Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday What I'm Wearing: Casual Summer LBD



A Little Black Dress to dress up or down. I bought this tasselled, embroidered linen (Madewell) dress last spring (if you scroll down and read the captions on the photos, you can sleuth an image of me wearing it in Ottawa here).

I can't kayak or cycle in this, admittedly, but otherwise I must say that I could absolutely live in easy dresses in the summer (year 'round, for that matter, with warm enough tights and boots in the winter).  Not only do I love the pull-it-on-and-you're-ready ease of a dress, but in the right cut and fabric, there's really nothing cooler (in the temperature sense of the word, at least -- and ease is always cool, in the word's other sense, no?)

Black, perhaps, is not as summer-y as white or any colour, but those tassels and the linen fabric (and, if I'd turned around, the deep V of the back) keep this sun-worthy. It's not Balenciaga black but having seen that show at the Musée Bourdelle in Paris, I'm seeing an echo here -- in the embroidery and the tassels. . . . Pretty sure Balenciaga never accessorised with Birkenstocks though....

What about you? Do you favour dresses in the summer? Year-round? Or do dresses still, for whatever reason, read as too fussy for you?

(Oh, and thank you so much for all the complimentary comments about my new header. Honestly, I put it together too quickly and rather randomly -- choosing from Blogger's options -- after realising that we've been off the island for over a year now, so that old photo had to go. It had been up for ten years, though, since I started the blog July 2007!

49 comments:

  1. Oh! I have a new laptop since you last showed us that dress; now I can zoom in with a touch and see the embroidery (which I did not notice at all before) and the tassels more clearly. Lovely.

    We're getting our first sustained stretch of hot weather (high 20sC and up) just now so the long-neglected summer dresses are having an outing. I don't find them fussy, but they're not fussy dresses. And for home and garden work, I still love a good flowered cotton or linen skirt with a tank top (do we still call them that? a sleeveless tee.). Now that I think of it I have worn this look my whole adult life. Very dated so only for private wear now, but nostalgic for me. I am a costume-wearer, deep inside. Sometimes need the right outfit to encourage me to undertake the task at hand.

    I have rambled, again! Dang. :)

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    1. Congrats on the new laptop -- it's so good when the technology actually works for us. . .
      I still say "tank top" for what it's worth (but then I'll occasionally call a flipflop a thong, from back in the day when that didn't elicit giggles or eyerolls).
      I have to disagree about the flowered cotton or linen skirt -- was seeing lots of printed full skirts in Europe last month and love the look. And I think having something you've worn your whole adult life might indicate personal style rather than datedness, no? I truly love the notion of those skirts as very stylish encouragements to get some work done in the garden ;-)
      Please do ramble here whenever you please!

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  2. I'm dressed a light Chalet dress today for book club. Yesterday my Blue French linen dress for lunch with my sister. I really like that fringe which makes your dress summery. I keep thinking that I should "redo" my blog but I'm struggling with the direction that I might want to go with it. If that makes sense. Another lovely day!

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    1. Another dress lover!
      It took me ten years before I made any change to the blog, and even then. . . And yes, your struggle over direction makes perfect sense to me.

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  3. Lovely dress!
    I love linen dresses very much,I don't mind wrinkles :-) ,but it is so hard to find them here IRL,don't know why because linen trousers are easy to find. I plan to investigate web stores next year
    A couple of years ago,I've loved to wear suits,with skirts or trousers, or two-piece dresses
    Now,I love dresses,during the summer,as well as in winter,so I spend half time in jeans/trousers and the other half in dresses
    Dottoressa

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    1. I'm surprised that linen dresses are difficult to find where you are -- they would be perfect for that heat we had during our visit. Is it still so warm there?

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    2. Even more-it's a heat wave (not usually so prolong ed )in Zagreb,it's for more than a month now,35°C in a shade
      I've just commented yesterday to my friend -we were in the Concert hall (Les Miserables musical)- our concert :-) and how hot it was a month ago
      It is realy exhausting
      Your temperatures now seem lovely
      Dottoressa

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  4. Wonderful dress! I seldom wear short dresses. I've never liked my legs, and these days I'm sporting a rather large scar from knee replacement. That said, I'm finding your LBD delightful. Great tassels!

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    1. Honestly, I'd prefer a bit more length than this, but I couldn't resist the tassels and I'm also a sucker for a simple sheath which suits my short waist. Are you beginning to enjoy more mobility after your replacement surgery?

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  5. I love a casual black dress...it has just the right amount of details to make it a bit more special. I have a few summer frocks that I rotate and when the weather is super hot they are my go to outfits.
    Your new header is very striking!

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    1. Thanks, L., I wish I were techie enough to make a few more changes, but at least this header catches up with our move from the island. Seemed time...

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  6. Dresses , dresses , dresses . A recent realization that comfort ( ventilation ;) and movement . Just my thoughts. But finding the right style/ fabric is an ongoing challenge .

