Frock Star

Did anyone else catch this particular Lilly Pulitzer dress showing up on their Instagram feed on more than one lady’s Easter post? No doubt it is a great dress, so great in fact, that I purchased the Goop version of the style just last year and when the collection went on markdown. Luckily the general public’s aversion to Gwyneth Paltrow and Gwyneth Paltrow-related product kept the dress from getting too popular.

At the end of April, I discussed my own growing aversion to matching all of the gals sporting Lilly Pulitzer on my own Instagram feed. {No doubt that they all look adorable; I just feel resistance to looking like everyone else employing #resort365.} Only after I drafted this post discussing my reservations did my awareness hit an apex over Easter with the Maisie dress.

It was perfect timing because I had just shopped eBay like a mad woman and stocked up on vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Stocking up may be a bit of an understatement, actually. More like, I cleared out shift dresses in my size. Five shift dresses later and I satiated my need to not only go shopping and sustainably so, but also updating up my Lilly Pulitzer supply sans looking like everyone else.

Pro tip: when it comes to the Lilly styles from the 1960s and 1970s, go up a number size; this is especially crucial when shopping the online secondary market because oftentimes returns are not accepted.

Can we talk about the design of the dress? It is unlike anything that the brand currently carries. I am living for the fact that the hemline is longer yet it is still a shift dress. Rather than feeling constricted in the bottom half of the dress, the side slits provide ample room to move, walk, run. It is the perfect dress for someone who is a pear like myself. Cut to me scouring the secondary market for more.

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Night at the Museum

Last Saturday, the husband and I spent our evening at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Fall Into Art party. The contemporary wing and the newest exhibit Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now was open to party-goers. The Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art board did a fantastic job with planning and executing the event. Not only was the party sold out but it raised well over the goal of twenty thousand dollars. (Last I heard it was over twenty-four thousand dollars.)

I loved being able to explore the contemporary wing and the new exhibit. So much so, that I will certainly return to the new Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now. Ironically, trying to navigate the exhibit afterhours may have been more challenging as in place of iPhone-yielding preteens, there were iPhone-yielding borderline-drunk people.

Not that did not make my husband take photos of me with Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, which was on exhibit. Another fun fact about Grace Kelly: The Hermes Kelly bag was named for her as she carried it in front of her baby bump while being photographed by paparazzi.

The more you know.

dress (old, Milly) // jacket (old, Banana Republic) // shoes (old, J.Crew Factory, similar) // tights // watch // headband (old, J.Crew) // clutch (old, Lauren Merkin) // earrings // necklace // necklace // necklace // pearl cuff // black diamond cuff // green stone cuff // ring

Blackout

This past Saturday, the husband and I went to the Pennsylvania Ballet production of Romeo & Juliet. Prior to going to the theater, we met up for cocktails with several other Young Friends of the Pennsylvania Ballet. After indulging in another cocktail at the member reception during the first intermission, we were invited to tour backstage during the second intermission. It was everything and more.

I wore the Shpala dress that I wrote about last winter and the Long Tall Sally coat that I wrote about last autumn. Too many times, I notice bloggers resisting remixing their outfits into something new and different, myself included. That is just nonsensical. We all repeat pieces in our day-to-day lives, even Princess Kate. So last Saturday, when I found myself in a repeat outfit that was both different from the original ensembles of which I initially planned and feeling fantastic in said outfit, I asked my husband to take a few photos on our walk over to pre-show cocktails.

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dress // coat // clutch (old, Lauren Merkin) // heels (old, Loeffler Randall) // chain necklace (old, Gemma Redux) // pearl necklace (old J.Crew Factory) // watch // ring

Wedding Day Chambray

Have you ever been invited to a wedding and only the bride and groom and five other people (a mere seven total) knew the details of the where?

That was the wedding I went to over Labor Day weekend and it was the most amazing wedding I have ever attended as a guest. During the rehearsal dinner, there was an announcement that all attendees had to report to the Boston Yacht Club (Marblehead) by 3:15 pm.

Sidebar: I would like to claim partial credit for keeping our gang of six (my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, four-year-old nephew, eighteen-month-old nephew, husband, and I) on time. The night prior, we planned backwards from the 3:15 call time, decided to leave our rental by 2:55, and out the front door by 2:50. After getting myself showered and ready in record time of 45 minutes, I panicked when I saw the nephews running around in their play clothes at 2:45. I employed my leadership skills and got the four year old in and out of the bathroom, dressed, and we opted to skip the hair gel. By that point, everyone else was ready to go. Miracles happen.

At 3:30 on the dot, the wedding guests were escorted out to a boat that took us to an island about a half hour off of the Marblehead coast. I think all of the guests were thrilled with the bar boat, although we restrained ourselves until after the ceremony. During the ride, we all speculated on how the bride and groom were going to arrive. By jet ski? By hovercraft? By parachute?

After all of the guests deboarded the boat and were seated, the bride and groom walked out and down the aisle hand in hand. (Classier than sky diving.) When the ceremony concluded, there were family photos and the imbibing then began on the booze cruise cocktail hour(s?). Naturally, my husband’s cousin – my soul cousin – and I were the first one’s back on the boat and with glasses of bubbly rose in hand.

