Best Dress-ed

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Way back in March when I compiled my Spring Wish List, I longed for a new summer dress. An easy, simple, casual-ish dress that I could gussy up with heels, if I needed to, or wear with flats to lunch with friends. A dress suitable for my new, casual, post-work life. Definitely NOT a “wear to work” dress. I already had a couple of those that I was considering sending to the consignment store.

And then in early May, I saw this little video on Matches Fashion.com. Designer Emilia Wickstead in conversation with Elizabeth Saltzman of Vanity Fair, about Wickstead’s newest capsule collection. Of dresses. Have a listen.

London-based, but New Zealand born and Milan raised, Wickstead has had the good fortune to dress Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, in her designs. Remember that sweet green coat Kate wore on St. Patrick’s Day a couple of years ago? No? Then, let this article bring you up to date on the lovely Ms. Wickstead. So nice to hear designers talking about well made clothes that cater to what women want to wear. After I watched the video, I went trolling for inspiration on the MatchesFashion.com website. And found these dresses. Easy. Casual-ish. Not too short. Not maxi length… which looks horrid on me. I’d wear any one of these dresses. You can find them all here, if you’re interested.

 Emilia Wickstead dress found on Matchesfashion.com
Max Mara Studio dress found on Matchesfashion.com
Diane Von Furstenberg dress found on Matchesfashion.com
Dress by Self Portrait on Matchesfashion.com
And then suitably inspired, I started trolling the stores, for a summer dress that would suit me. I won’t bore you with my frustrating experiences in some of Ottawa’s “fast fashion” stores. I’m saving that for another post. Oh yea. I have quite a lot to say about that.

For now, let’s just say that I ended up at Nordstrom, where I should have headed straight away. And consulted with my buddy Liz. While I was twirling in front of the mirror in a lovely, lilac tunic dress from Vince, Liz disappeared, and reappeared in the door of the changing room with this navy, mesh “Luna” shift dress from Rag and Bone. “Sue. Try this one,” she said. So I did. On the hanger it didn’t look like much. But… oh my, I loved it the moment I slipped it on. It is, hands down, the best dress I’ve ever owned.

Rag and Bone Luna shift dress, Munro sandals.
Rag and Bone Luna shift dress, Munro sandals.
My new best dress is navy; I love navy. And it’s comfy to wear. Loose without being too full. Short without being too short. It looks youthful… and since it hides all the bits that want hiding… totally age appropriate. And with the sportswear inspired, cotton mesh over the silk lining, it’s just a teensy bit edgy. I love the black ribbon trim around the neck, sleeves, and hem, and the exposed zipper in back. And the length which allows me to wear a small heel, or flat sandals if I want. You can see some of the detail better in this shot below.
My new best dress looks great with these Munro Nubuck sandals. I searched and searched for sandals with a small heel. And I almost didn’t try these on because they looked so boring sitting on the shelf at the shoe store. But, like the dress, I loved them once I had them on. The sling-back strap fastens with velcro, which makes this hard-to-fit shopper very happy.  And in my new sandals and my new best dress, with my old Cole Haan bag which I have not been able to consign or toss because I love the shape and style, I feel like a million bucks. Maybe even a little bit lady-like. Just when I thought I’d abandoned my lady-like outfits forever. This will be perfect to wear to that retirement party I’m attending next week.
Rag and Bone Luna shift dress, Munro sandals, Cole Haan bag..
My new dress also looks good with flat sandals, and a more casual bag, for summer lunching on a patio somewhere. I may even try wearing white skinny jeans under it. And for travel, it will pack well, and won’t wrinkle. It’s the perfect dress for my post-work, retirement life.
And speaking of retirement brings me to that new decade which I’m currently edging into… which brings me to that phrase I uttered a few paragraphs back. Age appropriate. Gasp. I know, I know… age appropriate is supposed to be a dirty word, or phrase, these days. Our age should not dictate what we wear or don’t wear. I, too, hate all those articles which tell us what we’re not supposed to wear after thirty, or forty… or sixty. But I must admit, my body and my face are changing, and most of that change is due to the passage of time… and gravity, of course. I can still look good in some things, and totally ridiculous in others. So while I won’t be dictated to by some blog or magazine article as to what I cannot wear, I need to listen to my mirror and my gut. If something feels too young, it probably is. If an outfit, which still fits my body, feels as if it doesn’t go with me, at age sixty, I won’t feel comfortable in it. And I shouldn’t wear it.
But having said all that. This short dress, with the very trendy, sports inspired mesh… feels totally appropriate for me… at age sixty. As I said above… best dress I’ve ever owned.
So. Tell me this… if I’m wearing a ‘best dress’ … does that make me eligible for the “best dress-ed list?” Ha.
It does in my house, folks!
So… any dress-y tales to tell, this week, dear readers? Age appropriate, or inappropriate, comments to make?

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44 thoughts on “Best Dress-ed”

  1. You found the perfect dress! I, also, have a casual summer dress on my wishlist, but, alas, no luck yet. I will keep up the hunt. I have been contemplating those Munro peeptoes. May I ask what color are yours? Looks like the perfect nude sandal. A perfect summer outfit!

    1. Thanks, Patricia. As for my new Munro sandals…the style is Abby, and the colour is rose. They are made of Nubuck leather, which I like because it's so soft and easy on the feet. I like the dark brown heels and soles.. makes the light colour of the uppers a little less girly.
      Good luck with the dress hunting. It is not for the faint of heart:)

  2. That's a clever dress . It looks simple at first glance but is actually very complicated . You'll have fun dressing it up & down too . You've got the age appropriateness ( is that a word ? ) just right – elegant but edgy . As you say , not always easy for us . Plus I love navy too & my only dress now is a navy shirt style , longer at the back than the front – very casual .
    Wendy in York

    1. It does look deceptively simple. The cut is simple..but the mesh in the front is different from the back and sleeves. I liked that bit. I love navy. I guess that's why I love dark wash jeans the best. Navy always looks so fresh, especially with white or pink. Well..some pinks…at 60 I must choose my pinks carefully. Mutton, lamb and all that.

