Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Story From My Life


I try to live my life without regrets.  I mean generally speaking, if my thoughts are stuck in the past, how am I moving forward?  This is my line of thinking, even if I am not always perfect in it.  Try is the key word right?

Who hasn't felt regret for a fashion choice though (or choices maybe)?   Usually when I think of fashion regrets, I think of acid-washed tapered leg jeans and florescent colored accessories; stirrup pants and slap bracelets (yes I am of the age group that loved these).  Luckily, a whole half decade of people joined me in these more unsightly fashion choices so I feel little to no regret for wearing rolled down socks, with  Keds, a puffy paint shirt, and stirrup pants.  I am however, haunted (yes, haunted) by a wrong choice of a different nature. Unrequited love...fashion-style.  It involves NOT keeping a certain little black dress. The perfect little black dress. I will explain.

Seven years ago it was 2003 and I was about to turn 22 years old.  I was young, just out of college, poor, and up to my eyeballs in student loan debt.  I worked two jobs.  One was an entry-level managerial position and the other was a position with Williams-Sonoma as a visual merchandiser; a job I really loved despite the very conservative dress code.  Amidst this debt-infused, yet carefree time in my life I was diagnosed with colon cancer and an incurable colon disease all in the same day.   So what did I do that week? I purchased a very expensive outfit that involved the afore-mentioned black dress above.   It was this amazingly perfect black wrap-styled t-shirt dress from Banana Republic that was very well fitted and had fantastic tayloring with a wonderfully crisp deep black cotton.  The dress had a very 50's feel to it, yet with a modern touch and it was $200, which was a lot for me back then.  I of course did not have shoes worthy of this dress and I found fantastic, very high heeled and pointy toed Mary Jane heals at Nordstrom that were also out of my price range at around $150.  I had a rough week and bit the bullet.  The outfit was very classic looking and I was excited to give myself something that helped me feel great at a time when I felt wretched in every other way.

It was early June, which is a very temperamental time here in Portland, weather-wise.  My perfect new outfit was in my closet waiting for a fair-weathered day.  Only the fair-weathered day must not have come because it still had tags on it about a month and 1/2 later when I found out I was pregnant.  Somehow a stunning three-inch heal no longer seemed practical and neither did a fitted black dress.   When would I have the opportunity to wear them?  I didn't particularly imagine myself as the 50's perfect mother type.  You know....perfectly coiffed, perfectly dressed, heals...red lipstick and a baby on my side. Would I ever be a size 0 again I wondered?  I just wasn't sure.  I also knew that $350 would put a serious dent in my crib fund thanks to my 40% Pottery Barn Kids discount (WS is very generous in that way).  So, the dress and heals went back from whence they came.

I should have kept the dress.  Seven years later, I can think of so many times that wonderfully perfect dress would have come in handy.  It would still fit too--if I owned it that is... even if I am  a semi-squishy variation of my pre-pregnancy self, maintained only by my partial colectomy.  Why am I thinking of this now?   I have a tendency to think of it when I have occasion to wear something like it.  For instance, a wedding I am RSVP'd for a month from now would be a perfect occasion.  I have been looking for a similar dress for years without finding a good match.  Not even from Banana Republic surprisingly enough, I mean, don't they recycle their designs???  Generally, I'll find the t-shirt dresses are too casual looking with a hint of surplus and the wrap dresses just have too much fabric.  This season is proving to be no less challenging.  The closest match I have come up with  is a Diane von Furstenburg number that isn't really what I want and it's priced at $395 no less.  Expensive taste? You should see the Manolo Blahnik heels I thought would go perfectly with it.  I could post pictures, but it might be unkind.

I will post some realistic pictures however.   Here is a dress Banana Republic currently offers.



You will notice that it is a wrap-style dress.  It's silk, which I am sure feels lovely against the skin.   It also looks as though it would accessorize well.  But did you notice that it's missing about 6 inches of fabric from the hem?   I may be slender, but I'm not a model and I'm not 19.  Wearing such a short dress seems scandalous to me...and not in a good way.

J. Crew also has a dress that could perhaps be a decent alternative.


My beef with this dress however, is that it is taffeta.  It would be so much better if it were a cotton/silk fiber blend!  Taffeta seems too bridesmaid-ish.  It doesn't have the same wearability factor that I'm seeking.  I want a fabulous jackie-of-all-trades kind of dress.  On a side note, did you see the cover of the most recent J. Crew catalogue?  I *heart* this outfit below.  It's perfectly me.  And the hat!  I might have to have it...and the pencil skirt too.



Oh well, I'll keep looking.  I am determined that someone, someone will design a similar perfect black dress again.  I am an optimistic kind of girl after all.  In the meantime, I am still on the hunt for a dress to wear to a wedding.  If you have ideas, please feel free to pass them my way.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the picture at the top is not mine.  It was featured on the front page of Etsy today and I think it is soooooooooo beautiful.  The shop is called ThisYearsGirl and can be found here.  An 8x10 of this print is offered for $22.50 plus minimal shipping charges.

1 comment:

janet said...

I love that Etsy shop..her photography is beautiful. I am so sad for your loss...of the dress that is. One day you will be walking down the street or browsing through a catalogue when BAM!!!!! you will spot the perfect little black dress...I just know it ;-)