Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Little White Dress

I have to admit, if I could wear a dress every single day, I would. For some girls, it's jeans. For me, giving up the task of putting together pieces for the beauty and simplicity of a single garment you can slip over your head would be lovely. Of course, then you have to shave your legs everyday and live in the south, but... it might be worth it, right?

Years ago I read a story in which the female protagonist wore nothing but white dresses. Now this was about ten years ago, but I have persistently longed for that perfect little white dress. Every year, spring/summer comes around, and white floods the racks. Every year, I seek my one true dress. I suppose some of you are fortunate enough to be able to buy dresses "for now" without waiting to find that one dress you can't live without, but I can't afford to buy a dress that lives up to my standards unless it is the dress. Having two or three or five of the runners-up I've seen sitting in my closet at this point would seem silly in the scope of my entire wardrobe and budget. Sometimes, the dresses can go so much on sale that I consider buying them regardless, but by then it's the end of the season (duh, this is why they're on sale!) and I realize how I shouldn't waste the money. And round and round we go.

But this year, the white dress is absolutely everywhere, more than usual, enough that people are calling the "it" color of the season white (hmmm, haven't we seen it persistently poke its face through the windows of our favorite boutiques this time every year?) and I cannot resist the pull. I am swearing an oath, here and now, before my readers, to actually give in and buy a damn white dress already. It will give me pleasure. Because all these years... I've never owned a white dress.

I went to a few of my favorite sites to anticipate what's out there when I begin shopping around- after my upcoming move, new job, and income!

One of the stipulations of this dress which has made it so difficult to find is that in the story, she wears them every day. It's obviously not a formal gown. To capture the spirit of the dress, it would have to look effortless and refined, but casual. So that no one asks 'where exactly I'm going in that dress' when I wear it (looking at you, mom). You can run errands! Stop by the mall! Walk the dog! (Okay, so, my dog and also my cat are black, so I don't think I'd actually play with the pets much in my white dress, but you get the picture.) Plus I must be able to throw it on and see the same kids at Starbucks or the salon without it being a thing- for a simple white everyday dress must be as much the chameleon and embody the same versatility as our little black dresses.

The first place I looked was Neiman Marcus.

This is the back of a Moschino dress. Unfortunately, the back is what I like about it, and not the front. Not that I mind eyelets, but really, they're friggin' everywhere, and they do have to be delicately incoroporated into the style of the dress or else you're going to look like your grandmother in it. Seriously, don't let those skinny, sunny, airbrushed models fool you- they may look gorgeous and young in the same dress that will make you look like a tablecloth. The front of this dress looks like it is seriously threatening to cross that delicate balance. $1,450

The second dress is Elie Tahari and slightly more affordable (ha!).

This one is a close favorite. It looks a little like a shirt and skirt, but in return for this compromise, the dress has more style and shape to it than a lot of the usual dresses I'm seeing with practically no waist to speak of. Plus, I can wear a bra with it! (It's actually calling itself a shirt-dress, but I'm not going to encourage any of that nonsense. We have to unify and draw a line here, people!) $428

This was my favorite Neiman find:

Yeah, too dressy. Plus $495. At a disqualified $890, another runner-up is here: Grecian.

Last but never least, DKNY.

This is a simple, clean, cami dress- but still gives definition to the waist. However, for something so plain, I think it's a little steep at $295.

Usually Anthropologie is always, always on my list to look for special dresses. Lo and behold, the site boasted an entire section devoted to white for spring! Unfortunately, I wasn't as impressed as usual. This was my best find, and it's a compromise, at best:

Look, the friggin' model doesn't even look happy to be in it! Where is your smile? Your posture? If you don't care, why should I? This girl needs Tyra to shake some modeling sense into her, stat. Soooo not worth it at $128.

Bluefly.com is a necessary stop, but I could find nothing imaginably affordable that also qualified. At last, when you run into a wall like that, when you're ready to call it quits for the day, the best place to go is Oldnavy.com. Know why? It's cheap. In this case, you can totally buy the dress-for-now and who cares if you trash it or pass it on once you find the dress of your dreams?

Not perfect, but $36.50! For that price I can (waaaait for it...) buy myself some time to find a fabulous, flattering, simple white dress.

Whoa, did my mind seriously just become a traitor and accuse me that what's in fact on my mind is... weddings?! Me, the most firm advocate that weddings are mere ceremony and contracts with the state, that they are silly and custom, but not necessary, that if anything they should be matters of legal convenience, me? I blame Disney movies! For elaboration on that, check the comments thread on Love.Want.Need. ~Cape~.

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