The Vince dress

Should I try it, or will the neckline be too loosey-goosey for my small frame/ small bust? 

Also, ask me seriously do I need a dressy winter dress, since I wore my other (slightly more conservative) David Meister dressy sleeved dress precisely once last year...(shown in photo).  

OTOH, the Meister dress is 3 seasons old now and was bought on substantial sale (so CPW is acceptable to me, despite infrequent wear). And I do have an October theatre trip planned, plus I will probably be doing a bit more city travelling in the next year, which means dinners out and other dressier outings. And that cranberry red is one of my best colours. 

I guess the question is, does the Vince dress have some longevity? 

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.


  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Here's my two cents...the Vince dress is beyond GORGEOUS! I've been staring at it longingly myself. The color is so beautiful. I think the style has some longevity - it's walks the line between trendy and classic IMHO. I mean shirt dresses per se never go out of style, do they?

    However I worry about the sheer sleeves. I don't think it would layer nicely under a jacket which would then cover up those beautiful sleeves. So are sheer sleeves practical for our colder autumns and winters? I guess that's up to you :)

  • Mochi replied 7 years ago

    It's a beautiful dress. I can't wait to see you try it. (Ooops, enabling.) I wonder if it's got a really long length or not. Sleeves look long. But it's gorgeous and somehow manages to be not crazy avant-garde and yet arty and interesting. I think the small bust would actually be an advantage, btw. 

  • JamC replied 7 years ago

    I think you should try it!  I did and will be keeping it.  My husband saw it on the hanger and liked it.  He mentioned we need to go out more often so I have reasons to wear it.  I am a similar body shape and love the way it fits!  Sleeves are sheer and beautiful but I think the dress will also look great with a jacket over it.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for both wisdom and enabling!  ;)

    I should add that part of its appeal to me is the fabrication and the beautiful sheer sleeves. 

    Years ago I found a dress at Winners made of silk in this colour with sheer sleeves and overlay. It was more of a faux wrap style with a pleated flared skirt, by a British designer. I think it was incorrectly sized or something because the price was unbelievable. Anyway, I bought it and loved it, even though I couldn't quite fill out the bust and had to pin it. 

    Alas, with weight loss it was impossible for me to wear anymore, but I clung to it in the closet for several months anyway. 

    So part of the appeal of this dress is the memories of the other beloved dress. I felt so feminine and pretty in it. 

  • Sara L. replied 7 years ago

    I really like the dress but I don't know how the neckline will be.  I have a small bust too and it can be hard to tell without trying items on.  I think the Meister dress looks great on you but it's nice to have a second option so you have some choices.  Besides, it sounds like you will have more occasions to wear a dressy dress and don't want to wear the same dress all winter long (at least I would get bored with only one option).

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    A small just is fine - you need very square shoulders - which you have, Suz. I vote try it. 

  • shedev replied 7 years ago

    I think this dress could be pretty versatile. Dressy with heels and a little more casual with leggings and boots.

  • jackiec replied 7 years ago

    Seeing Vivian model it for us, I have a feeling that it would look just as fab on you, Suz. If it weren't so short (I believe, for me), I'd be sorely tempted also. The colour is fantastic. Climate-wise, I'd take pause, personally. That would be the only thing I'd really wonder about, especially for you. If people are saying you can layer a jacket over top nicely, then it might be worth a try. Although "worth a try" for Canadians can get expensive right ;)?

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    It is a beautiful dress but it is short, more of a tunic. That may be how you plan to wear it. The description says the size 8 is 36 inches long. A smaller size may be shorter. You might measure other dresses that you like and wear for length and email or live chat to find out what the actual length is in your size.
    But if anyone could look smashing in this dress, it would be you.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Okay. I might just give it a try. Why not, right? What is to lose? I can always return it. 

  • Angie replied 7 years ago


  • Susie replied 7 years ago

    I loved this dress the moment I saw it and liked it even more on Vivian than on the model. This is a great color for you, Suz, and I think it would look smashing on you. Please try it!

  • abc replied 7 years ago

    Try it!  Try it!  :)

  • replied 7 years ago

    I'm another fan - Vivian looks so gorgeous in it.  From a purely practical point of view, it's an expensive dress for us Canadians. This free shipping bit from Nord during the sale is not happening , so I don't know why it keeps showing up on their website banner.  Although - I'm guessing you'll have it shipped to your US box, which might reduce the costs.....

    Vivian says the sleeves aren't as sheer as they appear, and that a leather jacket would layer well over it.  I'd love to order it myself, but I can't get my head around the price for something I may only wear once a month or so.  

