Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mail Bag: Accessorizing a Wrap Dress

Hi Kasmira! I love your blog!!! I wish you would update it every day.

I applaud your color choices and I just love how you put things together. Especially green. You have a really cool, funky style and seem to love fashion.

My question is pretty specific. I have a cool $10.00 wrap dress and I love how it looks on me, but can't for the life of me figure out how to accessorize. I want to wear it to my 20th high school reunion because I refuse to wear black dresses anymore even though I have one that is cute and looks really nice on me!

The dress is a bright kelly green with a medium sized flower pattern in WHITE. Part of the pattern looks paisley-ish and there are some tiny polka dots too. Just green and white. Don't ask me why I love it, but I do. I'm 5'5" and I love wearing high heels. I have very light blonde hair, cut in a layered, tapered bob so the ends by my chin are longer than the back.

I have some black heels with an ankle strap that look okay, but I don't know what else to do with the dress and I'm not into large bead necklaces. There is a strip of fabric belt, but I plan to leave it off. My waist never falls where the dress says it should be and I don't have a long enough neck to wrap it around like a skinny scarf although that looks kind of cute!

The dress was quite long, about to my mid-shin, so I'm having it hemmed to just below my knee.

Can you help me?

- KB

Dear KB,

Wow, I am tickled to get real reader mail asking for my advice!

It sounds as if you are going with a black/white/green color scheme and just need help accessorizing your wrap dress. I have a navy/white wrap dress that I have had fun wearing different ways.

The Belt. I am with you on the misplaced fabric belt! I know the belt on my dress actually wraps around the lower part of my ribcage, making me look like I have the longest arse in the world. My belt is not removable, but it sounds like yours is (lucky girl!) Have you considered wrapping a wide belt around your waist instead of using the self belt? I suggest a wide belt because the width may hide any belt loops while still hitting your waist in the desired spot. If you have no belt loops (and hate wide belts), a thin belt can also define a waist nicely.

Neckline. Are you comfortable with the neckline on your dress? In my experience, wrap dresses can show quite a bit of cleavage. If you’d like to be more concealed, consider a pretty camisole or even a full slip underneath. I think a black cami would pop against your dress and also tie in with your black heels.

Jewelry. While I like long bead necklaces, they often don’t look right with a wrap dress. They compete with the neckline and can get tucked into the dress’ folds. Because this is a somewhat formal event and you have such a cute haircut, I suggest shoulder duster earrings. You could go with black, green, or metallic earrings that hang below your hair and sweep or almost sweep your shoulders. Long earrings look very dramatic with a bare neckline.

Bag. Have you thought about your handbag? My favorite solution is to force my husband to carry my lipstick and cash in his pockets, but that doesn’t always work out. A black bag is a safe choice, but what about one in bright yellow? I think it would look fabulous against your kelly green.

Topper. I’m not sure of your climate or the length your dress sleeves, but you may want to consider topping the dress with a cute, black jacket. I like short-sleeved jackets over 3/4 sleeve tops, so that you can see the sleeve peeking out. I wear a jacket that nips in at the waist with my wrap dress. I’ve paired it with a trapeze jacket once and it was horrible, so I wouldn’t recommend anything boxy on top. If you decide to wear a jacket as a part of your ensemble (i.e. not just outside), you’ll probably want to eliminate the belt and earrings and just wear a short, clavicle-framing, necklace instead. (I’m not a fan of big earrings + big necklaces.)

Makeup. With nothing to work with, other than my imagination, I think you’d look just stunning in black liner and mascara and a bright red lipstick, with the rest of your face relatively bare. You’d have people from across the room staring when you walked in with your red lips, white-blond hair, green dress, and yellow bag.

Tailoring. I whole-heartedly agree with you plan to have the hemline shortened on your dress. I’m also 5’5” and, although I have long legs, I find many skirts and dresses overwhelm me with length. The shorter hemline will make you look taller and offset any potential shortening effects of your shoes’ ankle straps.

Whatever decision you make with your clothing choices, I hope you have a fabulous time at your reunion! I missed my 10-year event because I was overseas, but I hope to attend the 20 (or 15, if we have one next summer).

(By the way, if you’ve sent in reader mail and I never answered, I apologize. I probably deleted it as spam. In fact, it was only chance that I opened KB’s message. If you have a question for me, you might want to put “WhatIWore2Day” in the title of your message so that I know you are a reader and not a spammer.)

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