Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The LBD...pick one...please?

So we have a wedding to go to next weekend. Very excited.... Because (1) being that I am 37 and hubby is 42, pretty much all of our friends have been married (at least once) so it's been 3 years since we've been to a wedding - that one was a FL beach wedding - fun fun fun. (2) Wedding is in Annapolis so my parents are coming up to watch the kiddies & we have a weekend away.

BUT...I need a dress. The lack of true cocktail functions over the past few years had caused my dressy dress supply to dwindle. And the 2 cute dresses I got last year from AT & ATL - well, they're just too big. I know, nice problem to have; I'm not complaining. But I don't want to break the bank getting a new dress. Enter Nordstrom. First of all, can I just say how much I love that store for their non-tricky pricing. It's full price...then it goes on sale and stays on sale...and that's it. No working coupons (unless you have that Nordstrom rewards Visa), or discounts, or sales on the right day - at least not that I'm aware of. And it just makes it easier because unlike Macy's, Lord & Taylor, etc, you don't worry that you are paying twice as much just by picking the wrong day to shop. Plus, Nordies doesn't put up their Christmas decorations until AFTER Thanksgiving and I really respect that.

I am planning to get...well, ok, I actually already bought (3) LBDs. It's a 6:00 wedding - not black tie (groom wanted to the rehearsal dinner to be jeans - bride nixed that one - but it's not uptight formal for sure) - so LBD is the way to go. And if I don't already have one that works, clearly that is a big vacuum in my closet. I think Tim Gunn is cringing right now.

In their latest catalog, Nordstrom had a whole section on LBDs - get this - under $150. Well hello, Nordies, you are speaking my language today. Here's the full LBD section online - lots and lots of choices (including the ones above $150, but seriously - many many many choices). And right now, Nordstrom has free shipping on orders over $100 with code HOLIDAY09 - through December 20.

Why am I boring you with the full background? Because I need some backup opinion here. Hubby & kids have weighed in. Hubby had an interesting perspective I'll mention below. But overall they liked all 3 - which is nice as I did as well. But I do need to choose. I would have loved to have my mom or sister with me for some very honest opinions and perspective, but I didn't. So I have you all. Get the rotten vegetables ready...let's go.

And it may be a long post before I'm done because I still can't figure out how to get the collagse to click-enlarge, so I'm posting lots of individual pics.

And please note utter lack of styling - hair & accessories are exactly as I wore them yesterday and shoes were too much of a bother. Plus I am employing the uber-unflattering to me full front pose, just for the info. You know how I hate that. Keep in mind, the event styling should be a vast improvement.

Dress #1 - Tahari by Authur S Levine Beaded Neck Shift Dress ($138). If you clicked over, did you notice that Nordstrom has "fit" notes with these dresses - this one says "Form-fitting at bust and hip. Runs large; order one size down." Wow, certain retailers with their wacky, inconsistent sizing should take note...you know how you are. I am very comfortable in an 8.

Thoughts on this dress - first of all, the most versatile of the 3. I can totally picture this for the wedding with strappy sandals/heels, or with a pair of black tights and pumps for a less formal occasion (or for warmth, hehe). The fabric is the most substantial since the other 2 involve chiffon. It has an interesting texture to it - horizontal ribbing - but not so straight and rigid. Hard to describe, but it's flattering and it means this dress really doesn't wrinkle.

In terms of Audry Hepburn categories, this, to me, is a Sabrina dress. I feel infinitely chic in it. I love the hemline - perfect spot on me. I don't feel like this dress is dated, or old - but I feel like it's a bit more classic than the others and I would wear it longer and probably more often. The wide beaded neckline is even more gorgeous in person. Obviously, no necklace needed - just earrings and a great bracelet.



Dress #2 - Patra Beaded Chiffon Dress ($138). Again, took an 8. This is the dress that hubby thought was pretty but was the least "me". Interesting of him to note that because I actually feel the same way. I mean, I do like it or I wouldn't have brought it home. I think it's very flattering. I love that it shoes my collarbone, which we all know is universally flattering.