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    1. Yes, if you can find the right style in the right fabric (without a goofy polyester lining which defeats the whole purpose), a dress is perfect for summer. Gets me thinking again that I need to get back to sewing, but I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon...

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  7. Hot weather means dresses for me. I remember seeing a woman sitting perched on the edge of her chair in a restaurant. Only when she got up, I realized that was the only way she could avoid burning the back of her legs while wearing shorts. I was sitting comfortably in my dress. There aren't many places that my dresses are an inappropriate style, IMO.

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    1. Never thought of that problem with shorts -- ouch! (we so seldom get that kind of heat, and I very seldom wear shorts). Have to agree with you that dresses almost always seem appropriate to me.

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  8. Back to say , I do love the photo in your header . Honestly I think this is going to be the 'sweet spot' as we age. Movement , energy , style and an inner acceptance of ourselves. Or maybe it will just get better and better ?

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    1. Perhaps. . . (except for those undeniably creakier joints ;-)

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  9. Leslie in OregonJuly 6, 2017 at 1:31 AM

    While I like your new header, I hope that you post your old one on Instagram, so that I can look at it frequently: I am always refreshed by that island scene!

    In answer to your question, I am a devoted dress wearer, particularly in summer. (I wear styles that are loose enough to be comfortable in the heat.) None of my dresses are fussy. Many of my outdoor activities, however, pretty much require shorts or pants for safety and/or modesty.

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    1. Oh, if only I'd saved that old one -- I first posted it ten years ago, and it's of my nieces, then just 6, out on the beach with my husband....
      It's true, there are numerous outdoor activities that do require shorts or pants. Just wish those could always be as comfy as dresses.

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    2. Leslie in OregonJuly 8, 2017 at 12:42 AM

      I'm sorry that that image is gone...it is lovely. And I agree completely about your last sentence; I much prefer dresses.

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  10. I love this dress, and whether the designer intended or not, its nod to Balenciaga. Lovely clean lines and subtle embroidery, and that kick of tassels at the bottom! I would have worn this frequently, back in my dress-wearing days. Nowadays I'm more a casual slacks/trousers/jeans girl.
    And OH! I like the new header photo!

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    1. You see it too, that echo of Balenciaga? I thought maybe I was stretching a point, influenced by seeing that show recently.
      I guess if dresses were associated with work or with a sense of obligations or expectations, pants might be a more freeing option. And tbh, I wear jeans or chinos more often in slightly cooler weather. But heat makes me want less contact between fabric and body, and a dress seems to do that better and still feels casual enough to me. We're SO lucky to have so many choices!
      Thanks re the header

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  11. Wear a lot of linen dresses. Enjoy slipping on a single comfortable piece. Tend toward looser, longer lengths in black, black and white, and light neutrals. Usually add a summer weight linen jacket or sweater and sandals. Love your Madewell sheath with its hem detail.

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    1. See, that just sounds so wonderfully polished yet casual to me....and comfortable above all!

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  12. Love this dress and the new header. It's funny, but after wearing pantyhose for years with my suits and dresses, I can't get used to bare legs. Especially since mine are blindingly white, which won't change unless I use several rounds of self tanner (which I won't). I just feel too exposed. Tights are fine in the winter. I just bought a midi dress to try to get used to the bare legs so we shall see. Perhaps something other than panties underneath?

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    1. I know what you mean about the bare legs, and I used to be the same way. But I started noticing how many otherwise chic, urban European wore unapologetically white, bare legs with dresses or skirts in hot weather. And at some point I just decided to go for it, and mostly I feel okay with it now, especially with a bit of self-talk. I did go through a transition period with capri-length leggings. . . .

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    2. I think it's less about the legs and more about feeling exposed. In pants I can flop down anywhere, but in dresses I have to be careful how I sit and move.

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    3. I suppose. But I've tended to buy dresses I can step onto and off boats in, thanks to our island life, and they seem pretty forgiving ;-)

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  13. Your black dress is cool, in every sense of the word! I wear dresses often, less so in summer as it is not often warm enough in Scotland for bare legs. I'm not keen on self tan products either but don't mind exposing my very white legs when the weather is good. I've repurposed some of my shorter dresses recently and started wearing them as tunics over cropped wide leg trousers, which is working well in our current mid-teens temperatures (Celsius, not Fahrenheit!) Wilma D

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    1. I'm the same way! As I said above, to Lynn, I've willed myself to be fine about bare legs in heat, but that just feels strange otherwise. I like the look of dresses as tunics over wide-legged trousers. We were stuck in mid-teens until a couple of weeks ago -- I hope you get a bit more summer soon...

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  14. I used to avoid dresses and skirts in the summer because of my blindingly white legs too - which never tan and which I can never fake tan successfully. Then I decided that legs are legs and to get them out anyway. I avoid white or very light skirts so as not to go for the ghostly look but I reckon that a darker fabric against pale skin looks ok. And traffic has yet to grind to a halt at the sight so until I does I shall carry on.

