Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Black Dress

I am pretty sure my story is typical of what a woman my age and with certain - shall we say, figure flaws - goes through in order to find a decent fitting, well-designed dress these days.  A dress that is not for a granny; a dress that is not for a size 0 perpetual 17 year old; a dress that has no fricking spandex in it!

Who is designing clothes for women these days?  Whoever they are, they all seem to think that it is "fashion" to just upsize the junk they sell to 20 years olds for women who are in their 50's and 60's and 50 plus pounds heavier.  Oh please!

After having tried to locate a suitable dress locally and failing, I resorted to the desperate move of ordering clothes online.  I hate doing this because (1) it takes so long (2) return issues (3) you can't tell what a dress really looks like online (4) sizing issues (5) quality issues (cut, feel of material, drape).  But not only did I wade in to ordering clothing online, I ordered SEVEN dresses from four different sources!  I read a blog post at a fashion site that said I should order a ton of clothes and try them all on and send back anything that isn't exactly what I want style, quality and fit wise.  How exhausting!
Today the dresses from Zappo's arrived.  I love Zappo's because they have a great (gigantic!) selection and a great return policy and free shipping to and from, or in this case, from and to because, unfortunately, I will be returning both dresses I ordered.
This dress is by Karen Kane: V-Neck Flower Trim Dress, SKU# 7846612
I really liked the style of this dress and the "flower" ruching around the neckline was lovely and added a greal deal to an otherwise simple dress. Unfortunately, it doesn't really show up in the photo.  There was just a bit of gathering from the empire waist seam underneath the busline so this dress was a bit less clingy than the second one I tried on. I was also happy with the sleeve length - about elbow length. The issues that turned this into a "no buy:"  material too clingy for my taste - showed too many figure flaws! Clothing is supposed to disguise certain things, not accentuate them. I don't go around accentuating my flaws, I try to accentuate what positives I have and neutralize the rest! The neckline was cut too low, the dress was heavy too.  The skirt was too short - I am looking for something that falls just below the knee (good luck, Jan!)  It also took a lot of tugging and pulling to get the dress positioned correctly once I got it on over my head (no zipper).  Because of the heaviness of the material, this dress would probably give me heat stroke in a high humidity climate like St. Louis is apt to be in early September.
I ordered this dress on the basis of the photo because it looked like it had a more generous cut through the middle and would skim over a problematic area, but it turned out to be  Tommy Bahama: Tambour Double Layer Dress, SKU# 7826125

I liked the long sleeves.  That was the only thing I liked.  The neckline was way too low, the dress was too short, and it didn't skim - it clung!  It was also heavier than the Karen Kane dress.

While the cut of the Karen Kane dress showed some promise on my figure, the Tommy Bahama dress did not.  This heavy dress that also had to be tugged relentlessly into place would suffocate me within five minutes of donning it in St. Louis' heat and humidity.  It is a dress that would look great on someone 4 inches taller and 30 pounds lighter than yours truly. 

So, I'm waiting for the next shipment - this one will be from Macy's.  Now that I know I can't wear anything with spandex in it, one of the Macy's dresses probably will be disappointing, but I have some hope for the second dress because it is only polyester, no spandex.  Those dresses ship tomorrow.

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