  3. You found the perfect dress, sassy and stylish highlighting your great legs. Those sandals are great too with a little edge. At any age I think the key to looking good is to play up the good bits and work around the less good. Interesting accessories help and you do those very well. I'm sure you'll get lots of wear out of that dress. Enjoy Iris

  4. Best dressed, indeed! The best part is how at ease you look in it, too. I am still searching for the perfect casual T-shirt dress that's easy to throw on and always looks good.

    1. Thanks, Adele. It feels so great when you pull something on and it just suits you. Good luck with the the shirt dress hunting. They are hard to find, aren't they. Cut is everything with them, I think. And weight of fabric. I've tried a couple on and OMG…couldn't get it off fast enough.

  5. You look fabulous in that dress and those shoes!!! Show off those legs girl!!! This post is so timely for me as I have been struggling with the *age-appropriate* thing for a few weeks now. I have been purging my closet of lots of pants especially those that I feel I purchased in a fit of wanting to avoid at all cost the "granny look." I am slender and I can get away with younger styles, but to be honest, when I wear them I feel very self-conscious. So all my skinny jeans and leggings are slowly going to be donated or consigned soon. I am keeping the slim leg styles to keep in step with the current pant silhouette. I do feel the best about myself when I wear a slim or straight leg as opposed to a skinny leg even though I always wore a long tunic with the skinny pants. I guess that is where fashion is for me at the age of 67. I have decided that clothes have to "feel" right to me in order to feel good about my appearance. This is my new shopping guide as I look toward late summer and fall fashions. I love your blog.

    1. Thanks, Dee Dee. You're right (well as far as I'm, concerned) you have to feel good in something. And it doesn't matter how many people tell you otherwise… if you don't feel it you won't wear it.
      P.S. I have an aunt we have always called Dee Dee.

  6. Wow, your friend Liz is worth her weight in gold! That is one fabulous dress, so becoming and versatile. I'm another lover of navy, from all the way back to my school uniform. Those sandals are lovely too.

  7. That's a great dress! And I have one that ticks some similar boxes, such that I'm wondering if we could be Ladies Who Lunch in Almost Matching Navy Dresses when we meet. Mine's a bit less edgy, a bit more sporty-casual, but the short sleeves laser-cut lace which compare well to yours. Mine's navy cotton eyelet, similar loose sheath/shift profile, similar length, but mine has side-seam pockets and a buttoned placket opening to just above waist. J. Crew, late summer '14. What do you say, Want to be Twinsies in Ottawa? 😉

  8. What an AWESOME dress!! You look wonderful, very much at home, very much yourself. (I keep hoping I'll find a dress that does the same for me…no luck yet.) The sandals are a great pick, they keep the look light and summery.

    1. Thanks Sue. I've been looking for a dress for a couple of years now. They're always too long, too short, too tight-fitting… too something. Until this one.

  9. I love this dress. You look great,modern,elegant,classy
    I have seen very similar model on the concert the other night- it just was the dress I wanted to have!
    Dottoressa

  10. Such a lovely dress! I have a hard time finding warmer weather dresses, since my legs are incredibly veiny, and usually bruised, and my knees are a mess from various accidents over the years. It's hard to find a petite dress that is not a maxi, but not above the knee.

    Yours looks fabulous on you. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Julia. Your comment reminds me of a pair of sandals I had with a squeak…and I kept forgetting about it until I was supervising an exam at school. Annoying for the kids, that's for sure!

  11. What an asset Liz is! Having someon who knows their stock well and also knows your style must be such a great help. Your new dress, really is perfect and I'm sure you'll find lots of opportunities to wear it. At the risk of repeating myself, yet again, the word "versatile" springs to mind! 🙂 the same applies to your new sandals, as they'll work with jeans and trousers as well as dresses and skirts. Good choice!
    When shopping for a dress I want to slip it on and feel as comfortable as I do in jeans! I'm already dreading shopping for my "Mother of the Bride" outfit for next year. Well, not dreading exactly, as I know I'll have a great time shopping with my daughter but perhaps not looking forward to it as much as I should be!!
    Hope you're having a good week! Weathers beautiful here at the moment.
    Rosie

    1. "Mother of the Bride" always conjures such staid images on this side of the Atlantic. But on another blog the other day I read about women wearing chic pant suits etc to their child's wedding. I'm sure that like these women you won't let the stereotypical role dictate your outfit, Rosie!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Oh… I used to moan about my skinny legs as a teenager, but I just needed to grow into them, so to speak. And running/jogging for years didn't hurt.

  12. Leslie in Oregon

    I can see why this is your best dress ever: the whole outfit does you justice! Well done, Leslie

    1. Thanks, Leslie. I wore it to my former principal's retirement party and it passed the test… i.e. lots of my former colleagues loved it. Or at least they said so. And I felt very comfortable in it.

  13. youthful…..says a mouthful….I have a hard time finding proper (Egads!) clothing as I inch towards 60 myself. beautiful dress…I don't want to wear off the shoulder and pom poms….(been there, done that!)

    1. It does, doesn't it? Hard to put into words that feeling that we don't want to be 25 again, at least I don't. Nor do we want to look like we're trying to look 25. But we still want to wear clothes that aren't pigeon-holed as being for the over 50 crowd. I'm not going the off the shoulder route either. I think those tops and dresses look contrived…and too girly for me. Oh…and no poms poms. haha.

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