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?