Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pleated White Blouse

I don't wear white shirts and blouses as much as I feel I should. Style gurus are always saying that a flattering white shirt is a wardrobe essential. Designers I admire, like Carolina Herrerra, are constantly being photographed in them, looking crisp and elegant. Each time I see one of those photos, I think about how great she looks, and how wonderful an idea it is to pair a haberdashery classic with a shiny satin floor-length skirt, and maybe a silk scarf tied at the waist like a belt.

I do own two well-fitting white shirts. But I never wear them. Sometimes I'll try one of them on when I'm getting ready to go out for a weeknight dinner and am trying to figure out what to wear over a pencil skirt. But, to my mind, it always just looks too business-y and I end up swapping it out for a camisole and cardigan or for a short-sleeved cashmere crewneck.

Have you ever been similarly perplexed? Do you think white shirts really are the wardrobe staple that fashion mavens make them out to be? How do you like to wear yours? Any tips for femming them up?

The blouse in the photo above is nonetheless gorgeous and just the kind of piece I would feel I ought to buy as a staple. I've vowed not to buy any more white shirts until I've started to wear the ones I already have but I'm still pleasantly mesmerized by this one's elaborate fold and tucks and its unusual sleeves.

Shirt by 3.1 Phillip Lim. Image from Vogue, July '07.

Knotted Raspberry Suede Pumps

These Louboutins are terrific. So many of his shoes that have been featured in magazines lately (and even that I've been seeing in the stores) are way too trendy and over-the-top. A couple of years back, during the reign of the 'ladylike look', I remember coveting his shoes as much as Manolo Blahnik's, but that was before he started heeling the most outrageously-clad celebrities.

Maybe these pumps signal an intention to take his designs in a direction that's a little more classic. They're discreet but still ooze personality and look like they'll age beautifully. The rich berry shade would do a good job of perking up fall/winter's subdued black, brown and navy but also look swell paired with brights or pastels on formal occasions in spring and summer.

Shoes by Christian Louboutin. Image from Vogue, July '07.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Color Palette: Magenta, Turquoise and Pale Pink

Sometimes a great outfit takes its inspiration from a color scheme instead of from specific items of clothing. It seems that that's one of the places where an eye for fashion and an eye for interior decorating signal their common source. But for me to get inspired enough to try putting together an outfit based on an idea for a combination of colors, the color scheme in question has to be particularly unusual. I can't just start out with the idea of black and white or black and red and build something fabulous from there.

I'm saving the photo above for a time when I actually own clothing that's turquoise or fuschia. Or maybe the picture will even be inspiration to acquire pieces in those colors, since now I'll have a sense of what to do with them. I love the two bold colors, anchored by the neutral variation on one of them. The effect is bright but not gaudy, which is hard to pull off. It's the pale pink that makes it work, I think, since it acts almost as a neutral. Imagine the shoes and clutch in other colors, like fuschia or turquoise or black or silver or gold or even white, and the whole effect would be ruined.

Dress is Dior by John Galliano. Image from Vogue, July '07.

Patterned Evening Gowns

Looking through Vogue's photographic coverage of the Met Costume Institute's gala to celebrate the opening of the Poiret exhibit, I noticed that all the evening gowns that seemed completely of-the-moment were patterned. Maybe many of the attendees were wearing bold patterns to honor Poiret but it's an interesting trend nonetheless. My favorites are the three above.

The first dress is jaw-dropping and reminds me of something out of a John William Waterhouse painting, like 'Circe Invidiosa'. There's something Art Nouveau about the pattern and the watery blues would befit the sultriest nymph or siren. Right now, the back seems to me like such a great part of the body to show off for evening: stong, sexy, mysterious, unexpected.

The second dress is demure almost to the point of severity, but the pattern saves it, making it seem opulent instead. I'm excited to see the long short sleeves, which I wrote about a couple of weeks back. I think part of what makes them work so well here is that they end right at the thinnest part of the waist and therefore help accentuate it. I love the flattering boat neck and the way the sleeves, neckline and hem are edged with white, a detail which makes the garment look particularly carefully finished.

The third gown is a total Southern Belle fantasy with its small sweet floral, tiny bodice and enormous, crinolined skirt. But the contrasting large black flower and black detailing high on the waist rescue it from the realm of historical costume and transform it into a playful, nostalgic wink at the past.

