Gala prep: Need more help!

Hello, all -

I'm back from my travels and happy to be home. But I regret to say that my Calgary shopping adventures, while fascinating and a lot of fun, were also less than successful. In fact, the main result of the day was that I lost one of my favourite earrings! And no wonder. I must have had at least 60 dresses on and off during the day. 

Guess what? Not a single one worked. 

So I'm coming back here in case anybody has any leads on a dress that sounds like a possible bet. 

What I already tried: 

You name it. 

I tried on many  dresses at Holt's, and then throughout the mall - The Bay,  Melanie Lyne, Judith and Charles  -- everything from Alice & Olivia (the ones that Holt's had were too short), Adrianna Papell (too short - and I'm not tall!!!), Elie Tahari, Lida Baday, Pink Tartan, Ralph Lauren, Suzy Chin, Maggy London, Helmut Lang (I was so sad that one didn't look fab on me - it sort of hung and clung all wrong, alas...), and on and on. 

If it wasn't the style, it was the fit (many were too long waisted for me  -- no petites to be found, and anyway, if regular length was already too short, there was no way I was going there! In some cases that could have been fixed with a simple shoulder adjustment, but in some cases the adjustment would not have been all that easy due to shoulder or neck detailing. And anyway, none of these dresses sang to me. They looked "okay" but not great. 

My friend was so patient with me! And super helpful with the sometimes pushy SA's too. She deserves a YLF award!

The best thing I found was a simple Helmut Lang knit dress. Although it, too, could have benefitted from a small alteration, I could have worn it as is in a pinch. But it was expensive, and it was black. And it would have looked utterly indistinguishable from a hundred other black dresses. So I left it. 

The other "possible" was a pretty ink and black peplum top by Judith and Charles. (Pic 1) I could have worn that with a pencil skirt or even (maybe?) the Leith track pants. Or a pair of slim cigarette pants. It fit well and looked good -- so if I want it, my friend will buy it for me and send it. It was very expensive for a top, however, and I wondered about the longevity of a peplum. Angie, if you read this, can you weigh in on that? Ordinarily I might not care, but at the price point I thought I might want to wear the thing at least a few times! 

Also, the pants I tried with it were not all that flattering. Size 2 felt awfully snug to me, but size 4 wrinkled up  in a weird way that suggested they were too big, but not in any part of me I could identify, if you know what I mean (i.e. it wasn't just a simple - nip it at the waist issue.) So it would be a case of trying to make an outfit out of pieces, and you know how tricky that sometimes can get.

I also tried this dress, which was quite nice on me, but would have needed to be brought up in the shoulder. And it did seem a bit more like a work dress.  

My needs: higher neckline -- no Vs, plunges, wide Us, wide open cowls, etc. Knee length (at least) -- no minis. Dressy -- this is a fancy event. Sophisticated vs. cute. Preferably NOT BLACK!! Size 2 (usually...though I had on everything from 0s to 4s the other day, depending on the brand and the cut). If petite, then a 2 or 4 petite, depending...and in that case, it pretty much has to be a midi, because a shorter petite dress will be too short. 

Note: I do have 2 possibilities still. One has arrived (the Jax dress Diana recommended, which I will show as soon as I can) and one will be here next week (a navy Nicole Miller sheath). But in case those don't work, I'd like to get busy looking for alternatives while I still have a couple of weeks before the party. 

Thank you! !


WIW: On Retreat

I'm packing to leave Banff tomorrow. I've had a short, but very productive, working retreat, and I came away having accomplished what I'd hoped. 

Meanwhile, the big surprise? And an absolute first in my lifetime?

"You have the most amazing clothes!!" "You always look so great!!" "Wow, where do you get your stuff??"

And so on.

It is especially gratifying to get these compliments because they are coming from women 10 to 25 years younger than me. Oh, and especially considering that since I got here I've been having terrible allergies so my eyes are red and puffy and my skin is a flaking, dry, and an excessively wrinkled mess!! (This didn't happen when I was here in the summer so I can only conclude that I am reacting to some pollen in the air.)

My outfits, as you will see, are the opposite of fancy. And there was frequent repetition; I packed quite lightly, and the weather dictated more warm clothes than I had expected for the first week. 

 These are my regular "work-at-home" uniform type of clothes -- slouchy skinnies, toothpicks, white jeans for bottoms; Gap mesh sweater, BR or LL Bean striped sweater, or J. Crew shirt. Scarves when required for the cold or for a pop of colour. 

My Cons and my SE Petty booties got constant compliments. 

Special shout out to Mo: on the first few days after I arrived it was super cold and snowy. I wore your cashmere hoodie set and was so grateful for it! 

Then, just as suddenly, it got HOT, and I have been struggling because I did not bring shorts or sandals!! 

As you can imagine, I lost no time in telling people my secret. YOU LOOK FAB!! -- Angie and the forum!!!! We may get a few new members in the next few weeks.  :-) 

ETA: the last photo was taken at home but I wore the very same outfit first night I was here. Thanks to K, the artist formerly known as K Can Shop, for the inspiration! 


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →


Gala: What to Wear?

I just learned that I have been nominated for two National Magazine Awards! 

While this is wonderful news, it brings a new dilemma. There is a gala, which I should attend. And -- you guessed it -- I have nothing suitable to wear! 

My ordinary life does not include many dressy occasions of this type -- and I just purged my "fancy" LBD as dated, ill-fitting, and just plain unfab. 

So, it looks as if I may need to do some shopping! Some information to help guide the decision making: 

The event will be held in early June, in Toronto, in an upscale hotel. Cocktail reception followed by dinner and awards ceremony. I have never attended one of these before, but I have attended the Western Magazine Award Ceremony and dress was cocktail, although many women wore long gowns. 

I am in Canada, so ordering online from Nordstrom's is unfortunately quite tricky and unreliable. Also, to complicate matters further, I live in a small town where brick and mortar options are few. Worse yet, I will only have a three week window when I return from my current trip. I will have one short visit to Toronto during that time and might be able to do some power shopping if I could pick my destinations in advance. 

Online options that would work: J. Crew, BR, the Bay, maybe Shopbop (I haven't tried them.) 

Would love your thoughts for an ensemble and/ or shopping destinations!