  • Elly replied 7 years ago

    I like the idea for you, but for some reason I see it more as a summer or early fall dress than a true winter item unless paired with leather leggings or the like. 

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 7 years ago

    It's a gorgeous dress, and I can picture you looking stunning in it. Sounds like you will have opportunity to wear it this year, and the style should last at least the three years your David Miester dress has. You can wear it with skinnies or leggings and boots or booties, too. It's a great color to wear to holiday parties. My vote is to give it a try.

  • Carole replied 7 years ago

    Please try it so I can live vicariously through you! Love that dress but my life doesn't warrant another dress at the moment!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Do you know how you'd look in a t-shirt -style dress, just generally? If every other tshirt dress fits you, then this one might too, and so maybe it's not so risky.

    I *do* love the dress.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks, all. 

    Smittie, I tend to look good in shirt dresses and in waist surrendering looks overall. My only hesitation here was with the neckline -- I am small up top so looser, less structured necklines can be overwhelming on me. I do have very square shoulders, as Angie says, and this helps. My shoulder line is slightly wider than my hip line, though I am not a true IT -- more of a rectangle/ hourglass hybrid. 

    Sharan, I had the same idea about holiday wear. I could experiment with leggings...though you know me and leggings. NOT a match made in heaven so far....  ;) Then again, this is not a butt-vest, either....

    Joy, that's a good idea to check the length. But Vivian is taller than I am and I felt the length was good on her. I don't mind a knee grazing or even slightly above the knee look -- as long as it is not a true mini it's okay with me. 

    About to hit the buy button...and yes, Lisa, I'll have it shipped to my US address, so I won't be paying postage. Also, my husband has a longer trip to the US planned to visit his family, and can bring things back with the exemption. 

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    Glad to hear you're going to order it.  It is different than any other dress in your closet, and I think it will be quite versatile if the fit is good.  When you have an infrequent need for dresses, those that get to be in your closet need to be extra fab!  When we have few chances to dress up, we need to make the most of them! 

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    It's a great color and it has sleeves.  Plus, dresses are ideal for packing/traveling.  I vote try it.

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    My emotional side is jumping up and down in exitement that you are going to get this beauty. Ah, it maybe exactly what you need to redeem your almost-orphaned grey heeled tall boots. Wine red and grey is a very sophisticated combo.
    My practical side is muttering something now but I am trying to ignore it completely :-)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Yeah, my practical side is having conniption fits, Sveta. 

    In some ways it is a seriously crazy purchase. 

    However...sometimes those purchases pay off in some way or another. I really like the idea of this, feels quite versatile.....and yes, those grey boots.....

  • Eliza replied 7 years ago

    I think it is worth the order, despite the possibility that you will think the better of it upon receipt.  Dresses are tough and this one is a true Suz color and interesting comfortable shape.  While it reads today, I could see it having some longevity.  The sheer sleeves and weight of the fabric may variables, given your climate, yet very few dress sleeves would actually add a high amount of warmth. You are good about returning near misses, so I am happy to hear that you are trying it. Fingers crossed for however you wind up wanting it to go,

  • Staysfit replied 7 years ago

    I would love to see more people who can rock this style because I most definitely cannot. It would look like a shapeless sack on me. I say go for it!

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Suz, just think at how many conniption fits my practical side had when I tried on the DVF jumpsuit. That should put your heart at ease. I mean - loo challenges, climate challenges, occasion challenges, and the rain. But I HAD to have this highly impractical piece because it sparked immense joy. We're allowed to have a few of those from time to time. 

  • Joy replied 7 years ago

    I know what you mean about the neckline of the dress, but it looks like one could add a tiny fastener at the top if needed, or fill in with a necklace.

  • Parsley replied 7 years ago

    Another enabling vote here, Suz! 
    I also bought that dress, and absolutely love it! I was afraid it might be too short, but it's not at all. I'm 5'6" and it hovers around my knees. The sleeves are somewhat sheer, but not so much that they feel seasonally confused.
    The neckline isn't a problem on me at all, but if it worries you it would be very easy to take a little stitch to make the V hit slightly higher. 
    I am having the sleeves shortened a tiny bit on mine. I could have just moved the buttons over, but I didn't want to have to unbutton them to put it on.
    Anyway, I think it would look great on you, and that you'd find the style pretty versatile for dressing up or down.

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Suz, there is no question this dress will be TDF on you as it is on Viva!  My issue is the sheer sleeves.  I'm not layering jackets much, and those sleeves are just not going going to cut it for me - in this climate they will read as seasonally confused.  To me this is a style that looks best all breezy and bare-legged.  That said, if I needed an event dress, I'd be all over it.  Give it a try - I'm sure you could find ways to style it and stay warm.

