40.
So – surprise! – the answer is “neither”. I know, that was a trick question.
[Although I maaaaay periodically check in at Winners to see if the floral number goes on sale … so, to be continued, I guess …]