Though I don't have plans to attend a ball anytime soon, these are still a fashion inspiration.

First dress, vintage Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano. Second dress by Oscar de la Renta. Third dress by Rochas. All images from Vogue, July '07.

Pastel Tights

I love the pastel-colored cable-knit tights that have been creeping into the glossies over the past few months. It's an interesting new idea that, when it's done right, seems to have the potential to look cozy and romantic at the same time. It would also be practical on winter days, when you're tired of pants but want to stay warm.

I've been trying to figure out the rules for making pastel tights look unfrumpy and it seems like there are two ways to go. One option is shown in the first photo, where the tights are in a slightly offbeat color that contrasts with the rest of the outfit. I think you'd need a lot of confidence about your legs, if you were going to highlight them like this. The other, more forgiving idea for how to wear them is shown in the second photo, where the color of the tights tones in with the rest of the look, which is all in shades of the same hue. Either way, it seems key that the tights should be textured like the cable-knit examples above, so the look is cozy and feminine, as opposed to bright and either mod or 80s-ish.

What do you think? Is this a good look or are there too many potential ways to get it wrong?

Images from Vogue, July '07.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amethyst Silk Blouse

This blouse is ultra-glamorous and from the way the silk hangs, it looks like it has a heavy, decadently sensual feel. The rich, gem-like color doesn't hurt either.

I like the way the sleeves have a some volume, but in a really controlled way. They stay streamlined over the upper arm and balloon near the elbow, letting those with less than twiggy upper arms participate in the current trend towards exaggerated shapes. Even if you're proud of your triceps, the key to wearing the trend without looking like a fashion victim is in the balance of loose and fitted, with fitted predominating.

I picture the blouse worn with a high-waisted navy pencil skirt, maybe a pair of nude fishnet stockings and peep-toe heels. A delicate gold necklace would be pretty, too.

Blouse by Lanvin. Image from Harper's Bazaar, July '07.

Missoni Dress

This dress and the belt it's shown with in the first photo make me salivate. The style is simultaneously retro, because of its fitted shape, and totally of-the-moment, thanks to its swooping, billowing sleeves. The fabric drapes gorgeously and its unique pattern combines some of my favorite warm earth tones. I love it paired with the dark, cable-knit tights as in the first image, but it would also work fine with a bare leg on early fall days. It seems like such a great work dress, and could easily be paired with some round toe pumps like the black or grey ones I wrote about a couple of days ago.

Something I find strange is that if I'd just seen the second photo in a magazine, I think I would have passed the dress by entirely. It can be hard to picture what some of the past few seasons' voluminous clothes will look like on. I guess there's a lesson here about keeping an open mind about what styles might work for you and remembering when you're out shopping that it can be good to occasionally try on shapes that you might not usually wear. Who knows, maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I'm also amused that the dress was featured in both Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Seems like I'm not the only one crushing.

Dress by Missoni. First image from Harper's Bazaar, July '07. Second Image from Vogue, July, '07.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pony-Hair Doctor's Bag

This bag would be an excellent day tote investment. Neutral colors, check. Luxurious materials, check. Structured shape, check. Capacious but not freakishly so, check. I love the hardware on it, which is refined and understated, unlike much of the rest of what's out there.

Bag by Bing Bang. Image from Harper's Bazaar, July '07.

Sky High Pumps

Who says that work shoes can't be sexy? I think closed toe pumps are some of the hottest shoes out there. Their appeal is similar to that of the entirely covered-up yet totally foxy outfit. The clothes are suggestive because of the way they hug the figure: picture a standard knee-length pencil skirt and figure-skimming crew neck t-shirt. Likewise, the allure of a closed toe pump is all in the shape of the shoe and its heel.

Each of these pairs of shoes gives me hope for the potential of fall work clothes. The black pair fits the basic, boring description of "plain black work pumps". Except that they're about as far from basic as you can get. The shape and ultra high heel save the day. Who wouldn't relish the thought of slipping them on before heading out the door for the office each morning?

The grey flannel pair are a sweeter and more unexpected take on sexy. They're still going to be very versatile, but their slightly scalloped edge and classic menswear fabric gives them personality.

Finally, the shiny leopard print pumps maybe aren't for every workplace but they are undeniably hot while technically staying well within the bounds of work-appropriateness.