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    1. Yep, legs are legs! Sounds as if you've been doing the same self-talk as me. So often with these matters, once we force ourselves into new ways, we find that others really don't pay much attention to what we were convinced would horrify. As you say, traffic seems to continue...

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  15. Your dress is gorgeous - dress up or down, and the dark colour is chic.
    Well, this year I have yet to expose a leg. Still far too cold and rainy. However I am a late convert to dresses, and am about to pack a few for a trip to France. Last time I wore a dress was in France last year... I also hesitate over the blinding white leg syndrome, and more so in the past few years as I have developed an unsightly vein on one leg. So annoying, as I have good legs, if I say so myself! But I will go ahead anyway. One thing I noticed in France was that women wear shorter dresses than here in Scotland, and it doesn't look unseemly. As as result I have dresses for France and dresses for here. However I never ever wear a skirt. I have two in my wardrobe and never reach for them. They make me feel neither one thing nor another, and I just don't feel either smart or casual when wearing one.

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    1. I remember you saying that last year after your stint in Bordeaux.
      Interesting about the difference with skirts. I rather like skirts myself, but it's true that they challenge more than dresses -- not the same guaranteed ease combined with polish, imho.

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  16. Funnily enough I have just been writing a blog about clothes and thought I would come over here because I know you like clothes and are good at them! I love dresses. I wear a lot of jeans and tops but I always feel more pulled together in a dress and have a few which are total summer staples. I go for bare legs. I think you are right that there is a European disregard for whether your legs are white or not but I must admit that having brown legs as a result of our sailing trip for the first time for a few years is very pleasing!

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    1. I really enjoyed that post of yours -- it's nice to see more than a glimpse of you, and I like the way you manage to look well pulled together yet at the same time understatedly so, so that you fit well into your environment. And I hear you on the brown legs -- not sure but have ever got brown, but I do love it when we get a patch of sunshine early enough in the season that I can get a bit of colour -- as this year, spending three weeks in sunshiny Italy and Croatia. Sailing, you'd be even more exposed, I'm sure.

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  17. I love dresses, but I don't wear them very often because my running shoes and other supportive-enough shoes seem like they look better with pants. But I do like Birkenstocks with dresses, and am looking for some cute-even-if-clunky tie shoes that are dress friendly.

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    1. There are so many wonderful options now for cute-if-clunky shoes. Some gorgeous oxfords, for example, in beautifully coloured leathers....I say, go for it!

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  18. Stylish women in Copenhagen or Amsterdam could certainly cycle to work in that dress without "showing" too much. I usually wear skirts while cycling (in the city; I haven't been touring in years) but if I'm going and distance I wear lycra shorts underneath. The skirts are all gored (panel) types that flare out a bit.

    I don't wear shorts except for housework and gardening in the heat.

    Murphy, there are definitely cute but clumpy supportive Mary Janes and other shoes that would go fine with a dress or skirt.

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    1. Yes, and I saw many elegant, skirt-wearing cyclists in Ljubljana as well. I often wear a linen skirt, straight-cut, above-knee, and find it quite comfortable and modest enough. Like you, I rarely wear shorts, although I've got to pick up a pair one of these days for hiking in heat.

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    2. Ljubljana has excellent cycling infrastructure (for utilitarian cycling in the city and towards road and mountain sport cycling). https://www.ljubljana.si/en/ljubljana-for-you/transport-in-ljubljana/cycling-in-ljubljana/ It ranks among the best cycling cities in the world. They actually copied best practices from the Netherlands and Denmark, adapting them to their own environment.

      And yes, I do need a pair of hiking shorts. Mine are so old that I only wear them for gardening and scrubbing corners.

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  19. I have a linen blend "bag" style dress with some white embroidery and tassels that is perfect for summer. As long as I add some colour - red earrings, red toenails, a bracelet, it looks very cool and is so comfortable. Right now I am wearing a chambray dress with bell sleeves. I love the tassels on the bottom of your dress. Brenda

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    1. I love the sound of that linen dress! The chambray one as well, and I'm intrigued by the bell sleeves. . .

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  20. Love your Madewell linen dress! I agree that dresses, especially in linen, are so comfortable and cool in the summer. I recently ordered a linen shirt dress in indigo that I plan to wear as much as possible this summer. I love that it is below the knees and I never worry about bare legs - I gave up pantyhose years ago!

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    1. I forgot to sign :) - slf.

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    2. I want that indigo linen dress! Below the knees is absolutely the best. Do you mind saying where you found it?

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    3. I found the indigo linen dress on the Everlane website. It was very reasonably priced and comes in black, dark indigo and medium indigo. I got the medium indigo which is more vibrant than the dark and I love it. It also has pockets. Hope this helps.

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    4. thanks so much -- I am now seriously considering this dress. It looks perfect!

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  21. I love dresses in the heat, particularly linen, although at the moment I've not been a big dress wearer in the cooler months. I'm fine with my pale legs when it is hot, but haven't quite adapted to the in-between weather, when I don't really want tights either. Someday, I'll figure it out, or just learn to let go.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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