In Which I Pretend to be a Real Fashion Blogger(TM)

by Erin on January 9, 2012

So the nice folks at ASDA sent me an email last month asking if I would like to "style" one of their party dresses for a blogger challenge. I pretty much never do this because most of these dresses either don't come in larger sizes, or they cost the earth, or both, which means whatever they send isn't relevant to everyday life. Also, agreeing means I have to rope the long-suffering Mr. DressADay into taking a picture of me, and THEN I have to post a picture of myself wearing something goofy. 

But, as it turned out, the dresses are from the new super-cheap George line (£20!) and come in larger sizes. Plus, I'm trying to be less self-conscious about posting pictures of myself. (And it's good I'm trying to be less self-conscious, because, frankly, in these pictures I look like a muppet, in both the US and UK senses of the term.)

Here's the dress ASDA sent: 

Screen shot 2012-01-08 at 12.48.41 PM

Yeah. This is not an optimal dress for a forty-year old. When I got the dress I found myself playing a version of the game I play in airports while waiting for my checked luggage, which is "What will I wear if my luggage is lost?" My usual lost-luggage-catastrophe plan (which, thankfully, has never been put into effect) is: run to H&M and buy a black skirt and black t-shirt and a couple of bright cardigans/pairs of tights (depending on season), and hope for the best. Only in this case, the "black skirt/black t-shirt" was "cream-colored cotton lace dress". 

So here's how I muppetized it:

 

ASDA George Dress #1

I was thinking kind of "late-80s/early 90s revival", because that's pretty much the last time I wore my skirts this short. (And I really loved that fuchsia-neon green combo back in the day, but never had the guts to really go for it.) The sweater is from Land's End, the tights are Hue, and the boots are a pair of Donald Pliners I bought on eBay ages ago, and which I wear when I need to add a dollop of bad-ass to something that would otherwise be too prissy. The watch is a vintage '80s swatch, too, in translucent pink. The lipstick is NARS Funny Face.

This dress is a UK size 12. (It fit fairly well — there were tie strings in the back to pull in the waist but they bugged me so I cut them off.)

Here's a better view of the boots (I really love these boots, but they're "parties only" since the heel is so high):

ASDA George Dress #2

I think if I were a bit younger, or if I lived in San Francisco Proper (or lived in Brooklyn and worked in fashion publishing) I would actually wear this outside of my fenced back yard. The only thing that's missing is some jewelry … I thought that an armful of lacquered skinny Indian bangles in bright pink and acid green would be nice, but I (of course) own no such thing, because bracelets are a pain when you type all day. 

(Supposedly all the bloggers participating will vote on the "most creative" look and the winner will get an ASDA gift card. I have about as much chance of winning as I do of attending the Met Ball this year, but I figure I should disclose that anyway.)

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled random sewing blogging.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina January 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

Great color blocking! It’s a beautiful dress but if I ran across it in a shop I would be very disappointed. Why make something so pretty – great fit! cotton lace! cream color! – twelve inches too short?
You did a great job of making it wearable!

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Sandy January 9, 2012 at 7:17 am

What fun! I agree about the length.
So…you could chop it under the bodice and add a strip of colour – maybe not 12 in worth, but it would lengthen it. and then you might get away with also adding to the bottom and a ribbon trim on the collar to bring it all together. I mean for £20 you couldn’t buy the lace could you?
Sandy in the UK
PS I love the blog post title!

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Cel January 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

I love love this post. The colors are tremendous. To style this dress for the over 35 set, taking some risks as you have here is the most creative option!!! Thanks for posting, posing and thanks to Mr. DOD.

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Claire Jain January 9, 2012 at 9:00 am

I love it! And I still love your new specs :-) I think you should venture out for lunch in your outfit and report back on the local reaction.

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Anna January 9, 2012 at 10:00 am

Looking at that makes me wonder if, because of my height, since I’m really short, it would actually be a good length on me. I’m perpetually having to shorten trousers and finding dresses that would be too short on a person of average height that fit me pretty decently. It’s an interesting dress–very pretty, reminds me of the sort of children’s dresses I would have loved when I was eight or nine.