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    What Shannon said, it might be too sheer, but then, sleeves of any kind are a rarity, and warm but dressy dresses are HEWI's, so really it's competing with sleeveless and short sleeves and 3/4 sleeves and some elusive warm cashmere dream of a dress.
    I wonder if the 35" length is the front or the longer back hem--on me this would be desperately too short even if I was happy with my knees, but might work on near-petite, as the length looked good on viva.
    So, for indoor, nighttime theater or cocktail party and so on, I think maybe you go with the warm coat and boots getting there and then, voila.
    It would also be a plus if dark tights and boots work, since every bit of extra coverage can help for winter wear.

  • replied 7 years ago

    It does have a versatile feel, I agree. Sometimes, you need to live a little.

  • viva replied 7 years ago

    So excited you are trying it!! Okay, so my two cents (and I have worn it, so listen to me!) haha.

    1.The sleeves are not that sheer. Not at all as sheer as they appear on the model. How does that happen anyway? Do they photograph different fabrications or something? The sleeves do not feel or look super sheer to me AT ALL. In fact, I think it really is a cool/cold weather dress. I will not be wearing it in August even if the evenings get cool. In the winter, it will be great with tights and booties (and an overcoat to get to the restaurant, of course.)

    2. It is not that short. MUCH shorter on the model. It almost hits the top of my knees in front. In fact, it is too long for me to wear as a tunic, and I am 5'5". I had hoped to wear it over skinnies but to me it feels too long to do that.

    3. The neckline is one of the things I LOVE about it. It's very crisp and it stays flat against my collarbone. And you know I am not endowed in the chest region. The neckline is gorgeous.

    I can't wait to see you in it!


  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Well, Vivian, you KNOW it was the picture of you that got me drooling over it, right? 

    I figure if we are jacket twins and numerous J. Crew item twins, this might be another win... fingers crossed. 

    It will be a while before I can model it because I will be away when my purchases arrive, but luckily, Nordstrom's return policy makes that no problem. 

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    I love that dress and would order it too if I thought it had a prayer of working on me. Perhaps as a tunic? I dunno, those straight cuts are usually not my friend, but *maybe* as a tunic with skinnies and boots for me...

    But I think it would be brilliant on you. Looking forward to seeing it!

  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    I would pass, sorry. Yes it is lovely. But really, honestly, would you get enough wear out of it to be happy about the purchase, especially with restricted income because of awesome life opportunities? Do you have other pieces that can fill that gap so you could spend your smaller budget on true workhorses?

  • UmmLila replied 7 years ago

    I ordered it based on Viva, too. Lemming Party!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thistle, that's a really good point. I forgot to mention in my original post that the money is actually not an issue at this time. I am doing some extra contract work specifically to pay the NAS bill.  ;) 

  • Susie replied 7 years ago


    go for it, Suz!

  • replied 7 years ago

    Ok - Suz, please enlighten me in the ways of avoiding or reducing duty. I pretend-ordered this dress (because I love it ) and another Vince sweater. Total bill came to $500  and a bit.  But then....the duty and taxes were $169.  The f?  That's close to 30% of the entire cost!  When you are declaring it at the border, are you avoiding the duty out of sheer luck , or do they tend to charge less.  Help me understand the process :)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Susie, isn't Girl Math great? 

    Lisa, here's what happens. If you are out of the country for 8 days (as my husband and his son will be) the exemption is $800 per person. So it wouldn't be a problem. 

    Another way to avoid duty (shhhh...I did not say this...) is Like, by wearing said item. (I wouldn't do this with this dress, but I do it with bras and similar items.) If the tags are off and you are wearing the item, nobody is going to question you. Honestly, they are after bigger fish than that $100 sweater (or whatever). 

    Also, you do get $200 free if you are gone for 24 hours. So if you can make a number of short trips, taking only what is worth about $200 each time, it's pretty straightforward. I live quite close to the border and have done that. 

    Another trick -- use a Nordstrom note to pay -- it brings the price down by the note's value. :) 

    Still another way is to have a friend from the US mail an item to you from their address as a gift. Sometimes you do get dinged for duty -- they can open packages at will and charge you if they see the tags. But often they do not bother -- it just depends. If the declared value is $40 Canadian, then it's okay. 

    Of course you are taking a risk in that case. The item might never get to you and then you're out of luck. 