The tiers of chiffon on this are very nice and are edged in jet beads. And it is way comfy - as in you could eat a huge dinner and it probably wouldn't show. (hehe, as an aside - that sentence originally said "it was way comfy" - maybe I've mentally dismissed this one already?)

Downside - Is this too young for me? Will I get tired of the tiered look? Is it going to look dated in a couple of years? It is chiffon which does always run the risk of snagging (have I mentioned what a clutz I am?) I worry that with this dress, I will love it for that one night and then not ever wear it again. I can see this with a fab dangly necklace or two...of course, they would have to be non-snagging necklaces...



Dress #3 - Taylor Dress Illusion Yoke Silk Shift Dress ($148). Again, took an 8. This is probably the most fun of the 3 dresses. And initially, it was my top choice. Back to the Audrey categories - this is a total Holly Golightly dress. The petals at the neckline and hem are just fun fun fun. I don't think you can put this dress on and be sad. Exuberant...that's the word.

Downside - first of all - the wrinkling. This is the advantage of bringing several home and trying them on a few times. I have noticed this wrinkling. It shows in my pics, esp in the sheer mesh at the top. If you click over to the Nordstrom page and really look at it, you can see the wrinkling in all their pics in the sheer mesh at the top and across the whole body of the dress. I think it may be in part due to the fact that the entire dress has the mesh overlay, but still...what does that mean for packing it? And spending part of the evening sitting down for the ceremony or for dinner, etc? Am I going to end up a big wrinkled mess? (It is so cute though.)



Polyvore of dresses:



So those are my choices. What do you think?

74 comments:

DaniBP said...

HeidiG, all three are great choices, but I really prefer the Tahari. I think it looks just smashing on you, and it's really timeless too.
Fun post!

tastymoog said...

My vote is for #1 (Tahari). The neckline is very flattering. #3 does sound like it could be troublesome in the way of wrinkling, though it is a cute dress.

Jill said...

#1!

Kristin said...

I remember a post of you on a JCA outing where you are wearing a black dress and looked just stunning - none of these captured that same amount of stunningness IMO. If that black dress you were wearing then is now too big maybe get it altered? These 3 are all lovely but I don't get a WOW out of them like I did the other one. (I tried to search your blog but couldn't find the one I was thinking of).

Although, maybe the black dress I'm thinking of is too casual for a wedding. Although I love #2 on you I too would be concerned about the ruffles not standing the test of time. Go with #1.

AppGal said...

I'm a fan of #1. The neckline is very flattering on your sculpted shoulders. As you say, it's also very versatile and can be worn on several occasions.

All 3 look great, though. I really don't think you can go wrong!

Meli22 said...

I have to say, I wish you had a dress with a more dramatic sillohuette. that said, #1. But belt it to give it some shape!! I think you would look great in a defining your waist a bit more!

Pamela said...

I like the first one, then the third one and lastly the tiered one. They all were cute!

yogagirl said...

#2!!! :D

yogagirl said...

add to above--#2 will be wayyy cute when you are dancing to YMCA!!! (gosh I hope they don't play that one!)

Erin said...

I think #1 is most classic, but #2 is most fun. I do agree that #1 needs to be a little more tailored around the waist. Since I'm a practical sort and would want a LBD that I could keep around for several years, I'd go with #1. I think if I was just buying for this wedding, I'd go for #2 -- it's an awfully cute dress.

Jenni said...

Heidi, they ALL look great on you! I would pick the Tahari, for all of the reasons that you mentioned. For a trendy little pop, I would get some ultra-fancy hosiery and a shoe with more substance (see link to Nordys). Fun post, and let us all know . . . !

http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3077582/0~2376778~2372808~2376689~2377052?mediumthumbnail=Y&origin=category&searchtype=&pbo=2377052&P=1

cookie said...

I vote for #2. You look fabulous in it! (The others look great, as well, but #2 stands out to me.) My second choice would be #1. It is more understated and conservative -- which, in some ways, is a good thing. But, I've been to a few weddings where I felt like I was dressed pretty business-like, while others were wearing more fun dresses. I always wished I was the one with the fun dress. #2!

Zoë Moët said...

