Be Prepared! The post in which The Directrice gives you license to buy a party dress when you have no party invitations in hand and calls it “good planning.”
Lesson No. 1: Because it is hard to find a dressy dress when you desperately need one,
it makes sense to buy a party dress when you stumble across one. If you have one winter/fall dress and one spring/summer dress for special occasions, you are all set.* You can sit back and wait for invitations to weddings, fundraisers, and award dinners to arrive.
I have so much wisdom to impart today.
Lesson No. 2: Putting on a massive piece of glitzy jewelry can convert a borderline dress into a dressy dress. For instance, I have worn this charming black dress to work with black flats. But with Tutankhamun** around my neck, I am ready for an evening event.
This epic necklace was a gift from The Photographer. It looks like it was stolen from a pharaoh’s tomb, but in fact was manufactured recently and is made of gold plated copper wire. It’s incredibly light.
The necklace was originally 16 inches long, but it felt too tight — I think because this braided wire does not drape or mold the way a chain or string of beads does.
A too-tight necklace will not serve! I thought about sending it back to the maker and asking him to put an extender on the clasp and then I had an idea.
I realized I could remove the existing clasp, thread silk cords through the remaining eyes, and then tie the necklace at any length I wanted. I got on Etsy and ordered a skein of mixed yellow and gold cords, figuring that one of them would work.
Check it out!
I need to trim these cords so that the bow is smaller and tighter, but I want to leave enough cord to permit a range of lengths. With a different neckline, I would make the necklace longer.
You will need a pair of shoes and a little bag to go with your party dress. Black is a safe bet.
You’ve seen these sandals before. Very useful! They have a 3/4 inch heel —
a gold heel — that adds a little glamour and presence.
This is my summer party dress. Is it purple or gold?
I think it’s both.
I figured I’d try the gold necklace with the gold dress.
A few words about the dress. As you can see, the skirt is full and stiff — so it’s not the most flattering shape. I don’t look svelte in it. But it’s compelling, right? When I bought this dress several years ago (Gilt? YOOX?), the skirt was fuller and stood out farther, and more bizarrely, than you see here. Fatima slimmed it down for me.
I decided King Tut was too much with this dress — the gold of the necklace was so bright that it made the dress appear dull. Fortunately, I remembered something else that was in my jewelry drawer.
A friend of mine wore a beautiful Venetian, glass bead bracelet to my wedding. While chatting at the reception, I told her that I loved it.***
A week later, the bracelet was delivered to my office by a bike courier with the most charming note. I believe Vladimir Putin came to own Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl XXXIX ring under similar circumstances.
Thinking about the bracelet, I had another idea. Why not convert the bracelet into a necklace? Lesson No. 4!
I had worried about chipping the bracelet — glass beads — on my desk . . . but if I wore it around my neck, it would be safe. So I had a jeweler remove the clasp and pulled another silk chord from my Etsy skein. Et voila!
Lesson No. 5: The trick to matching a silk ribbon to gold (or silver or another metallic) is to go paler and greyer than the actual color you are trying to match. This approach is similar to the science of picking paint colors for your walls. Remember: That tiny swatch of color will be much brighter and lighter on the wall.
Isn’t this fabric beautiful? It looks pixels, like the dress is slowly being actualized. It also reminds me of Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.
Both Dresses: Moschino Cheap & Chic; Big Gold Necklace: Stelios (based in Norwalk, Connecticut); Small Gold Necklace: Beads purchased in Venice because Glass Is What You Buy There; Shoes: JCrew; Bag: Furla; Silk Cords: Etsy
* The trouble starts when you have more than one party dress for each season. That’s excessive, unless you go to a lot of fancy events.
** I remember visiting the Tutankhamun Treasures at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a child like it was yesterday.
*** I was not angling for the bracelet. I only admired it. I think my dear friend concluded that I liked it more than she did.