    I wouldn't use the shadier methods very often. Mostly I declare what I have and pay. Or try to arrange my shopping "binges" for when I or family members will be gone long enough for the larger exemption, as now. 

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 7 years ago

    Yeah, Suz, I almost didn't mentioned the L word (leggings). Ha haha!

  • Jaime replied 7 years ago

    Can't wait to see it on you - and happy to have someone else on team waiting for NAS purchases (my sister will be here in a month!).

  • replied 7 years ago

    Thanks Suz.  As I suspected. I know all about the exemptions for time spent in the US....just figured there was some other trick I don't know about.  I got caught about 30 years ago not claiming everything i had bought, and the whole experience was so awful (financial penalties for lying, double the duty charges etc etc) and the humiliation of being hauled into the US Customs office ensured that I have never, and will never fudge the value of anything I've bought. Just not worth it.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I also wanted to my experience, even when I pay duty at the border, the cost is lower because I'm not paying for shipping and other mysterious add-ons. And there seems to be less rounding off or something -- some items get charged higher and others considerably lower -- depending on fabrication and provenance. 

    Plus -- there's a form -- if I pay at the border yet decide to send back, theoretically I can get the duty back as well. 

    Fortunately, I also get to TRY ON the items before I return to Canada -- this means I send a heck of a lot back before there's any issue about making a claim. 

  • Sveta replied 7 years ago

    ...and you only pay 13% HST when you cross the border in your car - no additional duties. Also if you take you hubby with you for the ride the exemption is going up to $400 :-)
    Unfortunately it only works when you live close to the border - an hour or so...

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Exactly, Sveta. We are lucky ducks. 

    I confess to having taken my DD along for the ride a couple of times, with the promise of lunch....she is easily bribed by yummy food.....

    DH also comes once in a while but he is much less help because he shops even more than I do!! 

  • Elizabeth P replied 7 years ago

    I'm so glad you are going to try this Suz. It will look amazing on you.

    Lisa, you said the free shipping isn't happening? I've placed two NAS orders, and have got free shipping on both. It also shows up in all the pretend purchases I've made, when checking out duties. There is a minimum of $100... We're you over that?

  • Aquamarine replied 7 years ago

    I will look forward to seeing this dress on you. Sadly, I can't think of any specific events where I would wear this, otherwise I'd be tempted. It looks so much better on Viv than on the model.

  • Aquamarine replied 7 years ago

    I would also like to hear Angie address the longevity factor....

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I think in a way it depends how it fits and what your personal style is, Aquamarine. This kind of dress is fairly classic -- but is having a "moment" now. If you wear and like waist surrender no matter what is going on in the fashion world, I think it has longevity. If not, then you might feel too straight up and down in it, I suspect. Also, the length it falls will be relevant. It seems to hit Vivian almost at the knee and she is 5'5" or 5'6". I expect it will be a touch longer on me because I am shorter; then again, I think I take a size smaller than she does also (we're similarly proportioned except she has a nicer bust and better legs, LOL.) 

  • jackiec replied 7 years ago

    I can't WAIT to see it.....

    Good discussion on duties. Lisa, can't believe you were hauled in. For some reason borders make me shake, and I'm one of the most honest people out there.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I was once thoroughly searched at the border. I was with my stepson, who was then a teenager. We had, in fact, done a bit of illegal cross border shopping (the exemptions were much lower in those days) and we were terrified. But they couldn't find the evidence and were probably actually looking for drugs, not silk shirts from J. Crew, so they let us go. It did make me shaky, though. 

    Ordinarily, they let me across without even a question. Only once did I get grilled about a purchase and it was because it was an eBay purchase (my first ever) and I had no receipt. But they let me go with a warning to always get a receipt in the future. 

    Granted, I don't fudge very often. Usually I am super honest -- I just time my shopping to coincide with longer visits to the US when I can. 

  • Marilyn replied 7 years ago

    Re Suz's duty tricks......I have a friend who lives in Buffalo.  She says Canadian's come across wearing old, throw away clothes.  They buy new things, put them on and toss what they came in......and they actually have dumpsters where Canadians toss their stuff.  She says you can always spot the Canadians.   No, I'm not kidding!   A woman I know who lives in Victoria, BC goes over to Seattle and does this.  Seems weird to me! LOL

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Well, I have certainly done it with underwear. I wear my oldest, rattiest bra and simply toss it! I also have worn jeans, a top, and other items back. 

    Fortunately it won't be necessary in this case. 

    But it will be a while before I can model this baby for you, alas. I'm travelling later this month and won't be around...yay for Nordstrom's generous return policy. 

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