so, maybe I was wrong …

by Erin on May 16, 2007


trashy diva ashley dress

So, I think I've pontificated (probably at great length) in this space about how I don't like navy. Not The Navy, I'm actually pretty fond of The Navy, what with Hornblower and Aubrey and all, but navy, the color. "Too hard to match," I say. "I never know what shoes to wear," I say. Being frustrated by these problems (and because I'm basically lazy), I just wrote navy off altogether. There's no navy in my closet, at all.

But Charles (what? guys read this blog too, y'know) sent me a link to this dress, the Ashley Dress at Trashy Diva, and — you know what? — I think I might be wrong about navy. This dress wouldn't be as perfect in any other color. Black polka dots are too harsh, and red too obvious; this dress is supposed to be navy, and that's all there is to it. (And I'd wear it with red shoes.)

Of course, it's also sold out until mid-June AND is $249, so the prospects of navy being added to my closet are still on the slim side. It's sized xs-s-m-l, with L being B44/W33.

So — don't ever let it be said that I'm afraid to admit it when I'm wrong. I hereby rescind my blanket navy ban. However, culottes? Still on the no-fly list.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 16, 2007 at 9:23 am

I want that dress. Wow. Gorgeous. That neckline? The midriff band? The flare at the hips? Nothing short of delectable. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m making culottes for my trip to Italy. I’ll send photos. I’m not saying they’ll convince you to make them for yourself, but perhaps it’ll help ameliorate your overwhelming distaste for them. =)–Lydia

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missmaya May 16, 2007 at 9:39 am

Trashy Diva’s clothes are fantastic; beautifully made and infinitely wearable.

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Anonymous May 16, 2007 at 9:40 am

I’m a New Orleans native and I LOVE the Trashy Diva. All their dresses are made from a heavy silk, and feel just wonderful on. I can’t afford to buy things there very often, but I love to go look.

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Heather Outside Boston May 16, 2007 at 9:45 am

Fabulous dress, in any color — the classic cocoa and cream combo would be equally elegant.

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Joni May 16, 2007 at 9:55 am

No; wear that dress with spectators. Often.

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enc May 16, 2007 at 10:00 am

Few people should wear culottes; they’re a hazard. However, that dress if fantastic!

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Marissa May 16, 2007 at 10:15 am

I have the shirt version and I think it looks more purple than navy in person. :)

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kim p. May 16, 2007 at 10:31 am

I love everything about this dress–except the sleeves. Way too short for me. This has become my dress-related pet peeve of the moment. Every dress I see is either sleeveless or comes with itty bitty cap sleeves. I can’t be the only adult woman with less-than-perfect upper arms, can I? (I know, I know, I should just get over being self-conscious, but I’m not there yet!)

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bonnie-ann black May 16, 2007 at 10:55 am

i love the idea of the red shoes — but spectators are even better. red and white spectators!

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Kate in England May 16, 2007 at 10:59 am

GORGEOUS dress – if only I could find a handful like it (oh, and had some money), I’d have a summer wardrobe right there. Navy for me smacks too much of school uniform… but that might just be a British thing. Also, navy hosiery makes legs look AWFUL. And there is always the accessories issue. Just out of interest, where do culottes end and “city shorts” begin? Because I think these are pretty cute…

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phoenix May 16, 2007 at 11:00 am

Love love love. Wear red lipstick with your red shoes when you’re feeling sassy…and red lipsticks with the spectators when you’re feeling in a retro-40s kind of mood.

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Spring May 16, 2007 at 11:17 am

That dress is gorgeous. If I wasn’t a hundred months pregnant I’d try anything to get my greedy little hands on it. Speaking of navy, last week I was at Starbucks and saw the cutest little girl in line with her mother before school. She had on the typical navy sailor dress but had on the cutest red patent leather shoes and a red headband and earrings. She was about six. I leaned over and told her she was dressed beautifully. She hid because at that time of the morning before my first cup of coffee I do not look like a kindred spirit. Her mom told me she’d picked the outfit out herself.She has a good future in fashion.