Shoes like these are such morale boosters. They let you keep your style-loving self-respect while maintaining your credibility on the job. And as if that weren't enough, they also pair wonderfully with evening looks on days when you're heading out on the town straight from work.

Black pumps, maker uncredited. Grey pumps by Stuart Weitzman. Leopard pumps by Christian Louboutin. Images from Harper's Bazaar, July '07.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beat-the-Heat Dresses

Some summer days when, like the jazz standard, it's too darn hot, you want something you can just throw on. Something as non-restrictive and non-wrinkly as a t-shirt but that wouldn't involve nudity from the waist down. And also, it goes without saying, something prettier. Here are two options.

The first is so casual you could wear it with wedge espadrilles to watch a ball game. All those poor other women have descended into baseball jersey hell and there you are, just as cute and blasé, but also well-dressed.

The second is a tad dressier thanks to its striking but not strident color and non-jersey fabric. To be a little fancier, you could swap out the string belt for a silk scarf or a ribbon in a contrasting, neutral color like navy, white or beige. And if you wanted to wear the dress again when the weather cools down, say in the evening, you could switch the belt for something wide, tightly-cinched and patent leather.

First dress by Michael Michael Kors. Second dress by Banana Republic. Images from Fashion, May 2007.

Little White Dresses

I'm a huge fan of the little white dress. And not just for summer. Why should something so simple and timeless be restricted to one season? With the proper styling, I'd wear it in the spring and fall too. Off-season, I particularly like the idea of layering a simple white dress with knit tops and possibly even cable-knit tights in various shades of cream and light beige.

Anyway, here are two great examples of the classic, unadorned for summer. Both are easy to wear shapes in cool, washable cotton. The cutout detailing at the hem of the first dress and the tiny gathers on the bodice lend delicacy to its otherwise basic design. The second dress is a little more structured: a blank, figure-skimming canvas, with the exception of the few tough studs on the waistband. Like most little white dresses, it's easy to imagine them dressed up for evening with shimmering, sky-high sandals or dressed down for a casual Saturday with a heel of a more comfortable height or utilitarian color.

First dress by Dallin Chase. Image from Lucky, July '07. Second dress by J. Lindeberg Denim. Image from Fashion, May '07.

Crisp Brown Pants

I am so in love with these pants! It's a rare occasion when I find a pair to get excited about. Even though pants are wonderfully practical, especially in cold weather, its hard to find ones that are feminine and polished while navigating the slender, age-appropriate region between teenybopper and matron. And when I do find a pair that meets all those criteria, it's usually made of some boring material in one of four basic colors: denim blue, black or, to spice things up, charcoal grey or chocolate brown.

Then there are just so many subtle variables in terms of how pants fit that you always have to try on dozens of styles without much of an idea in advance of what will work on your particular body shape. If it fits at the waist, it doesn't on the butt. Or they're great but pricey and are so crazy long that they'd still need to be hemmed. Or the leg shape is too trendy. Or too frumpy. I'm sure you can relate.

But these pants are an inspiration. Let's start with the fabric and color: crisp non-jeany denim in a neutral but somewhat unexpected russet brown, as opposed to the usual chocolate. Then there's the fit: lean and fitted through the hips and thighs but with a bootcut leg that is both forgiving and timeless. These babies look like they could go anywhere.

Pants by Tevrow + Chase. Image from Lucky, July '07.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Braided Gold Watch

I'm not a watch person. I used to be, but I find that going watch-less makes me feel so much more carefree (read: obsess less about being on time). Also, wearing a big piece of jewelry like a watch every day can really limit your look. It's always there and therefore always something that needs to be planned around. But this watch makes me want to reassess my anti-watch policy.

This watch is gorgeous and classic with its braided gold band, but also modern because of its rectangular face. Even in the photo, it has a suggestion of oversized heft to it, which toughens it up just enough. Plus, it's basically commitment-free, since it only costs $49. You could just wear it once in a while and would never even have to worry about losing it, the way you would a serious, expensive watch.

Watch by Spiegel. Image from Lucky, July '07.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Design Detail: The Long Short Sleeve

Look at the sleeves in the photo above. They're what I think of as a long short sleeve. The long short sleeve is like a short sleeve only better. It’s like a regular short sleeve in that they both keep you cool in warm weather. But it’s better because the long short sleeve is more polished than its abbreviated counterpart. It also flatters upper arms that are less than perfectly toned. The fact that it’s more finished means it adds instant elegance to an outfit and is appropriate even in situations which call for the most conservative clothes. Since everyone could use a little more elegance in their wardrobe and something reliable to wear to potentially awkward social events, tops with long short sleeves are well worth seeking out.