Dress number 1 all the way! It flatters your shape better than the other two, which seem to just be straight cuts (blagh). Plus, it's got just the right amount of sparkle for the holidays, so you can wear it to all of your holiday events this season if you want!

MMM said...

Let me just start by saying that you really do look nice in all of the dress! You really can't go *wrong* w/ any of them!

Ok, I may be in the minority here, but #1 is my least favorite! I prefer #2 or #3 because they look a bit more FUN! You said that you hardly ever get to attend weddings much anymore so why not wear something that's a little less typical for you? #1 just doesn't look quite as flattering on you as the other two do! #2 is definitely NOT too young looking for you. It would look great w/ some fun shoes and a necklace or 2 maybe even a belt (if it doesn't snag it). But if you're worried about dress #2 snagging then maybe #3 is a better option! The detailing on it is fabulous!!

Good luck! And just remember to HAVE FUN!! Don't stress over this too much!

Rosa said...

I like number 2. It just looks like so much fun.

ina said...

i agree with MMM.
my favorite is # 3, it looks so good on you.love the ruffles!

Tabitha said...

Number three - it has so much personality, just like you and it's so stylish.
I'm newly addicted to your blog.

Donna said...

Heidi I love your blog and read it every day!

My vote is definitely for #1! I love the neckline on you.

MCC said...

#2 because you can wear some of your awesome accessories with it!

cathy said...

You look pretty in every one but look the most comfortable/confident in #1. You could really have fun with the shoes on that one, too!

jmpb said...

geeze loueeze, this is a tough one! the first is for sure classic, you could probably get the most mileage out of it and most importantly you feel chic in it.

the second one is fun! like you are ready to celebrate and dance! the right accessories and shoes and it's a party! (that's a lot of exclamtion marks!)

something about the third one is just not doin' it for me, maybe the length?

so if it's a fun, celebration, party dress i say go for #2. if you need something a little more conservative and timeless, #1.

btw, i clicked on the nordies lbd link you provided and no kidding, there are a ton of choices! i really liked the lauren by ralph lauren dress on page 2, far right, 4th row down, also the adrianna papel, far left, 2nd row down, page 2, and the calvin klein, 1st page, row 5 in the middle, and many others! sorry i don't know how to do links!

good luck with your decision! and have fun at the wedding!

jmpb said...

i just realized the dresses on the nordstrom site move! so please disregard my comments on rows and page numbers! you're right, a LOT of choices!

Lady Buttons said...

I agree that you look lovely in all three, but I think the first dress is knock-your-socks-off fabulous. I'm not adding anything new here by saying that you look the most at ease wearing it (half the battle in having fun at a wedding!), and doesn't have the fussy factor of the other two. Wrinkles? No thanks! Potentially clutzable beaded layers? Heck no! It is a classy, classic piece and I think will see you through lots of events.

jcbellemarie said...

I like #1 : ) - timeless with some sparkle

Suzanne said...

Dress 2. They all look great but I like this one the best.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand wearing black dresses to weddings. Somber color / festive occasion?

Cate said...

Gorgeous. I like the first one (tahari). love the detailing at the neckline.

Molly Darling said...

Number one all the way- love the classic lines and it's very flattering on you.

HeidiG said...

thank you all for the well-thought-out comments. I really appreciate it.

To address a few specifically -

Kristin - that was the Mothers Day tea and that dress, unfortunately, is not dressy enough. I think this really points out the importance of styling - taking these pics when I'm in a semi-hurry without hair, makeup, shoes, etc doesn't really show the dresses off to their best advantage - so I will remember that next time.

Meli22 - Got it on the silhouette, a bra with a bit more boost might help with that, too. :)

yogagirl - I will let you know if they play it, and will be thinking of you while I dance.

jenni - wow, those are impressive shoes. I believe I heard my ankles scream when I pulled up the pic. I actually have 2 pairs I am deciding between - feels better to go with existing shoes - both cute - but admittedly not nearly as striking as the Gwen pump.

cookie - I understand what you mean about the fun dress, good point. I don't think #1 is too business-y, but that is important to remember.