The evening then progressed to a delicious meal, a covert cousin bottle of bourbon (a tradition started at my husband’s and my wedding), copious jubilant dancing, stumbling down to the nearest bar in Marblehead (barefoot, naturally), and engaging in hot pursuit for my husband’s lost blazer (and wallet, which we only recovered the next afternoon).

I originally wanted to wear my bright pink DVF silk faille strapless dress, but at the last minute I found that it would not zip up completely. I jumped on the internet, found a chambray dress that I was not particularly in love with but I knew it would be appropriate for the wedding, and had two sizes overnighted.

The dress, with the pearl slides that I have been wearing the eff out of this summer and some nice jewelry, ended up being a more appropriate outfit for the booze cruise and enthusiastic dancing in which I engaged. Not only did I receive so many compliments on the shoes, but my husband received compliments on them to pass along to me. I love that the dress came in tall and I could wear a standard bra without the straps being exposed. The irony of it all? The chambray dress and the pink strapless dress were the same size.

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Coral Relativism

My husband and I spent Labor Day weekend in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It was the town where my mother-in-law and her four siblings grew up. While we were there for a wedding and I knew that it was going to be a blast, I had no idea how much I was going to love Marblehead itself.

Marblehead was the most idyllic place I have been in the longest time. It reminded me of Nantucket, fitting as it is so close in proximity. Rather than feeling like it was a tourist spot as Nantucket tends to do, Marblehead felt like it was a more local-oriented place. There was not a bad neighborhood in the town and it was so walkable. The weather was gorgeous to the point that I did not recognize any lack of central air conditioning. I loved every historic house more than the last. Even the hangover I had the day after the wedding was easier to deal with as we meandered through the town in hot pursuit of lobster rolls, french fries, and Bloody Mary’s.

I found myself wondering what is was like for the H5 (the family nickname for the five siblings, of which my mother-in-law is part of) to grow up in the magical town. Over the course of the weekend, I talked to each of them about their experiences growing up in the town, and the stories they shared made it sound every bit as magical as I imagined it would be.

My husband and I were invited back for Thanksgiving and I am certain we are going to make the trip.

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Let Print Be

I was thrilled to find this Milly NY dress in my size on eBay NWT for a steal. I have said it before and I will say it again: while I like the new version, I love the older iteration of the brand more than any other label. It was just so feminine and chic. These days I will buy most any previous generation Milly NY article of clothing in my size, NWT, on eBay, ThredUp, Poshmark, or TheRealReal. The scarcity of availability makes the old styles all the more valuable, to me at least. I will take an old school #millymoment any day!

The upside to shopping on resale sites is that I am giving old clothing new life. This chic-as-eff dress could have ended up in a landfill. Rather, it has found a home in my summer closet. Vintage shopping is the fourth major method of sustainable shopping, and while I am not sure a ten-year-old dress exactly qualifies as vintage, it is certainly second-hand.

How did I celebrate scoring this dress and the beginning of a four day weekend? A 5 am wake up call for catching the sunrise down at the Race Street Pier. Why not? It was a fantastic way to start our long Labor Day weekend. After we saw the sun, we booked it home to pick up our luggage and then booked it to Philadelphia International. That rose bubbly was exactly what I needed to relax me before boarding!

dress (old, Milly, old Milly New York here, here, and here) // slides (also here) // clutch (old, Thredup + TheRealReal options: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) // earrings (old, Gemma Redux) // bracelet (old, Gemma Redux) // cuff // watch

Metal Without a Cause

I fell in love with this dress the second I noticed that it was available in tall. The fact that I am going through a late 1990s SATC style phase has everything to do with my obsession for the dress. Doesn’t it look like something that Carrie would have worn to Club Chaos or Balzac or Brasserie 8 1/2 or any one of the fabulous establishments that the girls frequented in the earlier seasons? Me thinks yes.

 

Every time this dress has been restocked, it immediately sells out. It is no wonder; it was released in petite, standard, and tall lengths and it fits like an absolute dream. I see this taking up prime real estate in my closet for years to come. Definitely something that I will hold onto in perpetuity.

The first time I wore the dress was to a Pennsylvania Ballet production of Swan Lake. I wore it for the second time this past weekend to my husband’s cousin’s wedding. I love a non-strapless dress for weddings, as it is not prohibitive for raging on the dance floor. When my mother-in-law compliments me on the dress, that is all the better!

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Dress Relief

Since I have been on my Sex and the City diet, I have been trying to hunt down a silk slip dress. But not in poly-silk. I am sure you know what I am talking about. The fabric is listed as “satin” or “silk” on the website item description, but when you receive it in the mail, not only does the tag say “polyester,” but when pick it up out of the box, it is an unmistakably cheap synthetic version of the natural fiber. I am just working on restraining my shopping and fabric content has been a great place to start being more discriminatory.

Back to the dress hunt. I initially ordered a black Vince slip dress last summer. I purchased it online from Saks Fifth Avenue and was dismayed when I received it. What is this polyester garbage? The item description called out “silk” as the fabric. Needless to say, the dress went back.

