Rebuild Your Wardrobe (and the Gulf Coast)

Trashy Diva Kabuki Dress
Whoa. I love *all* the dresses at I love them with a deep and all-encompassing love. I don't think there's a single one that I wouldn't gladly wear to rags.

This particular dress, though, (the "Kabuki") hits all my current obsessions in color, fabric, and cut. I'm a little dismayed that it only goes up to a size M, but perhaps the larger sizes have already sold out — this would be even MORE of a knockout on fuller figures. It's $238, which is pricey, but it's silk all the way through, and … just LOOK at it!

There's a huge sale section right now, and of course, Trashy Diva is based in New Orleans, so you'll be supporting the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast if you buy from them. It's practically your civic duty. (Note: their site says they can take only Paypal for the next few days.)

I was also entranced by their shoes (Princess Moonbeam, check out the pointy-toe button boots!). I'm actually afraid to look at their lingerie, for fear of being overcome with desire (which I guess is the actual point of lingerie, but usually it's one step further removed …)

Thanks to the indefatigable Madelene for the link!

Always Room for One More

Vogue 7820

(Especially when they're this small — sorry for the teen-einsy picture!). No, really, as if I didn't already have enough patterns to clothe every B36 woman in the lower 48, without repeats, I'm looking at this one — Vogue 7820.

However, I have my doubts. Recent painful experience has enlightened me that a blousy top and a narrow waist combined with a full skirt makes me look like a particularly bizarrely decorated fireplug. At least in pictures. Sigh.

So I'm thinking that despite all the things I like about it (kimono sleeves [for ease of making], defined midriff, fuller skirt, surplice bodice with small darts) that I should probably pass this one by. Besides, I'd have to change the back zip to a side zip, which is always a pain in the ass. The time would probably be better spent running up a half-dozen fall skirts, considering the stock I've laid in of charcoal corduroy, moss flannel, and orange twill! Mmmm … pumpkin orange twill.

But — isn't it nice? Wouldn't it be gorgeous in a dark mulberry, with the neckline edged in black tatting, and a slightly shorter skirt? Worn with tights and boots? Maybe I could sew it one size down in something with a little stretch. Talk me into it, folks. C'mon. I know you can. Lydia, when's the next Vogue patterns sale at Hancock?

Making excuses.

temperley dress

You know how some women KNOW they are in relationships with sucky men, but they keep making the lamest excuses? Like, "I know he never calls when he says he will, and he can't seem to remember that I'm deathly allergic to shellfish, and he insulted my mother at my father's funeral, but … but … he likes puppies! He can't be a monster." That's a little bit how I feel about this dress from Temperley London.

I mean, I know those sleeves are hideous, and it's got sequins AND metallic I-wanna-be-Napoleon embroidery on a dress clearly intended for daytime wear, and it's freakin' $1835 (!) at Saks (click on the picture if you don't believe me) for RAYON/ACETATE but … it's not really showing to its best advantage on a model this thin, and … it's got pockets! And … this silhouette (with shorter, narrower sleeves) is the one that's on my mind for fall. Vee-neck, midriff band, fullish skirt …

Okay, okay. I know this dress isn't perfect. But it's trying! It *wants* to be a better dress. It just needs a good woman to believe in it.

Ask Dress A Day: Cherry Fabric

ebay item 8221466287

Mauricio Parra, the producer and emcee of the Cherry Pop Burlesque show in Madison, Wisconsin, asks:

I have been scouring the web for a silky/shiny fabric with cherries on a black background that would be suitable for making a tie/bow-tie/pocket square etc. I bought a cherry tie online that turned out to be made from a cotton print that wasn't very saturated and just looks — crappy. In fact, cotton prints are the only cherry fabrics I've been able to find so far. Heck, I'd be willing to cut up some silky cherry pajamas if I could find them. One of our cast members has some but won't let me near them. 😉

Any ideas?

Cherry fabric is very near to my heart — I must have yards, but it's all cotton prints, not the shiny silky fabric you'd need to make a great tie.

You really have two options: call around, or DIY. I'd call the big fabric stores first: Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, Britex in San Francisco (I ordered some very nice cherry print from them five or six years ago, but it was cotton on a white background) or G Street in Rockville, Maryland. You might also want to grab a copy of Threads magazine and start calling the stores that advertise in that mag … I'd start by asking if they have any of the cherry-print black silk that Nicole Miller put out a few years ago. I'm still kicking myself for not buying some of that.

Of course you also want to set up an eBay search alert that will email you whenever someone lists silk cherry fabric.

As for DIY, if you know a good graphic artist, you could get a cherry print made just for you, and fabric either silkscreened locally or printed up at (If you use my-fabrics, let me know, I've been dying to try them out.)

Also, Dharma Trading Co. sells silk tie blanks, pocket square blanks, etc. that could be painted!

Any Dress A Day readers have leads, or want to part with some of their stash?

By the way, the picture is for some black cherry-print denim, on sale on eBay for the next several days. Click on the pic to go to the listing. Note: the coin in the photo is a QUARTER. Those cherries are HUGE! Happy bidding!

A man after my own heart.

Lanvin dress

I got yelled at a while back for assuming everyone reads the Sunday New York Times, so if you've already seen this lovely article about Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, don't you yell at me too!

