The Return of the Two-Faced Dress

I’ve been blogging long enough that I feel completely justified in showing you something you’ve seen before — particularly when I’ve sort of forgotten it myself.

Had you forgotten this charming dress from 3.1 Phillip Lim?
I hadn’t forgotten the dress, but I had forgotten how nice it looks.
Such a Lady!

Are you quickly running through all of your memories to see if you do in fact remember?
When shown to you previously, I wore it as a sleeveless dress (which it is) and over a lightweight merino wool crew neck sweater.
Today, I am wearing it over a tissue-weight cotton turtleneck, which may be my favorite look of all.

This dress is half wool challis with a woven windowpane check and half silk. The two fabrics are pieced together with a wonderful jigsaw border, which you can see in the bodice.
Note: When I bought the dress, the wool challis was very soft and had a wonderful hand (as the drapers say). After drycleaning, the fabric lost that soft, supple quality. It’s still a fine, smooth wool, but it’s somewhat stiff.
The dress lost its hand

ThE dREsS lOst ITS hAnD? What is she saying
She’s using draper-talk

My cameo — which can be worn as a necklace or a brooch — is the prize of a Terminator-like shopping expedition in Sorrento Italy.
The Photographer finds shopping with me very entertaining and a little unnerving. I can walk down a street of window-fronts filled with merchandise at an exercise-pace and then stop, pivot, and enter a store on a dime when something computes.
The Treasure of Sorrento

I was recently in New Orleans and inventoried the entire contents of a crowded jewelry store in the French Quarter in less than ten minutes yet am certain that I walked out with the very best thing — which is a carved jade pendant that only cost $60. It’s very interesting and I look forward to showing it to you.
The cameo enthusiasts may already know this, but for everyone else: It’s very hard to find a round cameo. Most are ovals. I can’t imagine why, but it’s true.
Treasure real close; this cameo, and many we saw in Italy, are made from carnelian shell

It’s also hard to find a cameo that features a scene or multiple figures, rather than an individual face. That makes more sense because it’s challenging to work on such a small scale.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your Leap Day!
Dress: 3.1 Phillip Lim; Turtleneck: JCrew; Shoes: Tory Burch

6 thoughts on “The Return of the Two-Faced Dress”

  1. I love the brooch. I love that it contains a scene with multiple figures. I have a brooch that is also a pendant handed down to my MIL from her MIL, which puts it back into the 19th Century, and I wore it last night for the first time in many years. It’s not a cameo, just a piece of malachite surrounded by tiny pearly things–perhaps pearls–and intricate silver work.

    Your dress’s loss of hand (har-har) makes me wonder whether hand washing it would restore the softness. I have recently read some rather convincing arguments* for hand washing many of the items marked “dry clean only”. I would love to know how you and your readers think on this subject.

    *Joie Kerr who writes for NYTimes and has a podcast, “Ask a Clean Person.”

  2. Ooh, that seamwork is a marvel! And I thought I was good at the hard-target search, but Terminator level — there’s no beating that. Beautiful cameo, and it doesn’t seem to tug on the silk at all; how did you manage that?

    *To Hope and Desh: The Laundress’ Wool and Cashmere Shampoo is excellent, very gentle and softening (leaves just a tiny bit of scent).

  3. The brooch looks nice, balancing out the two sides of the dress.

    I’m OK with hand washing natural fabrics that say dryclean only, but I think I would consider taking the dress to a different drycleaner and talking with them about the situation first. If you hand wash you have to press and while I don’t see any pleats in the photo -pleats are so hard to restore- who knows if the seams where wool meets silk will play nicely together after a bath. It’s a nice dress and here we are moving into temperatures where a silk dress with a swath of wool would be just right.

  4. I was also recently in New Orleans, and my husband and I completely lost our minds in Promenade Fabrics. Now I regret passing on a brilliant red wool challis, and not stopping in more of the jewelry and other stores! This dress is so much fun.


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