MMM - thanks for being the brave minority. :) I am starting to worry that, well, I am just worrying about this too much and overthinking it. People are starving, for crying out loud. Which basically means I'll pick the dress Friday morning when my parents come up to take over the kids and I can show all 3 to my mom in person.

Tabitha & Donna - Welcome!

jmpb - I know the thumbnails move around, but now I'm totally going back to look again. :)

anon @2:18 - There are a lot of differing opinions on wearing black to a wedding. Here in DC/VA/MD, it is perfectly acceptable to wear black to a wedding - especially if it's cocktail or black tie attire. I do agree that you don't want to look somber for the occasion - but that's why these are sparkly, swingy, fun dresses with fun shoes, sparkly accessories - it's definitely a festive look (or that's what I was going for here). Ema had a great post a few weeks ago on what to wear to an upcoming wedding - where she is from (Europe), you just don't do black. I would estimate that probably 80-90% of the women at this wedding will be in black, so this is certianly not in the minority. Some people like to stand out with bright colors. Some people like to blend in. Others are comfortable in the middle with special details, or muted colors. I think it's a matter of personal taste and being comfortable - as long as you aren't being disrespectful.

Woobie said...

LOVE #3 (of course all three look good), but number three has that extra sass.

gigiofca said...

Yeah...#3 is so fun, but if it's not you, then it's just a costume. I love the neck on #2, but not the Aline skirt. It makes it juveline-ish? Maybe it's the length. My vote is for #1, or to go back to the drawing board. Maybe one of the jersey ruffle dresses is the one that someone recalls seeing you in...

Hmmm.... said...

Don't take this wrong as obviously this is just a random viewpoint: I personally think #3 has the best fit, is young and not the least bit trendy (could still come out of the closet 2 yrs from now and be special). But if you are concerned about wrinkling then it may not be the best choice.
#2 is too long.
#1 does not flatter your figure due to the A-line. Check the back view, it's very triangular making you look bigger than you are and overall it seems more matronly or maybe just boring. Sorry that sounds mean:(
I just think you need something more tailored to your body and fun. You are too young to look so serious and it's a wedding after all...so most of all, have some fun with it:)

Jen said...

I vote for #1. I think it has the most classic shape and won't look "tired" in a couple years - I can see that happening to the tiered dress and to the 3rd one.

RatsOnParade said...

I'm also voting for #1 -- as everyone else has said -- it's so classic! All three look positively fabulous on you!

Kathy said...

You look beautiful in all, but best in #1. It looks like it fits your body the best and I think the beaded neckline is just enough!

Stacy T said...

#3!! Love it!

SallyO said...

Number one!!!

Ema said...

Ok, now that I know that people here wear black at weddings (hee hee), I would go with 3 as it looks more "soiree" and "occasion" than 1 and 2. 1 definitively looks good on you but you already have a little black dress like that, right? I think that you will grow tired of the tiers of number 2, even if it looks good (I think that it isn't too young for you but maybe it's not dressy enough for the occasion. It looks like something that you would wear for New Year's).
I vote for a green dress (just kidding)!

kendra said...

I vote for #!~

Suzy said...

Well - first of all - great idea bringing them all home to check them out! When I saw your Polyvore set, I didn't realize you had bought them all already! haha

So now that I see your pics, my first reaction was I liked the first and the third. Then I read your comments, and prob. wouldn't like that wrinkling either. The detail on the first dress neckline is so beautiful and different! Not the ruffles and petals we're all so used to.

As far as packing, if you put it on the hanger, cover it with the plastic (like from the cleaners and fold it around your other clothes, it won't wrinkle at all. I took the chiffon strapless dress from JC to a wedding, as well as a cotton cady dress (name from memory might be off?) and bathing suit/cover up as well as a few outfits - all in a carry on bag - to a wedding in Florida last May - and never ironed a thing! IF interested, I can tell you more about it.

Good luck!

Suzy said...