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Nora May 16, 2007 at 11:54 am

Oh my god, that dress!!!!I too have an aversion to the color navy, which is not only impossible to match but is the color of the Man (cops, bankers, etc.) and therefore too Establishment for me (though I actually dress much more conservatively than I vote).But navy with white polka dots is a color unto itself, and is perfection in summer, especially with red shoes. Traditional, but not staid.

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Susan May 16, 2007 at 12:51 pm

I *love* Navy. What shoes to wear? Navy shoes of course. I think I own more Navy blue shoes than black ones. I think it’s a more flattering color on me than black or brown, for example.

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Susanne May 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

I’m with you on the navy-ban (abd on that dress being just perfect). No blue in my closet…

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Anonymous May 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm

I have tons of navy in my closet since I look horrible in black. I wear it with my grey, navy, brown, pink or orange shoes. There’s actually a Simplicity pattern [3774, a new one for summer] that will let you make this dress. Same little sleeves, midriff band, full skirt and all. Slightly different bodice, though. I just made one. In navy.

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Robyn May 16, 2007 at 1:18 pm

I love navy, being blond it looks so much better on me than black, much richer color. I would wear the dress with strappy bone sandals. Or with red, love red! Kim P. go to the web site an look at the dresses, they have the same style in a longer flutter sleeve and in a fitted 3/4 sleeve.

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Theresa May 16, 2007 at 1:24 pm

I agree with the red shoes, and even more with red spectators. It is hard to get exact Navy mathces because there are so many shades of Navy. Personally I love Navy. This year I have noticed a lot of navy, red, and white. And I agree about the itty bitty sleeves. I, too, am not all that fond of my upper arms and prefer 3/4 lenght sleeves.

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Anonymous May 16, 2007 at 1:50 pm

This is so inspiring. I so want this dress, if only it didn’t cost so much money. I have a couple patterns I could adapt to make it. Oh bother, I have 2 other dresses I’ve cut out and need to sew and one is in the Vogue pattern I’d want to use for this one. Anyway, does anyone know any place online where I can get similar fabric for under $10 a yard. It doesn’t have to be crepe, but have some weight to it.

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Karen May 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I’m facing my own what-shoes-to-wear dilemma with a blue polka dot dress (with pockets! looks ridiculously gorgeous on) these days…I have a pair of vintage navy-blue pumps that make my legs look a thousand miles long, but it’s all I can do not to topple over in them when standing. There is a pair of brown spectator-y pumps, but they just make me look like I’ve dashed together an outfit from two eras, the 1940s and then 1950s. Time for more shoe shopping, I guess!

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Margo May 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm

I love that dress! Classic but NOT boring. My sis-in-law just passed on a silk skirt to me: navy with red and off-white. It’s so pretty and it came with a little navy sweater tipped in off-white. But I’m hesitant to officially Place It in My Wardrobe because I just can’t be bothered with navies that don’t match other navies and off-whites that don’t match other off-whites. I’d have to buy shoes for it and, as a size 11, buying shoes is not a pleasant, spontaneous event. By the way, thanks to “anonymous” for the Simplicity pattern number. I’ll be tracking that one down! But making it in sky blue, not navy.

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) May 16, 2007 at 3:00 pm

For summer, white pumps, white purse, white gloves, and white hat with navy flower. Stupendous!!

