In Which The Directrice Apologizes to a Dress

I don’t think I’ve ever advised you to buy only things that you absolutely love and see a clear and immediate use for. I’ve never subscribed to that philosophy. It’s OK periodically to buy something on the basis of a vague idea or because it meets a need tolerably well. The problems arise when the majority of your purchases inspire only lukewarm feelings and have no clear purpose.

I bought this dress at JCrew shortly after Christmas because it fit me very well, I sort of liked it, and it was deeply discounted.
Would you like to know why it’s ok to buy something that you don’t love upon first sight?
Because sometimes your initial assessment is wrong. And you subsequently realize that the dress you thought was so-so is actually beautiful and useful. Like this one.
To err is human and I am very human-like
Dress, I wronged you and must beg your forgiveness

This dress may fit me better than anything else I own
Looking at this dress in photos, I see that it may fit me better than anything else I own
I can justify my initial tepid response.
First, I wasn’t sure about what season this dress was intended for. I bought it on deep discount in late December, but it’s not a winter dress. I now see that it will be best in the spring — the cobalt and ivory lines — but would also work well in early fall.
Second, I wasn’t sure about the color scheme: black field with ivory, cobalt, and cocoa brown lines. Hmmmmmmm.
Third, I wasn’t sure about how the lines on the dress — like lines of longitude — would work on my rounded self.

This last concern was particularly unfounded. Look at how beautifully the lines drape around my torso and hips. It looks like a two-dimensional model of a space-time manifold molded by gravity.
Apparently, space-time curves around massive objects because of gravity
Apparently, space-time curves in the presence of mass; the cause may be gravity, good manners, or some combination of the two
Foolish, foolish Directrice
Space-time bending around Directrice; both of us say, Pardon me

This dress is lovely, but so preppy that it almost hurts. It needs some corrective gestures to make it chic. Any ideas?
Atypical pearls are a good start.
These large pearls are strung on a bulky metal chain that combines silver links and gold fastenings. The pendant is smoky quartz surrounded by pave diamonds.
The smoky quartz picks up the cocoa brown and persuades me that the color scheme is actually kind of genius.
A rugged pearl necklace is a good start
A rugged pearl necklace adds a little edge

Anyone?  Anyone?
Here, gravity takes all; fraying threads are spiraling into a black-hole singularity
What else? Any other ideas?
Yes! A denim jacket.

Any traditional denim jacket — the style Levi’s calls Trucker — would work, but I like this slightly cropped silhouette.
I also love the frayed edges.

3/4 denim jacket
Step back and see
A denim jacket works well with a dress like this if it is either shaped at the waist or cropped above or at the natural waist.

Anything else? We’re on a roll.
Instead of a black bag, my glossy blue tote.
Glossy blue bag
Glossy blue bag

Finishing things off, my purposefully mismatched shoes.
Mismatched shoes
Mismatched shoes

Glossy blue car
In this photo, I am the car’s accessory
Although The Photographer is generally forbidden from including cars in our photos —
which is hard when we photograph on the sidewalks in our neighborhood —
I made an exception today when we saw a car that matched the cobalt lines in my dress.

And now, a couple of random things that might bring a little joy to your week.

  • For those interested in the eaglets that hatched at the National Arboretum at the end of March: DC-4’s little leg got stuck in a y-shaped branch woven into the nest. Oh no! When it became apparent that neither he nor his mother (First Lady) could free his leg, an arborist climbed up, untangled him, tucked him in a sack, whisked him off to the vet, and brought him back 12 hours later. I am sure that the eagles believe that this was an alien abduction — high-speed transport, bright lights, probes — but everyone seems to be just fine 48 hours later. You can see the Eagle Cam footage here.
  • If you do not know Timo the Cat (a Ragdoll from the Netherlands), allow me to introduce you. I suggest you start with the koi pond. You will be in love in less than five minutes.

Dress: JCrew; Jacket: Marques Almeida; Bag: Coach Poppy Tote; Shoes: Tory Burch;
Necklace: David Yurman
Note the traffic lights in the distance, which The Photographer has blurred beautifully by using a short focal length — a bokeh effect.

Green light
Green light
Yellow light
Yellow light
Red light
Red light

12 thoughts on “In Which The Directrice Apologizes to a Dress”

  1. (I went to college with your wonderful spouse)
    I love this dress! Would never have noticed it on the hanger, but it’s spectacular. Doesn’t strike me as preppy at all. I hope JCrew is seeing this!

  2. Oh that dress loves your mass. I am totally charmed by the purposely mismatched shoes. They would make me smile every time I looked down at my feet. Thank you for Timo!

  3. I had one of these moments this weekend. About 20 years ago, my mother took me shopping in LA to get some evening basics. She made me buy a LS black chiffon shirt I wouldn’t have looked at twice, because I would have thought it a strange combo of Stevie Nix/avant garde/matronly. It has a strange, almost Victorian tipped collar if you button the one collar button, front ruffle from a slight v-neck, long, slightly ruffled and pointy/asymmetrical hem and angular cuffed long sleeves. It sat in my closet all that time. I clean out closets regularly, but never gave it up for some bizarre reason. I had a Bar Mitzvah to attend on Saturday and recently I’ve been going through yet another “Bring out your dead!” through my closet. Well, I put that shirt under a funky-yet-discreet satin snakeskin brown/black Robert Graham blazer and straight black slacks… and WOW! It looked great. Covered up and respectable, yet LA at its best. It’s my new favorite shirt. Everything old is new again and I think because I now AM that hippie/avant garde matron, it works great. As you would say, sometimes mothers know best. Yay!

    • Did everyone think that you were the owner of an art gallery? Did someone give you an art gallery just for wearing that outfit? Because it sounds pretty fantastic. Or, as my mother would say, “Very effective.” Mothers do know best. It’s a little unnerving, PJ . . .

  4. That is spectacular editing of items to work this lovely dress. Love the whole look and you should trust your instincts anew. Kate

  5. You have to admit that whoever designed this knew what they were doing. I like the wider row at high waist, and the downward curve/ triangle side slices at natural waist. It’s very clever. And very versatile. You have to feel sorry for it, because you won’t be the only one to have underestimated it – I guess that’s why it was in the sale! Preppy doesn’t translate that well for we Brits – to me it’s classic with a twist (bend!).

  6. You look seriously GREAT in that dress! Yes, you owed it an apology. I love the way you accessorized it (I don’t think I’ve ever used that word before) but I agree that it would also look great with high heels.

  7. I can’t believe an instant existed when you didn’t think this dress was becoming on you.

    “It looks like a two-dimensional model of a space-time manifold molded by gravity.” Was this co-written with somebody we both know?

    • The Photographer is also the Director of Basic and Applied Research at Directrice Global Industries Ltd and so all scientific and technical text is run by him. My first draft referred to something like “a bendy space-time graph” and he made the appropriate corrections.


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