PS How is Lucy? My Lucy has had some sort of allergy/skin thing going on, and she had a tremendous hot spot above her front leg that was so raw from her scratching at it. I put a little cotton sweater on her (she actually HAS clothes, lol, b/c she weighs 9 pounds and she actually does get cold! and like wearing them). Even if she scratched, she couldn't tear it up through the sweater. It is now healed. The clothing thing really does work!
Hoping your Lucy is healing well - what a scary thing to be dealing with infection after surgery. It's hard enough for them to go through the surgery. Poor Lucy! Hope she is her happiest self soon!

Awakening my Wardrobe said...

I think you look great in all of them but #1 has beautiful, classic styling, is very flattering and is something you will be able to enjoy for years. After reading your comments about each individual dress, it seems like you really feel best in the Tahari dress #1. There was no "down side"in your Tahari description like there was in #2 and #3. Enjoy your new dress and the wedding.

KB said...

All look really lovely on you. That said, I'd vote for #1, however I think #2 is a close second (definitely not too young, and a lot of fun!)

Summerilla said...

oh this is hard because you look fabulous in them all but I love #2 and especially #3, they are so much fun looking and would be great for dancing at the wedding. However for #3 if the wrinkling is going to bother you than it's definitely a no. No one wants to worry about a wrinkly dress when they are having fun. I think you are right with #2 though, it's definitely not something you will keep forever because I think the tiered look with eventually go out. #1 is the most classic of all of them and will probably get the most wear. I think it comes down to if you want to get a lot more wear out of the dress or if you are willing to spend the money and possibly only wear it once or twice.

So #1 if you want to get more wear and #2 if you're willing to wear it maybe just once. :)

txmom said...

From an occasional poster: #1 is the most practical and is very pretty and i think you look great in it (actually in all three!). #3 is the most "fun" but I am with you over the wrinkle factor....you don't want to have to worry about it.

The Outfit of the day said...

Dress #3 please!!! Is too cute cute cute cute! Oh can't wait to see which one you decided.

Anonymous said...

I like the first dress. The third one is fun, but the wrinkling just kills it. From your pics, #1 is the most flattering (although you look great in all three). Kudos on the weight loss!

Liz said...

It's a hard choice between #1 and #3. I vote #3 you should take advantage of a awesome cute dress like that, be fun. You will have plenty of time to wear the classics the rest of the time.

Ann said...

I'm late to the party (I mean the wedding)...what great choices you have!

1 seems to be the one you are leaning toward and it is certainly gorgeous. I think it is less "fun" than the others but "fun" enough for sure. My only question: Is it a bit loose on you? (did you try the next size down?--it might give you an even more fitted, "fun" look).

Have a wonderful time and can't wait to see a pic of you in the final outfit, with accessories, shoes, hair, and all!!

dinagideon said...

Ooh, I said #1 in the polyvore and I stick by it. GORGEOUS.

Call me today if you want...your plan for getting together sounds PERFECT! :)

Debye said...

First of all, they all look great on you so whatever you choose, you will look amazing! My vote is for #1 (Tahari). It is classic and flattering and you can wear it again and again.

Have you tried adding a skinny belt to the tiered dress? I love the way that looks and may be a great way to make it feel more you!

On another note, Macys has put their Christmas decorations out this week already!

E Lo said...

I think that #2 looks very pretty on you.

** Daily Lily ** said...

I love No.1 and 3. can you keep both? btw, you look amazing!!

AnneG said...

Absolutely, 100% the Taylor Dress -- #3. LOVE IT!!! Some gorgeous heels and you might upstage the bride! That's a fun dress. NO ONE will have on anything like it at the wedding...I would be willing to bet you a piece of JC jewelry on that!

Amy said...

I vote for #3, I think it has the most personality. That said, I think all 3 are a little matronly on you and your cute figure. If you've got it, flaunt it, lady! And you've got it! But I do think #3 is the cutest of the 3.

lilac cupcake said...

First dress, hands down. Simple and chic and timeless; the others are a bit trendy and over the top, IMO. You look gorgeous in all, but the Tahari is definitely my favorite :)

Sara said...

All are really cute but #2 stood out to me and IMO looked the best on you. Go with #2 - seriously!

Real Working Mom of OC said...

