Where does the time go? I was supposed to finish the summer clothes in mid-September and then move on to our favorite of all the seasons: Sweater Weather. Instead, I’ve been dithering and am now showing you sleeveless summer-weight dresses in October — which must be causing seasonal dissonance. Except for my readers Down Under!
I also think I’ve lost my mind, because I am showing you a dress that is about to be altered. It’s neither “before” nor “after” — instead it’s pinned along the shoulder seams. Once it’s fixed, there will be no ruffles along the shoulder seams. Those ruffles are just excess fabric and are making me look a little hunched.
Why the rush? Well, I did think it would be instructive for you to see how things get taken in for me. But more importantly, I wanted to show you this charming COS dress, which is the perfect backdrop for a necklace that was acquired during the historic Art Jewelry Rush of January 2023.
I love COS, but it is an enigma to me.* Many of the clothes are directional pieces, often oversized or featuring challenging cutouts or both . . . and then, periodically, the company produces a very correct dress like this. There’s no irony here, no parody, no exaggeration. No subversion. This is simply a well-cut, classic feminine dress. This dress could have been made anytime in the last 30 years.
Arguably, the hemstitching is risque because the dress is not lined? But I can’t see my underwear through it. Can you?
To keep the dress from reading sweet, I’ve paired it with gladiator style sandals (graphically, a nice repeat of the hemstitching) and this beautiful filigree necklace by Amir Sheikhvand. I bought this piece from Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h in Montreal based on the photos and description on the website. I thought it was a brooch, only to discover a necklace when the box arrived. (I probably read the description in French, even though I don’t know French.) I am, however, very pleased that it is a necklace.
Come, take a closer look at this beautiful work of art.
The necklace is strung on leather ribbons that have been dyed a silvery color.
And now the subversion begins.
One morning last summer I woke feeling mischievous. I tamped that feeling down and donned a classic ensemble: sheath style dress, cap-toed flats, a brooch, and a slim belt to define the waist.
Except the dress was a denim dress with a frayed neckline and frayed armscyes, and the brooch was a comically oversized silk flower! A send-up of Lady Goes to Work.
One of my colleagues told me after a staff meeting that she could barely concentrate on the meeting because she couldn’t stop staring at my brooch. “In a good way!” she said.
A good way, indeed.
And now we finish the Summer Flush. One last dress.
I think I bought this JCrew dress in 2022. It had a ruffled flounce along the hem, but I (Fatima) removed the flounce, flattened it out, and reattached a flat strip as a border at the hem. The result is simply a seamless (appearing) a-line skirt.
The cut of this dress is fairly simple, except that it features a split waist — a way to show a little skin in the summer — making it a weekend dress.
But the real value in the dress is the print: a hazy, impressionistic lavender floral, with dabs of olive green in it that prevent the fabric from being sweet or girlish. Romantic and ethereal, with a little bit of tough.
This dress is perfect for weekend activities. Not cleaning or yardwork, but going out. It is also remarkable resilient after being folded, so good for travel, too.
I tell you this every summer, but it bears repeating: Check out JCrew’s dresses. Now I am saying it in the fall, too — though the advice is most pertinent to JCrew’s summer dresses.
Next week we sync up with the calendar and the D.C. weather forecasts. It’s been a beautiful fall so far.
* COS sizing is also an enigma. Normally, I take an XS or S in COS clothes, but this dress is a size 8 and fits like a glove through the bust, waist and hips. I recently bought a voluminous white COS shirt in size 2 and it was too small through the waist and too big everywhere else. But she persists!