K/R: BR dresses

First, a big thank you to all those who've been sending healing thoughts. The good news: I don't have pneumonia. 

The bad news: I do have lung scarring.  The reason isn't clear. Could be from the bronchitis. Or it could be that I DID have pneumonia and am now in the healing phase. 

In any case, there's still no treatment. Just wait and rest. (And shop online, LOL.) I do feel very slightly better today. 

In fact, I even felt well enough to try on clothes! And that's where you come in. 

In my quest for fashion that feels like PJs but looks like real clothes, and a greater variety of silhouettes for my work-at-home job and frequent travel, I have loved the Vince Camuto tube skirts -- in summer. Alas, they cling to tights like the dickens  -- plus, they are not warm enough for my winter climate. 

I had hoped I might find a bit of variety with leggings and tunics. But I have sadly concluded that it just isn't my look. I don't feel properly dressed in leggings, they continually fall down (even those lovely Lysee ones), and I just don't think they suit me all that well. Plus, when you get right down to it, the silhouette isn't all that different from my ponte pants or legging jeans tucked into boots -- an all too familiar look for me in my long winter!! 

But gryffin suggested the skirted Eileen Fisher leggings, and that intrigued me. I wondered if I might feel differently about a skirt in winter. A stretchy skirt. Especially considering how much I love the VC skirts. 

Now, I do have some problems with my cat. But he's most destructive to fancy tights and to sheer hose. He can't really do much damage to fleece tights or the like. 

So that got me thinking. 

Enter Exhibit A and B, two jersey dresses from Banana Republic. 

The first is a navy blouson style in a modal- poly jersey that is like silk jersey (i.e. a bit slippery). It is surprisingly warm! And it does not cling to tights. I am showing it on its own, and with a couple of oversized and fluid sweaters. It could use a good steaming, but it does have ruching that is part of the design. 

Next, the red dress. It's a wool-like poly jersey (i.e. not slippery), also warm. I actually wanted this in grey but they sold out. I have ordered a similar skirt in grey but it has not arrived yet. 

The red is much more of a "blue" red IRL than it seems in these photos. They call it "cranberry sauce" and that is what it looks like. In fact, it's not so different from the Munro booties, although the photos suggest otherwise. It's much more body con than the blue but not uncomfortable. 

My thought is that for frequent travel and work-at-home life, I would de-bombshell these dresses. I would wear with fleece lined tights for outdoors. 
But Ii could wear the red one as is for a holiday party. Or I could exchange for a black one, which might be more versatile. 

Could this kind of a look work as my new "at home" silhouette to give me the variety I crave in winter? Are these dresses current enough, worn as I might wear them? They are short...but are they too short for me? They stretch, so sitting isn't an issue. And I would mostly wear with opaque tights, I expect. 

Apologies for the length of this, and I would love to hear your thoughts. :)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • N-Marie replied 5 years ago

    I love this look for you! The navy one reminds me of Parisian fall/winter style- simple and unfussy but elegant. I also really like the red dress, especially the way you styled it in #10 and #11. All WIWs still looks very "you" (except perhaps #9 in the dress alone because I think I'm used to seeing more fluid elements in your WIWs). I don't see them as too short at all, especially since you are rather petite. And they both look plenty current to my eye,  especially when worn with the oversized knits.

    My only question is whether tights are comfy lounging piece for you? They drive me a little crazy (I feel a bit strangled in thee waist) and they are slippery on my floors if I'm not wearing shoes.

  • E replied 5 years ago

    I love the navy on you! It seems like it will work effortlessly with your closet. The red one could be a fun 'wild card': it's definitely more bombshell than I usually see you in, but once you style it you tone that way down. I love that one on you too! And a blue-red should be easy to mix with your other pieces. :) I don't see either as too short for you.

    I wouldn't exchange the red for black if you're also keeping the navy, as I think the navy & black would end up being duplicates. But that's me: you know I love colour! ;)

  • Gail replied 5 years ago

    Glad you are starting to feel better .
    I really like number 8, and number 12. I agree that both look current and not too short at all. I just bought a black dress from BR and I feel mine is too short to wear with anything but flat boots, I am 5'5 I don't know how tall you are.  I love the grey cardigan and have been looking for long one like that. The sweater you have on with the red dress looks amazing . I wish I could think of putting together these looks. I have lots of clothes and still nothing to wear , I need to have a big trying on/purge  session and get serious about what I will really wear out of my closet .