Image from Vogue, June ‘07.

Painter's Dress

Doesn’t this dress just seem like something out of a fantasy of an artist’s life? I’m seeing a photo shoot set in a cavernous, vaguely Parisian artist’s loft, with a model wearing it posed amid a poetic jumble of dirty brushes and palettes, rolled-up canvases and broken down furniture. The fabric is reminiscent of a canvas thickly impastoed with primary colored acrylics, the paints exuberantly swirled together…or else like history’s sexiest, paint-splattered artist’s smock. The dress’ shoulder-baring style and short length pick up on the print’s playful vibe. I could totally see Anthropologie knocking it off since it’s just the kind of thing one would toss on for a hipster-ish outing to look edgy without sacrificing gorgeous. And wouldn’t it be great with the espadrilles from the previous post?

Dress by Marni. Image from Vogue, June ‘07.

Wedge Espadrilles

These classic wedge espadrilles are in keeping with the season’s heavier shoe look. They still manage to look sexy and feminine, though, with their crisp woven straps, ultra high heel and leg-lengthening slingback straps. At this time of the year, when people tend to let it all hang out, I particularly appreciate their closed toe, which is a nice contrast to the beachiness of the straw, and less casual than a toe-baring style would be. In versatile white, they would pair well with everything from shorts to skirts and dresses.

Shoes by Miu Miu. Image from Vogue, June ‘07.

Even Better Than A LBD

Isn’t this dress just fabulous? It has such stand-alone personality and presence. The overall shape and length are classic but the flouncy skirt and textured fabrics give it an edge. The color is subdued enough to make it work on an occasion that
might tempt you to play it safe with black, but this hue is so much more interesting. The gray has a fair bit of softening mauve in it, and the ruffles on the skirt incorporate silver and bronze as well.

With so many voluminous ruffles, accessories would need to be kept to a minimum. In terms of jewelry, it would partner well with a thin gold chain or some dangly, but subtle, earrings. For footwear, I would stick to a straightforward, pointed toe pump in a matte finish like suede.

Image from Vogue, June ‘07.

Nude Sweaterdress

This is the kind of piece I’d snap up at any time of the year, regardless of what I was out shopping for, because I would just know that having it would come in really handy one day. It could be layered with other pieces or worn alone. It’s seasonless, plus it would look just as good at night as during the day. The boat neck is almost universally flattering, since it balances any width at the hips, and the three-quarter-length sleeves mean it’s particularly good between seasons and in contexts that require conservative clothes. The knit would play up curves and pockets add a little interest and detailing. It’s a little hard to tell from the photo just where the length would hit on the leg, and though I’m guessing that some might wish it were a couple of inches longer, the shortness makes it easy to style casually or if you want to play up its sex appeal.

Image from Vogue, June ‘07.

The Oversized Clutch

I like this recently hailed trend: the oversize clutch. I know, I know, clutches are a pain because you can’t just throw them over your shoulder and have your hands free. The thought of an oversize clutch is maybe even more terrifying, because it combines cumbersomeness with the potential to be heavy and therefore more difficult to keep a grip on. But I think an oversized clutch could work, as long as you don’t feel the compulsion to cram more stuff into the extra space, and also, if you don’t make it the bag you reach for when you’re heading out on errands. An oversized clutch is a way of acknowledging that handbags keep getting bigger and bigger, while trying to keep yours polished and ladylike, but not prissy. The fact that it would add a dash of uniqueness to a look doesn’t hurt either.

Image from Harper’s Bazaar, June ‘07.

Unlikely: Work Boots

These boots are classic, practical *and* adorable. The thick, distressed brown leather and utilitarian buckles clearly intend business, but the roominess of the ’sleeve’ and the short height read as ‘cute’. It’s footwear reminiscent of the rubber rain boots most of us had as kids, but tougher and more adult. What makes the boots even more appealing is the way these photos pair them with all kinds of lacy, ruffly dresses, creating ensembles that are feminine, but ready for anything.