This dress, however, did not go back. In fact, it has prime real estate in my closet these days. I love that it is purple in lieu of black. More spring / summer friendly, less pajama feels. With this coat? Oh, I have been obsessing about it for awhile and finally pulled the trigger when a sale, promotional coupon, and Banana Republic Card rewards aligned bringing the grand total to under five dollars. #chaching

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Pivot Cable: Part I

If it is a crime to repeat items on the blog, then lock me up! Repeating clothing is a reflection of what we all do in real life and it is unrealistic not to wear pieces not only multiple times, but in a multitude of ways.

Several weeks ago I wore this skirt on the blog. Leading up to its purchase, I debated which color(s) I really wanted, at what price point I was willing to pull the trigger, and how I would wear it. I started to get stoked when I thought about this particular color combination. I love mixing statement-making, yet complementary colors. Truth be told, this outfit combination was inspired by a particular phase of J.Crew marketing circa 2008-2012.

 

The skirt is still available in tall (direct link because J.Crew was especially tricky and hid the tall version on the website). The Cambridge Cable Knit Sweater was an oldie-but-goodie and is no longer available, but unfortunately was not available in tall. Memo to J.Crew: Release your sweaters in tall! This is where Gap and Gap Factory have J.Crew beat. Unfortunately neither offer monogramming. #cannothaveitall

 

sweater (old, similar) // tank // skirt // clutch // scarf (old, Christian LaCroix) // shoe (old, similar) // necklace // earrings // rose gold cuff // watch // cocktail ring

Black to Basics

If you have not yet heard of SHPALA, it is time to take note. The brand was founded by a fellow 6′-2″ tall lady, with the intention to expand dress options for others who are vertically gifted. It is a capsule collection of black dresses; one for every occasion that may arise. In theory, one could get by with a closet solely consisting of these dresses.

Over the weekend I took the Cocktail Dress out for a spin. Y’all, it is gorgeous. Even though satin is not a particularly forgiving fabric, I found that the shape (specifically the flattering paneling of the dress) counterbalanced the fabric.

I have the worst memory of walking home from work in DC while wearing a pencil skirt. It was the dead of the summer 2012 and I was in a J.Crew number that I had seen on our then-First Lady. By the time I arrived home, I felt as though my legs were being bound by tight jacket. Chafe City, Population: me. Ever since that evening, I have frequently stuck with dresses (skirts, too) that are a-line, as opposed to a pencil, cut. The bonus is the front pleat on this dress, keeping the a-line style from bordering on too simple.

dress // coat // heels (old, similar) // clutch (old, similar, similar) // sunglasses // key necklace // knot ring // pearl cuff // black diamond cuff // green stone cuff // watch

All I Want for Christmas is Blue

The husband and I attended The Nutcracker ballet last Saturday evening. As we are members of the Pennsylvania Ballet, it was something that we looked forward to all holiday season. I was disappointed that we were unable to get tickets for before Christmas, but as it turned out it allowed us stretch out the holiday just a little longer and that was okay by me.

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I wore the same outfit to The Nutcracker that I wore to Christmas Eve dinner. I stand by wearing easy dresses for occasions such as these, and this velvet number was perfect. I love that I do not have to wear any shapewear beneath it, only standard underpants and a pair of opaque tights. While I initially yearned for the emerald green colorway, it was not available in my size and I was in a time crunch for something to wear. (Sidebar: this dress comes in tall.) This ended up being a good thing as the navy / black mix felt more unexpected.

The coat over my shoulders? A vintage Perry Ellis from my husband’s closet. (I linked a similar men’s blazer.) I knew I needed to wear is as it was the perfect outer piece for the black tights and navy dress. It just proves that you can (and SHOULD) break that old rule and mix the two colors.

 dress // coat // tights // heels // / necklace // similar // bracelet // earrings // black diamond cuff // green stone cuff // pearl cuff // quatrefoil ring // clutch (similar)

On Pointe

The husband and I had a date night last Saturday night. We are members of the Pennsylvania Ballet and their season opener was Sleeping Beauty. After the ballet, we went for dinner and drinks at Butcher and Singer.

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I attended a high school where traditionally the females to wear full length gowns for Homecoming and Prom. I (as well as my little sister) experienced copious stress in the months before these social events when it came to finding a dress long enough. (Fact: I still have all of the dresses.)

A few years ago, I was searching for a dress for a friend’s summer wedding. I happened to see a full length Parker gown in a Cusp and decided to try it on. While the dress was a bit too formal for a vineyard wedding, I took note that it was long enough. Weeks later and after the wedding, you can bet that I tracked that dress down and bought it.

But that is not the dress I wore to the ballet. I found another Parker dress that was long enough, given I wear a low heel. Then I purchased that same style in two other colorways: black and white print and a black / gold. Ladies, if you top 5′-11″, your closet needs this dress. Thank me later.

dress (alternate colorway) // dress (alternate colorway) // dress (alternate colorway) // dress (alternate colorway) // heels (old, Loeffler Randall) // clutch // quatrefoil ring // black diamond cuff // pearl cuff // green stone cuff // pearl earrings