  • Eliza replied 5 years ago

    Like your dress choices, if you are comfortable with the shorter lengths, especially for winter. Clever to throw your sweaters on over them. Love the grey/black outlined jCrew sweater with the cranberry dress, as well as the other pairings. The only pairing I am not sure of is the extra long, belted gray one. I think it would work better if the dress were longer.

    Well done and take it easy!

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    I like the navy one very much - especially alone and in 6.7.8.  I don't like it as much with the lighter sweater because of the horizontal line.and the contrasting colour.  In saying that it would be a cozy comfy ensemble to wear at home for work.  

    I am more on the fence with the red one.  

    I think they are classic dresses and not at all dated.  The length is fine - as long as it is warm enough :)

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    Jeez Suz what rough road for you!! Glad it's not pneumonia but scarring - jeesh!!!!!??? Get well soon. Nothing like a little retail therapy!

    I love how you've styled both dresses. Fantastic! The red one with the patterned tights and mixed media jacket took my breath away.

    To be 100% honest, it's the length that concerns me. Totally up to you and what you feel comfy with. You rock the looks so I wouldn't worry about that. But I'd defer to our Angie for length ;)

    Keeping it brief bc I'm on my phone. Check back later....

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    I think these are a great idea & I really like them both on you. I prefer the red to black too especially as you have the navy. The other bonus with these is they showcase your fab boots :)

  • Elly replied 5 years ago

    The navy one is a clear winner-- great looks, so long as you find the right tights for your work at home situation. The red one I like, but don't love the de-bombshelled looks as much -- fitted plus the length and color I think. 
    Hope you get to feeling better!

  • Alassë replied 5 years ago

    The outfits are certainly stylish & current (not quite sure on length). Were you reading Bridgette's post? ;) You used some of her strategies to good effect. http://www.bridgetteraes.com/2.....s-to-work/ I'm glad you're getting better!

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    sorry about the lung scarring.  are they sure?  how is the recovery going?
    on to the dresses.  i have a version of #2 in a charcoal wool.  bought specifically to be worn around the house with leggings and worn to bed (!)

    i love love love all your stylings.  how do you feel about the length?

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I think the length is fine but I admit that I frequently like shorter lengths than are popular on the forum.  I love the red dress with the plaid tights - great look!  It seems like both dresses will be versatile for you and if they are warm enough, they seem like a good buy.

  • Missey replied 5 years ago

    I love how you styled the dresses and they look wonderful on you!  Would they be too short for business?  Didi you order them in petites, and if so, could you try them in regular?  I think they look very appropriate with tights and are definitely on the right road to dressy casual.

  • replied 5 years ago

    This kind of look for at home  is out of my comfort zone and experience, so I've not much to say other than I love the styling in 8, 10 and 11- but they involve layering over the dress, which kind of makes the point of having a dress moot to me.  That red dress looks fantastic with plaid tights (plaid tights, who knew? I'm off to investigate!) and with the grey sweater over top- that's my favourite. I also like the navy with the cardi and scarf - really nice, but is this an indoor work-at-home look?  I guess I'm not sure what you're looking for from these two dresses.  

  • Jjsloane replied 5 years ago

    Picture 9 made me hesitant on the red one, but the rest are fab and I think you look great. I do wonder if they are a bit short, but that's a personal comfort zone. With tights nothing is indecent or age inappropriate. 
    Sending more healing vibes to you - such a drag to feel unwell. 

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    Meant to say that I am pleased you are feeling a little better, but what a hard couple of weeks.  Bit of a curve ball to be so unwell.

  • Liz replied 5 years ago

    They look lovely and your stylings look lovely. For me, trying to work at home in winter dresses that short would make me twitchy -- fine for walking around but skimpy for curling up on the couch or sitting at my drafty desk. 

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Oh good heavens. Hang in there, poor Suz. Much love and rest up. You are just as stylish sick as you are fighting fit. xo

    I LOVE the first dress. Keep. 

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thank you all for weighing it -- so helpful. 

    Missey, I ordered regular length (!!!!) -- and I am 5'4". Which tells you how short they would be on anyone else! Sheesh. 

    I don't have "business" per se. I work from home. Nothing corporate. Most of my colleagues are wearing fitness gear when we get together. Or outfits far more casual than this. 

    My eyes have pretty much totally adjusted to the midi -- and I love it. But it does get in the way of tights when you are trying to walk if it is tapered. 

    I feel fine with this length -- with toned tights. I feel less comfortable with nude hose. Although I do agree that on a shorter person, a shorter skirt can seem more proportionate and less intentionally "bombshell." 

    Ruth, that is hilarious!  I'm obviously on the right track, if you wear something like this for loungewear! :)  (And yup -- they are sure about the scarring, but it seems recent, i.e. not serious.) 