Images from Vogue, June ‘07

A Skirt Over A Skirt

Here is a styling idea I’ve been noticing in the glossies for the past 6 months or so: a skirt worn over a skirt or, as here, a dress worn over a dress. I have no idea why no fashion editors have called attention to it yet. I love the look because it’s
ultra-feminine, but a little quirky at the same time. It manages to be both creative and fashion-forward but at the same time looks back to a time in history when petticoats, underskirts and overskirts were the usual way of dressing.

There are a couple of tricks to pulling off the look. To begin with, you want volume, but not too much volume. A nipped-in waist is essential. Then you need to consider three things about the skirts involved.

First, how heavy are each of the fabrics? In these photos, the top skirts are made of very light fabrics, while the bottom ones are cut from heavier ones. But I’ve also seen the reverse: a heavier top fabric paired with a lighter bottom one. I think the
principle is simply that there should be some weight (so not, say, chiffon worn over chiffon) but not a ton of heft (like velvet worn over velvet). In the first case, the look wouldn’t be structured and wouldn’t lie flat, in the second case, it would be uncomfortably heavy to wear. Plus, mixing things up keeps them funky and interesting.

Second, how long are the skirts? You want the bottom skirt to be longer, but not too much longer than the top one. A four or five inch difference seems about ideal. Enough to look deliberate and not like the underskirt is a poorly-chosen slip. Also, in terms of length, the underskirt should hit right at, or just slightly below, the knee, and the right length for the overskirt can be figured from there: slightly mini as opposed to super short.

Third, you’ll want to think about the shape of the skirts. They need to be of similar shape, since you’re aiming for an unbroken line on the silhouette. That said, as here, both could be flouncy or flared, in which case, carefully considering the weight of the fabrics becomes all the more important, because there will be that much more volume and movement involved.
Alternatively, both could be fitted pencil skirts. In that case, to make the look more vintage and less sporty, the underskirt would do well to have a four or five inch-long ruffled hem. Then the overskirt would end at exactly the point where the underskirt’s ruffles start.

That’s a lot to balance to pull this look off, but the fabulousness of the successful result makes it incredibly enticing to try. If you’re game for a fashion challenge, this one’s for you.

Images from Harper’s Bazaar, June ‘07.

Flats Dilemma

These two photos illustrate my attempts to make the best of a bad situation. What is with the longevity of the ballerina flat trend?

I’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting it out for a good three years now but it shows few signs of abating. By “ballerina flat”, I mean a pair of shoes with a paper-thin sole, a round toe, not even a quarter- or half-inch heel, often scooped low in the front for maximal toe cleavage, low on the sides, and frequently embellished with a bow on the upper. To put it baldly: Why must virtually every pair of non-athletic flats in the stores be a pair of ballerina flats?

Ballerina flats, which look terrific on fourteen year-olds and Audrey Hepburn, do not help most grown women look pulled-together. They conjure associations with youth and naivete and possess a certain informal slipper-like quality. The lack of support and cushioning and their low-slung nature certainly do no wonders for anyone’s gait. With no sole to speak of, they cannot help but make legs look shorter.

Amid this woe, in June’s magazines come two pairs of flats that offer at least a slight reprieve for those of us growing increasingly desperate after years of rotating through our precious, worn cache of stowaway flats from seasons gone by.

First, consider the patent leather numbers. Sure, they have a bow. Sure, their color is reminiscent of the ballet, but there is just barely enough mauve and nude in it to counteract the dusty rose and the tonal brown trim adds some ballast. Also on the plus side, there is an actual heel! And the front is more squared-off than the standard ballerina flat. Then there’s that single, interestingly-shaped and -placed cut-out, instead of a scooped front. Finally, there is the patent finish’s slick contribution. All this adds up to a more elegant shoe than so much of what is now available.

The second pair of flats is a less structured deviation than the first from what has become typical. The upper avoids any question of a low scoop, cutting almost straight across the toes and follows the natural contours of the foot more closely in terms of its general shape. The lack of any sides whatsoever is pleasingly straightforward and does away with the temptation to cut them low. The ankle ties - as opposed to a leather strap and buckle - are wide, soft and of a generous length, lending grace to the functional embellishment.

Images from Harper’s Bazaar, June ‘07.

All Gold

I love the two gold items in this photo - the shearling coat and the oversized bag - but wearing them together seems a bit flashy. Individually, though, both are stunners.

