A Black and White Bouquet

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.
It was going to be for chic errand running; but, no

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.
Could do for work and after-work function

All I had to do was remove the straps, put on a sleeveless blouse, and fasten a narrow belt around my waist. Et voila!
What’s that? Too many visions?

I’ve saved the best for last. The back!
Take a look and then carry on.
We’ll come back to the back

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.
A little puffy, or perhaps poofy?

This is not a body-conscious dress
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.
I cannot explain why it exists or why, exactly, I like it

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.
So terrible
Even attitude could not save it

The Photographer took these photos while I was putting on my lipstick.
I am being up-skirted by my own cat
He looks like he can’t handle what he saw

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

9 thoughts on “A Black and White Bouquet”

  1. Up-skirted by your own cat…I can never unsee those images of Philo. That’s hilarious and just so wrong. I nearly choked on my laughter. Thank you, I think.

  2. You’ve done an amazing job with this. You’re right that, unbelted, it’s a sad sight. You’ve made it so adorable with your adaptations. Your eye for structure and detail and potential is enivable. When will you design your own line? You and Fatima would be an impressive team.

  3. I actually like it unbelted, too. Has a fun flapper vibe to it, although it doesn’t work nearly as well with the shirt in that form.

    • Rightly or wrongly, I don’t think I look very good in skirts. Or most skirts. This fabric might have been particularly challenging, because it is sort of stiff. Obviously, we can revisit the idea in a year or two!


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