    Alasse -- I had not read Brigitte's post but will do so now!

    Elly, thanks -- I prefer the blue one, too, but like the fabric of the red. Hmm. 

    Caro, thank you!  

    Jackie, thanks! I am taking this all in. If the length is an issue, I do want to know. I don't want to seem like an old lady who is pretending not to be one. 

    Kiwi, me too -- navy is easier than red and feels more current. 

    N-Marie -- Thank you. And I do not find tights uncomfortable at all, if I buy good ones. I don't know why that is. If they're the wrong size, yeah-- then I hate them. But assuming the right size, they are comfy. And I wear soled slippers in the house on the floors. 

    Thanks, all! 

  • Isabel replied 5 years ago

    I really like the dresses as tunics and over the tartan tights.  The red dress I like as a dress.  But the black one seems off to me.  I am not fond of it.   

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    I have a James Perse dress very similar to that first dress, and yes, it's like PJs.  Full disclosure: I'd never wear it at home, what with pet hair and mess.  I'm not sure I would ever wear a dress or skirt at home, actually - but I don't work from home. 

    I suggest you keep ONE dress or skirt to start and see if you really are going to be good with this theme before you purchase more.  Not because you don't look amazing - it's a given that you do - but because I can see falling for the idea hook, line and sinker only to realize it's not suiting your true needs. 

    Rest up and heal!  Glad it's not pneumonia any more, at least.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Okay, so since I wrote that reply, the grey skirt arrived. It is basically a James Perse copy -- similar to one Denise modelled for us a couple of years ago. 

    I'll post pics tomorrow. 

    For now, I think I am going to keep the blue one and maybe the grey skirt, and send the red dress back. 

    Very interesting to hear your takes on all of this. These are SUPER easy for me to wear at home curled up -- this is why I thought of them.

    I was fascinated by your response. I honestly would wear these far more at home than out. I would be unlikely to wear them out at all! Partly the length, but partly because I prefer more structure looks for being out in the world. 

    And yes, Lisa -- every one of these looks would be "work from home" for me. I would wear them layered like this no problem on cold days. On warmer days, unlayered. 

    Isn't it interesting how different we all are? That is what is so great about this forum -- it gives us a space to tease out what works for US, personally. 

    Thanks so much for the input -- really really helpful. 

    Kiwi, Angie -- thank you!! 

    Angie, glad you like the blue. I somewhat prefer the fabrication of the other one...but this one will be very cross-seasonal. And pretty darned useful, I suspect. 

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks, Isabel -- honesty is great! I appreciate that. Just goes to show you that perceptions differ! 

    (It's navy, not black...so you might like it more in person...)   :) 

    Una, I know I'll wear skirts/ dresses at home if they are stretchy enough. I wear my VC skirts all summer. Cat hair isn't a problem on these. 

    I can just hear Sveta -- "Fine for at home but you shouldn't wear them out!" -- and that is basically my view. Well, I might wear them out to a very casual pub lunch...but this is essentially loungewear for structure-loving me. 

  • Peri replied 5 years ago

    Wow, I love them on you! I had to go back and read that they were just two dresses...I thought you were showing some skirts and then I realized you put sweaters over the dress. That would never have occurred to me! What a great idea.

    If I had to pick I would choose the blue one. But I like both. But it does make sense to start with one and see if it survives reality and you want to wear it like you think.

  • Missey replied 5 years ago

    Holy moly, regular, not petites?!  Those dresses would be obscenely short on me!  Whew!  Glad I asked ;)

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I echo Una. Keep ONE dress, and see how you go. I also think the dark will be a lot more versatile than the red. I adore stylings #7 and 8. 

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks, Angie -- that makes sense. Also -- every look I show with the red dress would work equally well (or better) with the blue one. So in a way, no need to go overboard. Especially if I keep the  grey skirt, which I will show tomorrow. 

    Thanks, Peri -- the layering probably wouldn't work in your climate, but for mine, in winter, it's a natural. 

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    Ha ha, Suz, i'm the last monkey you want to play monkey see, monkey do!

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Well, you seem to have the answer to your questions.  Starting with one is very smart, although I really like them both esp seeing the styling ideas.  the only one I"m not fussy about is the belted cardi.

    But really wanted to post to say hat I'm glad you don't have pneumonia (hope you know I was totally kidding the other day when I said I hoped it was.... I just wanted you to have some answers!).  I also hope the scarring doesn't cause you long term issues.  I have a bit of a chronic cough that kicks in in the winter (yet it's shown up now for some reason) and while it's not a big deal, it is annoying.  Hopefully you're on the mend now!