The bag is so luxurious, with its textured, luminescent gold snakeskin and classic lines. The jumbo size piles excess upon excess but the structured shape, courtesy of the rigid gold frame, lends the piece a whisper of prim and proper.

The jacket, meanwhile, is also a jaw-dropper. The finish on the material has been so carefully thought through, the shininess of the gold contrasting with the mattifying properties of the skin. The plush wide chocolate lapels promise decadent warmth and the zips at the cuffs lend a bad boy edge. The motorcycle shape makes it a piece to wear with something polished and ladylike underneath, just like the model is doing with her dark wool-and-cashmere dress. Pointy-toed shoes would be right at home here.

Jacket by Ralph Lauren Collection; Bag by Oscar de la Renta. Image from Elle, June ‘07.

Cropped Again, Fisherman-Style

Here’s another terrific cropped topper, this time in the form of a cable-knit cardigan. I’m always a fan of sultry spins on classic pieces and this example is no exception. The fitted shape, deep “V” neck and hem that hits at the natural waist conspire to make one sexy little fisherman’s sweater. The traditional neutral color keeps the look subdued and makes for easy combinations with other items. Plus, cardigans are just so functional. Perfect for throwing over a girlish summer dress when braving air-conditioning, I would pair this sweater with dainty floral prints, white eyelet, ribbon accents or similarly innocent, feminine and light-colored pieces. The idea is that the sweater should be the cozy, down-to-earth piece that lends a substantial, masculine touch to an otherwise delicate outfit.

Sweater by Louis Vuitton. Image from Elle, June ‘07.

Summery Cropped Jacket

This little jacket is terrific. I just can’t tear my eyes away from the button-adorned tabs that border the hidden fastener at the neckline. Their rounded chubbiness splits the difference between ‘cute’ and ‘clean’ and is totally unique. Pockets, especially rounded ones, always look youthful, and the square-ishness of the ones on this jacket reinforce the piece’s overall boxy shape. Notice also that the elongated lapels nix the potential for stubbiness by adding a vertical element that gets the eye moving up and down. Finally, the white color and three-quarter length sleeves keep the look light and summery. What an elegant and versatile piece to be able to yank out of the closet and toss over a simple dress before heading off to brunch with the girls.

Jacket by Bebe. Image from Lucky, June ‘07.

Slouchy, Pulled-Together Chic

I’m a bit mystified by why I’m so excited about this look. I think it’s because it looks relaxed and effortless, but still tidy. A long tunic over dark wash boot cut jeans and wedge espadrilles is classic. The slightly belled sleeves are a thoughtful touch that sets the laid-back mood. Then the cardigan echoes the flowiness and adds some edgy asymmetry, while keeping the lines clean with its lack of fasteners. Its three-quarter sleeves are a brilliant touch, keeping the look light and sharing the spotlight with the tunic’s sleeves. The thin bright belt reigns in all that volume and the big slouchy bag is clearly the only way to go.

Image from Lucky, June ‘07.

Hourglass Tulips and Lace

This look is wonderfully feminine because of the outfit’s hourglass shape and the décolletage with its touch of innocent eyelet. It takes a lot of confidence about one’s hips to wear a paper bag skirt, but I think this works perfectly because of the very wide neckline on the blouse, which balances it out, and because snug fit through the torso. The slight texture of the blouse is another enticing detail but I wish the skirt was a polished, straightforward cotton, instead of the denim. I’m not a fan of the necklace, which seems too cheap, young and casual. I think I’d let the cleavage speak for itself and go with delicate filigree gold earrings instead, to draw the eye up. The finishing touch might be peep-toe or pointy-toed d’Orsay pumps.

Image from Lucky, June ‘07

Peach Ruffles

There’s so much that’s fabulous going on here. To begin with: the color. Peach must be the design world’s most overlooked hue. It’s subdued, it’s feminine and it’s more original than pale pink. And the ruffles are pretty, though if the ones on the bodice weren’t there, the dress would have cleaner, more classic lines and some of the sweetness would be toned down. I also worry that the ruffles on the bodice might make wearing the dress a challenge for the well-endowed.

How would the dress look toughened up by a brown leather belt that cinches in all that volume? Or worn with slick, bright open-toed stilettos, maybe in teal or cobalt? Of course, it could also be played more straightforwardly, with beige sandals. But the skirt’s demure length just begs for a high, spindly heel.

Dress by Robert Rodriguez. Image from Lucky, June ‘07.