I bought a sundress from The RealReal thinking it would be great for the weekends.
I had a whole vision. I thought I would wear it with a ribbed white tank top underneath and black platform sandals.
But when it arrived, it turned out to be something else entirely.
The fabric was a heavy cotton chintz. And the straps were just weird. I tried it on and looked like I was wearing a teepee tent.
The fabric, however, spoke to me. It reminded me of a dress that I had years ago and gave up as too short and too conventional (it was a not-very-well-cut sheath dress) even though I loved the muted black-and-white floral print, which looked like a Polaroid emulsion lift image filtered through a dream of a secret garden I’ve never visited. Longing sigh for haunting beauty.
So I came up with a new vision. A work/concert dress that is a little Rear Window, a little quirky.
All I had to do was remove the straps, put on a sleeveless blouse, and fasten a narrow belt around my waist. Et voila!
I’ve saved the best for last. The back!
Take a look and then carry on.
I am not a fan of drop-waisted dresses and skirts. I think that’s a tough silhouette to pull off — but I do think that drop-waisted dresses can look very elegant when belted at the natural waist.
This bodice was constructed, purposely, with volume and when belted creates a blouson effect. I like it, but readily admit that it makes me look a little . . . puffy. That’s O.K.
The blouson effect is compounded by the pleats at the dropped waist, which are interestingly constructed.
I don’t even have the words to describe them, but there is elaborate folding and tacking.
But here’s where things get really interesting. The back.
This dress has an open back that is cinched by a wide band of black elastic. Why? I could not say — but that opening, which looks like a beautiful shell, is kind of cool.
Here is the dress unbelted. You can see how much it would not have fulfilled my casual, floaty sundress plans. It was also a few inches longer. It looked so terrible on me.
The Photographer took these photos while I was putting on my lipstick.
Good news! Measurements are back on The RealReal!
Dress: Marni; Blouse: Banana Republic Riley Tailored Fit Shirt (very useful, you might want to pick one up); Shoes: Cole Haan; Belt: JCrew; Bag: Sophie Hulme