  • krishnidoux replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I hope you feel better soon! 
    I find all these dresses very cute. My question is about length. Are you comfortable wearing them with nude nylons? Are you comfortable with the look at home?

    Maybe instead of focusing on these dresses themselves, you can look into what you wear them with for comfort, and maybe invest in some really comfy, stylish leg wear (I'm thinking knit tight/leggings, purposely thick, or solid opaque tights, or funky yoga tights, or even belted over jeans... )
    Inspiration below.

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Suz, you poor thing! Scarring of the lungs and no treatment! I hope you do not entertain the idea of travelling this weekend anymore...because you should not! Sending you more healing vibes and many-many hugs!
    Now to the topic of dresses...but looks like you already made up your mind. I like the color of the red dress for you but something about the fit does not look stellar. Maybe it is the proportions of the neckline, length and fit of the skirt together? Cannot figure it out but it did not wow me.
    The navy dress is much more flattering so if you are at peace with the fabric then keep and experiment.
    For the record - I DID not say those words :-) but I could I guess...if the length feels comfortable to wear them out then by all means do so!
    Get well soon!!!

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 5 years ago

    Chiming in without reading everyone else's responses - I think both dresses look great and you've shown that you can style them in a versatile manner. However, I find that I just won't wear tights for an at-home day; they're just too confining around the midsection. I say I will but then I find that I just don't. That may or may not be an issue for you. And the length occurred to me to be a possible problem too - you look great as is but I'd prefer something that's to the knee because it's warmer.

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    Laura has hit on my issue: tights at home bother me. So I change to leggings or track pants, and if I'm wearing those, why wear a skirt when I can wear a comfy longer top, and there you have it.

    Of course, that's MY issue.

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    I see you're "sorted," and I like your choice to keep the blue.  I think it could be worn over leggings, too.

    Rest up, Suz!

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    Wow, scaring on your lungs! Will that heal over time, or is it permanent?

    The dresses look great. For stylings, I prefer the darker one, but I like the color of the red dress. I don't mind the length (although I do prefer longer) - I have some skirts that length and I wear them. I also agree with the others on keeping one for now.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    I am glad you are feeling better and don't have pneumonia anyway! Agree with the idea of keeping the blue dress and seeing how it goes - you have some great stylings already.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    I' m late to the party, but hope that you keep the first dress. Look at all the different looks you did with styling! My favorites are 6 and 8. Besides, you can get your cranberry with the cardi and Munros. I do like the cranberry color best on you but like the style of the navy dress most.
    I also like to wear winter dresses and tights at home. I find a cozy wool or sweater dress extremely comfortable. Tights can be just as comfortable as leggings.

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    Hmm. I hope you are on the mend for sure.

    I like the navy dress style. To me they're both too short for regular dresses, but you knew I'd say that. Not indecent or crazy- lady, just not where I think the hem should fall. So loungewear dresses is a new concept for me and maybe no rules, just right.

  • Debora replied 5 years ago

    Oh Suz, so sorry to hear that you have been so sick! I sincerely hope that you are on the mend and regaining your strength. I love all the styling options that you have with both dresses. You look amazing in this type of dress. I prefer the fit of the first, although the color of the second is very tempting. I know that you'll be working from home in style which ever one you choose.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Suz glad you are seemingly on the mend:) Do take care.

    Now the dresses! I have skimmed responses but didn't want to be swayed:)
    I really like them both, but for me they are tunics not dresses. My sense it that wearing with them with leggings would work better than tights. The opaque tights to my eye are just not 'opaque' enough. Its hard to explain but the more sheer effect of the tights, breaks the line of the look for me. My eye wants to see a long dark column in the case of the navy dress.

    For at home dressing, I find leggings much more comfortable than tights.

    I would definitely only keep one for the moment and see how it works for you. I love the idea but I would like to see you put it into practice before you invested any further.

  • Carole replied 5 years ago

    My first thought was, WOW! I love all the ways you have styled and can wear these dresses...I especially love the first dress and the dropped waist style (if that's what it is) Seems like a great versatile style that you could have so much fun with. The red one seems a little less versatile with the draping or rushing but I love how you've styled it...the length seems fine with tights but I know that can be a personal preference. I'm surprised these were this short for you...usually BR dresses are on the longer side...one of the reasons I've had good luck there. Hmmm.

  • jenanded replied 5 years ago

    You have your wardrobe down so well that at home wear looks this great! You look amazing. I like all these looks and so long as comfort factor is high then a couple of nice silhouettes. I tend to agree that it is best to try a new look with just one option and see how it pans out. There will be other dresses if you love the look and it works for you.
    And take good care - lung scarring sounds too scary.