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Beth May 16, 2007 at 3:39 pm

ahoy, there! I forgot my dislike of navy this past fall and fell in love with a navy pinstripe skirt, then ran myself ragged finding stuff to go with it. Finally settled on a grey sweater and shoes as one match, and a light brown heather sweater, brown tweed jacket and brown boots as another. I get tons of compliments on the navy/brown ensemble.Culottes may be me. I do have a couple pairs of gauchos (wearing them today, in fact) that I really like wearing. I like them because they are noncommittal, neither pants, nor a skirt and some days I just feel that way…

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Skulleigh May 16, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Ok, now I have to ask – are spectators a type of shoe? At first I thought people were commanding an audience for this dress :)

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AmeliaB May 16, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Super cute dress! I like navy (and the Navy yay somebody likes Hornblower and actually knows who Hornblower is :-) ) I like navy because I have pale skin and black can sometimes wash me out. ~Amelia

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mamafrog May 16, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Leigh–here’s a link to what Wiki has to say on Spectator shoes–but just type the words into a search engine and it should give you a picture of them also.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectator_shoesI love navy (I’m a Navy brat, also) but never seem to find any I like. Polka dots on navy are my absolutely favorite, with pockets, of course. I was blonde a pale when younger and it was a kinder color to me too. I have to agree with the brown shoes, especially in a Cordovan color. White or bone make my feet look HUGE since they are short and wide! (Duckfeet)

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vickijane May 16, 2007 at 4:48 pm

I wore cullottes as part of my school uniform. The entire ensemble was obviously chosen by a colourblind masochist as the cullottes were a navy/limegreen tartan with a red stripe through it, oatmeal knee socks, brown shoes and a lime blazer with navytrim…. mmmmmmm…

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Sniper May 16, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Chocolate brown shows are also surprisingly sharp with navy.

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Carol May 16, 2007 at 7:54 pm

In one of the wardrobe consultant’s books I read in the last few years the author said that modern navy dyes have a lot of black in them and that often black accessories go well with navy clothes. I haven’t tried it yet.I’d have to say no to the white pumps; I’ve never seen anyone wearing them that didn’t look like Minnie Mouse.

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Crystal May 16, 2007 at 8:55 pm

I love the dress… I saw it a bit ago and have been looking for a sewing pattern with those lines for a while now. It’s just gorgeous!

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Saint Pud May 16, 2007 at 9:41 pm

Navy? Gosh, it goes wtih so many colors! Olive, yellow, red, orange, tan, lavender — it’s really quite versatile. GORGEOUS dress, by the way. I say RED SHOES. Natch!

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Anonymous May 17, 2007 at 2:33 am

I am with you on the navy ban – as a pale redhead, it makes me look jaundiced. But this dress in brown with cream polka dots = heaven! I am off to my dressmaker this weekend, clutching this photo in my hot little hand.

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mysandrasdaughter May 17, 2007 at 8:47 am

I love Navy – and yes, there is that shoe problem. I just finished a navy polka dot dress and had to end up wearing white sandals. Yes I know….

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Carol@Dandelion Vintage May 17, 2007 at 9:27 am

Say yes to navy! I love navy with chartreuse or yellow. Now culottes . . .

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Julie K. Rose May 17, 2007 at 10:19 am

Not The Navy, I’m actually pretty fond of The Navy, what with Hornblower and Aubrey and allHuzzah! The Master & Commander books (all 20+ of ‘em!) are the best historical fiction I’ve ever read, hands down.Oh yeah, and brilliant dress. Must. Have.

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Margo May 17, 2007 at 2:20 pm

I totally refuse to wear white shoes – I am generally reconciled to my big feet, but why make them look bigger? I did wear white sandals on my wedding day, but wish I had looked harder for pale blue like my friend found (“something borrowed, something blue. . .”). I am also very surprised that people would wear brown in any shade with navy. I see navy as a neutral that only plays nicely with whites and vivid colors, but fights with the other neutrals. Now red shoes with this dress, yes, I could see.

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ThatGayGuy May 17, 2007 at 2:27 pm

Yes, guys read this blog too! I’m a lurker and I’m commenting here to represent! lol.

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Anonymous May 17, 2007 at 2:47 pm

I bought a dress similar to this one at WalMart this spring. (Remember earlier posts about cute dresses from WalMart?) I planned to wear it with red shoes and bring a red cardigan in case it was chilly.