This is my favorite part:

"Geisha are perfect," Elbaz said, now at work in his atelier, "and perfection is never interesting to me, but the search for perfection, which all women feel, is interesting. That's a timeless struggle, so why not provide women with a solution? For years, men have had uniforms, and a dress works like a uniform. You don't have to think – you zip in and zip out. And then clothes become about simplicity and form and function."

And that's a total lie, of course: you absolutely have to think about a dress, at least until you put it on, at which point you should not be thinking much beyond "I'm so glad I wore this today." If a dress is a uniform, then it's for a job that changes constantly. But I have no problem with why Elbaz said what he said, because anything that justifies dress-wearing is fine by me.

I think I've posted dresses by Lanvin before, but here's another one, just because. One of the reasons Lanvin is so great? This dress would actually look better on a curvier model.

You'd think this one would be more attainable, but no.

boden chic dress

You'd think this Boden "Chic" dress would be more attainable than yesterday's designer frock, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong — most of the sizes have an eight-week wait. (Ebay didn't turn up any, either.) Sigh.

If you don't mind this dress showing up after Thanksgiving (warning to Canadians: I mean US Thanksgiving), by which time you probably will have forgotten you ordered it, go ahead and click on the picture. It's $128. This particular colorway has a name so English it seems nearly self-parodying: Treacle Tara Spot. I mean, that's practically the name of a show dog, isn't it?


Burrows Dress

So regular reader and perspicacious commenter Madelene emailed me last week, with a link to a designer at I was traveling, and then I was catching up from traveling, and it took me a while to get to a time and place where I could check out the link and now … I want. Sleeves, neckline, waist, skirt: all perfect. This is me, huddling over here in a little breathless ball of pure throbbing desire.

Of course, I want it in red, or sky blue, or possibly bright grass green, and not this moonstone color, but still. Want.

The worst part is that, as beautiful as this is, it probably wouldn't even make the top five of impossible-to-have things I've wanted in the last week. How sad is that?

Picture Unavailable

I was at the dentist yesterday, and part of my "wait for the numbness to wear off" routine is to wander through Lord & Taylor. Not that I picked my dentist because the office is above L&T, mind you — it's just a happy coincidence.

There I saw the dress that I wanted to show you today — Hugo Boss, hammered satin, beautiful neckline, short-sleeved, in the most exquisite moss green color. Really, it was the ideal winter party dress, AND a faultless excuse to buy green shoes, so it could not have been more perfect.

"Aha!" I thought. "Tomorrow's dress! The all-benevolent Internet shall provide a picture, and all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Stoopid Internet. No picture! This is why I really do need a digital camera, I guess. Although trying to explain to the L&T people that I NEEDED to take a picture of the dress for my BLOG, where I talk about dresses "you know, JUST LIKE THIS ONE," would have probably been highly comedic.

Anyway, that dress was not like this one at all. (Warning, page very slow to load.)

Write This Caption, Please.

ebay item 8305987417

Sometimes a pattern arrests me with the illustration, not the design, especially when it is supposed to show the glamorous life you will lead in whatever dress it is that you will be making. This one looks like a still from a bad movie, but I can't decide what the hell that guy is saying! Help me out — is he saying:

"Miss Monroe, you look simply ravishing. And, as you well know, my … tastes … lie in a different direction."

"Don't look now, but that's my ex-wife and her greasy gigolo — I said, DON'T LOOK!"

"After tonight, you'll never have to go back to the typing pool ever again!"

"See that man? I'm going to have him killed. No, not him, the one on the left."

"I really enjoy standing in for Mr. Brosnan. What is Ms. Zimbalist like?"

"Look, there's another woman wearing the same dress! Vogue 1066, right?"

"No, you're right, the ice sculpture is definitely supposed to be 'Guernica.'"

I'm not sure what he's saying, exactly, but something is making this poor woman freeze like a deer in the headlights. Maybe she left a pin in a seam, and has just found it? Maybe she realized too late that her glittery and bare evening-y dress is just not suitable in broad daylight, at what is evidently a business function?

There's another pic of it here, which shows that the weird front top panel of the skirt becomes a sash in back. Why? Because it can. Anyway, if all this speculation has made you fall in love with this Molyneaux pattern, you can buy it from the Blue Gardenia for $35. It's B34.

I would think this was pretty even if it weren't vaguely Buffy-related. Honest.

Hannigan dress

Check out this adorable dress on the adorable Alyson Hannigan. She wore it to the Emmy awards, which she attended with the adorable Alexis Denisov. (It's like that woman just floats in a CLOUD of adorability.) I did a desultory google but couldn't figure out who designed it. Any ideas? (Or better Google-fu?)

Anyway, I love it because it seems Liberty-ish, and I'm in a huge Liberty-print phase right now (the fabric of the other day was Liberty, and I desperately want about four yards of this):
liberty mark

I really wish there were a better way to buy Liberty fabric in the US other than off eBay. I mean, eBay works, but occasionally you want to buy a certain number of yards, not just whatever they happen to have cut. And they tend to concentrate on the classic florals and not the wacked-out modern stuff I am drooling over. Oh, my first-world problems, how difficult and intractable they are!