  • ElleH replied 5 years ago

    Plenty of dress advice here already. I like the navy one. Do rest up. Can you do that? It isn't easy to do nothing but it is what you really need. Sorry if I'm being too bossy. 

  • Alexandra replied 5 years ago

    Ugh, lung scarring! Sending more healing thoughts you way.

    It sounds like you already made a decision, but I would have said keep both. You look great in them and the outfit combinations all work. Not too short, just right.

  • kerry replied 5 years ago

    Wow! Lung scarring - what is that and is it permanent? How will that affect you when you are better? Too bad there isn't any treatment as I'm sure you are more than ready to be better!

    You seem sorted on the dresses. I just wanted to weigh in and say I like all the renditions. I love how you've styled them as both dresses and skirts - so versatile. I'd keep both. I especially like #10.

  • viva replied 5 years ago

    On my way out for a last trip of the year (!!!) and just wanted to say ...

    -- SO sorry about your poor lungs! I continue to send you positive thoughts every day.
    -- You look lovely in these dresses; I admire and envy your styling abilities.
    -- I want that navy dress! I will be at a BR this weekend and must try it. I will have your styling ideas in my head. (This dress is jusst so much better than the Zara one, although you would probably do better with that one than i did.)
    -- I need plaid tights!

    Stay well,

  • Neel replied 5 years ago

    Lung scarring? Oh gosh ... It could be bronchitis though. So hopefully you should be on your mend soon :)

    I vote for the navy one too. But I would find tights uncomfortable for the house aas well. So if you are cool with the length, then I think it is a very versatile and fun dress! You look a bit run down .. Take care x

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    Way late, but I wanted to say get well soon. Lung scarring sounds unpleasant. :(

    I like the dresses. The navy seems more versatile for your purposes. I do wear dresses for loungewear, in fact they are some of my favorite things to wear at home, but only when it's warm enough for bare legs. The thought of wearing tights at home for lounging is highly unpleasant. But you know me, these days it takes a lot to get me into tights even for leaving the house. I'd wear over loose-ish leggings but I know you hate them!

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I'm glad you are starting to feel better!  I really like the dark dress for you most and especially like the stylings with added color.

  • Staysfit replied 5 years ago

    So sorry to hear about your healh Suz, but I'm glad your feeling better.  Its easy to take good health for granted until we get sick and then we realize how vulnerable we really are!  

    I hope you don't mind, but I didn't bother to read everyone's posts.  I am working from home today, and I am taking a quick break.  I really love the navy dress.  It's my favorite by far.  If you were only keeping one, I would vote for that.  

  • amiable replied 5 years ago

    Ooh - I hope you really are on the mend.  And I like the idea of a skirt or dress over tights as winter apparel.  I've been wanting to change up my silhouette too (it's all jeans and sweaters or shirts at the moment), and maybe this holds some possibility...)

  • BridgetteRaes replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for referencing my post! Suz, I hope you feel better!! Your outfits look GREAT! And I love your short hair!

  • thimblelina replied 5 years ago

    Look how many great ways you styled the navy dress! It's a keeper for sure. And the red is beautiful on you.
    I have had some lung scarring & it does gradually get better. The year H1N1 went around, I was one of the people who developed secondary pneumonia by virtue of the large cytokine response triggered with the flu. I was very sick! I spent one month on bed rest & only got back to full activity a few months after that. Lung scarring was a souvenir & I did develop another milder pneumonia in the lung folds that same year. But pneumonia scars are kind of like wrinkles in a pillowcase, the way my doc described it, and gradually healthy tissue will begin to smooth itself out. I am still more sensitive to particulates in the air than I was before so I stay indoors when wildfires are near and walking past a smoker is actually painful. My lungs just go 'gack' at that! But other than that I feel good. I think plenty of rest & clean eating is essential, and adding cardio back gradually was key. At high elevation I will sometimes feel a little less efficient in workouts (the scars are stiffer tissue) so I slow a little to match my breath. But other than that it's good!

  • Dee replied 5 years ago

    I came to this post from your leggings vs tights post, so I'm doing this a bit backward. These are the nicest work from home outfits I've seen in a while! I really like both dresses and wouldn't say they are too short to wear with tights, but I can see the logic of keeping one to start. Although, I'm impressed that dresses with a high poly count feel warm enough to you. It always feels like like the cold goes right through that for me. But clearly, to each her own!

    Also, I'm so glad you don't have pneumonia and hope you start feeling better soon.

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