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Ann V. January 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

I really love the bright tights trend. I’m wearing something mustardy today and I went back to Target and bought shiny teal for later in the week. And your boots, of course, are awesome!

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Mary Fran Archer January 9, 2012 at 10:35 am

You really make this wearable — I think it’s the tights and boots. Plus, you just look totally adorable.

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Raison January 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

Such a nice outfit! The only thing you should be conscious about is how pretty you look. :)

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lsaspacey January 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I think you could get away with this, you certainly don’t look “forty” forty. You know what I mean, right?

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evalyn January 9, 2012 at 12:59 pm

That is a cute dress, it was cute when I wore it under my graduation gown in 1967. Which only proves what goes around comes around, and that I’d buy it again if I was 17 again. I love your styling except the boots, which are kick-ass, but too heavy with this dress.

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lynneguist January 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

For those who don’t know: ASDA is the UK version of Walmart (as in, Walmart owns it). I don’t actually know if their UK-based labo(u)r practices are as bad as Walmart’s (the stories on their union-busting are pretty old now), but there’s a reason their dresses are so cheap:

http://www.labourbehindthelabel.org/news/item/819-aauk-report-asda

http://www.nosweat.org.uk/story/2011/05/25/walmart-its-time-step

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Kristen January 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

oh I love it! I wish you would wear it out and about!! :)

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Erin January 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Oh, Lynne, thanks for the links. That’s another reason why I sew, at least I know what the working conditions are in my own house, even if they aren’t optimal either …

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Tea January 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I’m glad you used the term “muppetized.” That’s pretty much what I do with all of my clothes.

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Sara January 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

You totally rocked it, Erin!

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kathi Giumentaro January 10, 2012 at 5:40 am

What if you hem it 6″ and wear it as a tunic over jeans?

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Lynn January 10, 2012 at 6:27 am

I love bright colored tights. Problem is, they’re always nylon and I can’t stand the feel of nylon. Cotton tights only come in a few very dull colors.

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LinB January 10, 2012 at 8:37 am

Erm. The dress is lovely, but I am over age 12. Even if it were in a color that does not make me look like Death on a graham cracker, I’d rip off the collar and immediately sew up an underskirt of an appropriate length to cover my saggy old knees. On you, styled as you did, it looks fresh and sweet. On me, my family would turn me in to the Old People Police without delay.

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Connie Turner January 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

Dear Erica,
You have a good figure and are attractive and not muppet like at all. You are right the dress is too short for almost anyone over 12. I really enjoy your blog and have been following it for a year or so.
Connie Turner

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Sneza January 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

You’re a gorgeous woman — you remind me of Sherilyn Fenn http://jimcofer.com/personal/?p=6685 — but I don’t think that dress does much for you. Kill it with fire.

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Betsy January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

That outfit is completely joyful and you look wonderful in it.

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Connie Turner January 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Why oh why did I call you Erica? aarrgggg
Connie

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Lorene January 10, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Your hair is awesome! And you seem to generally dress older than you look. Which is a waste of your youthful good looks and cgarm. Yes, you muppetized that outfit, but with some minor changes it would be totally age appropriate.

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Lynn January 11, 2012 at 6:28 am

I don’t see why it is so necessary to “dress one’s age.” If you like it wear it. If everyone did that the concept of age appropriateness would just go away, as it should.

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Damaris January 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

You look seriously amazing! I’m 50, and I would totally wear that with acid green leggings instead of tights, but only because I would probably be wearing it to work. (I work in a construction type company with mostly men, so I can pretty much wear what I want.)

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emily January 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm

you are such a fun writer!! and you look fab by the way :)

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Becky June 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Since when is a UK size 12 “large sizes”. Please; you are pretty, have a lovely figure that most of us would die for and you rock young looks. Just please be aware, since you are read by so many people, that comments like that can be damaging. I agree with Raison that you need to be conscious of how pretty you are, and that every time you put down your hair, weight, looks, or anything else about your bad self, then many others will say, “well if she thinks SHE is fat or not attractive, then what about me?” Just a thought.

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