HeidiG, I stumbled across your super fun blog recently and have been reading for a couple of weeks. I love dress #2. It's very flattering on you, and I can definitely see it with some fabulous long necklaces. Dress #3 is a close second, IMO. LOVE the petals!! Good luck with your decision. You can't go wrong.

Anonymous said...

Dear Heidi, I have to agree with the anon who said the first dress's a-line shape is making u wider than you are. Now I would need dress 1 because I have an hourglaa figure bordering on pear (darn hips/thighs). Hence no 1 would be best for me. As I look at your back shots, no 2 gave you a vava-voom look that will have admiring heads turning. It looks FAB on you. I disagree it's too long on you. You r tall and it's still above your knees. Add a jcrew duchess like necklace to it or some art deco inspired necklace and you'll pay homage to Holly and the roaring 20s. My second choice is dress no 3. It follows your body shape beautifully as well. A single swarovski like sparkle bangle like the one at Ann Taylor would we all the jewelry needed with that third dress. If you still insist on dress 1 perhaps u could try going down one size. Ok done now typing on this phone. Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Anon again sorry for typos. Typing too fast on phone while trying to get kids ready too.

Suzy said...

I nominated you for the OVER THE TOP award on my blog! Go see to get info!

IRL said...

I vote for dress #3. I think this dress is the most flattering to your figure [and isn't that what matters most]. :) It also looks *fun*.

kittykat said...

I like #1 and #3. I think #1 is very classic, and #3 is fun and sassy!

Patricia said...

Dress # 2 is the most flattering on you!The open neckline, the length, is just right!

Slastena said...

I say 3, looks the best on you!Love the frills.:)

Sweet Tea in Seattle said...

I really do love them all but think #1 is especially stunning on you!! :)

Millie said...

Heidi all of these look fantastic, and you can't possibly go wrong. That said, I think some of the comments voting for #1 say it best - it won't look "tired" in a couple years - IMHO that also means it's "safe." Flattering yes, memorable, not really.

# 3 is sassy and looks great on you - definitely memorable. I think its embellishment is awesome, but more trendy than the tiers. Also, the neckline isn't as flattering on you as the others, and it leaves no room for fun necklaces!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE #2! It's flattering, so fun, and is a classic-enough silhouette to remain stylish for a long time to come. Ruffles/tiers have been around for a few seasons now (ok, since the '20s), and still are fun and trendy. This dress has an easy, laid-back elegance. But the best reason for #2 - it's so comfortable!

Patina said...

too bad about the ann taylor dress. it's my favorite of the three!! thanks so much for your kind words. you are so sweet and thoughtful. even though we haven't met, i consider you my friend. have a great weekend!!

Anonymous said...

The Tahari!

Cleo26 said...

I like number 3 with number 1 a close second, as the latter is a classic. Number 3 looks happy to me, and i like the petals and mesh. :) It's unique without being too trendy.

fabumom in nc said...

#3 - WOW! SASSY AND UNIQUE!!! Very flattering on you.

I'm so late in commenting (just now able to catch up on blogs). I can't wait to hear which dress you decided to wear. You could wear a paper bag and look beautiful.... nice problem to have.

HeidiG said...

thank you all for the great feedback...I really do appreciate it.

Those of you with the comments on fit, etc - thank you - even when you weren't a chorus of yes-men or yes-women, you were constructive and so I appreciate that. Honesty is always valued.

Suzy - would love to hear more about packing. Lucy is good - almost 100%, fun puppy in next post - well next after next since I just posted on, um another dress...and outfit of the day...but it was long enough without the Lucy detail. Tomorrow...

AnneG - if the BR dress I ordered doesn't work, I'm going with #3, just on the off-chance that someone else will be wearing it and you'll owe me JC jewelry. :)

Cloggsy said...

I think i may have commented already, but I have to say that the chiffon dress has me going goo goo ga ga - I keep thinking about nipping the waist in with a thin belt and dancing the night away! I love the Taylor dress on you - very fab!

HeidiG said...

CLoggsy - thank you for the feedback - I did end up returning all the dresses - I actually thought that #2 was probably more flattering, but it just never felt very "me". You are so right about dancing the night away in it...absolutely!