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ellenbrenna May 17, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Trashy Diva is making me sad that my waist is not anywhere near a 33 right now. I am a B44 but winter did take quite a tol this year.Must.Do.Sit.Ups.

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Theresa May 17, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Don’t feel bad B44 Ellen. I too am a B44 and even at my skinniest I don’t have a 33 waist. I am very thick/long waisted. Long waisted and short. What a combination!An anonymous posted Simplicty Patten 3774 as a one very similar to this dress. I have that pattern. I was going to do a black eyelet, but I may have to do Polka Dots, now!

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Anonymous May 17, 2007 at 8:43 pm

The Trashy Diva is awesome! I first went there, back in mid 1990′s, when they were **vintage**. Talk about KILLER vintage. I have a small collection off their dresses and skirts, but the best is the Garbo coat. It’s up to $450 now, but I grabbed one up before the price was that high. Reminds me I need to get my corset out before it gets too hot…….oh, and they are on My Space too. Nice folks work in the stores as well. Yes, I love the Diva, can you tell??If you love the polka dots you will also love the hurricane print, with pink ladies with umbrellas in a white swirl – a momento print of hurricane Kartina.Darlene

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Daniela May 17, 2007 at 9:11 pm

What a great find – I love the dress! I just started a shopping blog. It’s really new so I’d love you to check it out at blog.like.com

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anthrokeight May 17, 2007 at 9:23 pm

I have TWO, count ‘em TWO navy polka dotted dresses. One is a skinny strapped knee-length cocktail-ish dress. The other is more like this one in affect, kind of Dust Bowl fashion. I wear them with red shoes (with blue piping trim) and green mary janes with a tan strap.They are rad, they are compliment attractors, they are proof of the wondrousness of blue polka dots.And this one would make three in my collection, if only it came in my size.

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Hazel May 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Hey, it doesn’t have to be navy with white polka dots – I have an original Ashley which is jade with quite small dots. Bought in a charity shop (you have these in the US?) for, if I remember rightly, about 10 (an enormous amount for a second-hand dress ten years ago). I need to slim down a bit to get back into it again (who am I kidding? I need to slim A LOT!) but there is absolutely no chance of my getting rid of it.

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Karen May 21, 2007 at 4:46 pm

I have to comment that I’m also a lover of navy. I hate black, it is so bleak and always a last resort for me. I wear navy with everything, it goes with every color in my closet (pinks, greens, other blues, deep reds, yellows, purples). I say navy is ‘black, but with personality’. I have plenty of navy shoes (they’re so much prettier than black, but indeed hard to find!), but also wear it with brown and white or ivory. I also always feel put-together in navy, where with black I always feel like I’m just pretending and trying to match some dress code.I have a similar dress to that in my sewing line-up, but it will have a bright sunshine yellow sash and I’ll wear it with white sandals.

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Dinosaur Mom May 21, 2007 at 8:32 pm

I understand the fatwa on culottes, but someone needs to stand up for scooters, or skorts, or whatever you call shorts that are sewn into a skirt so that it looks like a skirt all around but you can avoid (a) the nasty thigh-chafing some full-figured ladies experience when they wear skirts without hose and (b) the almost-as-nasty feeling of being squeezed mercilessly by foundation garments. Please, Righteous Dress-A-Day Person, tell me these are superior to culottes.

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Anonymous May 24, 2007 at 12:01 am

I just wear black shoes with my navy-colored outfits. If it is good enough for the U.S. military, it is good enough for me.

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Laura June 25, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Did you see the Trashy Diva Trixie dress in the same navy polkadot?TRIXIE 2- BLUE DOTS $270I can picture that one with a white wide-brimmed hat and yes, white sandals maybe like – Guess “Melia” at Zappos. It’s the picture of summer!I’m too fat to wear TD’s creations myself, but I buy them for my size-4 daughter and enjoy them vicariously!

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Charlottex July 14, 2007 at 12:39 pm

My favorite summer dress is a cotton halter style with a back. Nips in at the waist and shoulders and is double breasted down the front.

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