Friday, February 10, 2012

Trial and Error... Lots of Error

I experiment.  I learn.  I grow.  I also make mistakes.

Sometimes things come together with an outfit.  And sometimes they don't.  I started off here with a blue leopard-print dress I picked up at a thrift-store.  I grabbed it because (1) it's blue leopard-print and (2) it was only $6.  I figured -- mistakenly -- it'd be a snazzy piece, easy to build an outfit around.  I was wrong.

The first time I tried it on, it looked awful.  Matronly.  How could blue leopard-print be boring?  The cut of the dress is terrible and it just hung on me like a sack.  And, despite being blue leopard-print, it lacked punch.  It was dull.

I tried to overcome these deficiencies but with mixed success.  I added a petticoat underneath it which added fullness to the skirt and improved the silhouette.  That worked.

My efforts to perk up the dullness, however, failed.  I added color (mustard tights, gold flats, gold belt) and white gloves but those items look awkward next to the blue leopard-print.  They don't mesh.  I initially thought blue leopard-print would be inherently pretty but, instead, it became a hurdle I was trying to jump.  And I couldn't get high enough to clear it.

I feel that I fell on my face with this outfit.  I've had a string of hits lately so I was getting cocky.  I guess this is the Fashion God's way of making me humble again.  Back to the drawing-board...


  1. I can see where you were going with the dress, and actually I think the belt is a great choice against the blue. The biggest issue with the dress is it is knee length and has a pretty high neckline. I think if it were more of a V neck/open neckline it might be more flattering. The petticoat was a good choice though because it creates a nicer shape to the dress.

    I feel like I had a similar experience today. I felt really pumped up about my clothes after the new year and getting dressed around a new pair of boots, I just didn't think things through. After seeing the photos I was just glad I had been comfortable and warm enough.

    Best thing about clothes is we can change into something else. Tomorrow is another day, another outfit.

  2. The trials and errors are half the fun of fashion and developing your own personal style. That's what it takes to figure out what works for you. I think the dress has a lot of potential - maybe with a pair of black tights and black pumps? It makes such a bold statement on it's own that you could let it be the centerpiece of the outfit. The accessories and petticoat were great though!

    I know I've had my fair share of bad outfits as well. Some that I am even too embarrassed to post on my blog. I see the pictures and go "Man, what was I thinking?" It's just part of the sartorial experience.

    I agree with Megan: another day, another outfit. :)

  3. I think it's cute - the only thing matronly are the gloves and pearls, if you replaced them by a set of yellow lucite bangles and a dangly bird necklace, you'd be up to date in bloggyworld! Or you could alter the neckline - make a daring cut down the middle and sew the resulting "flaps" back to the sides to make a v-neck.

  4. Perhaps you could have the dress altered...but then it wouldn't be such a bargain. My first thought was that it was too long and too full, so you could try shortening it for starters. Lately, I've felt that my outfits have been boring and uninspired. Yours NEVER are.

  5. The final look is cute! I think a crew neck is challenging for most women. It makes the neck short and the boobs low and a chest broad. Ya know? That is one reason that long necklaces are often put over crew necks - to cut the horizontal and create a vertical or diagonal, which is more flattering.

  6. My first thought when I opened this post was that you looked like The Queen of England with a different hairstyle and of course much better looking! We all have these kinds of challenges ~ I think the first problem with this dress is that leopards, even when they are cold, are not blue! If you got a true leopard print it would have looked super. Take it as a lesson ~ I would take it back to the thrift store.

  7. I'd take the advice of Megan and Freeda. Change the neckline to possibly a v-neck and have it altered to 'fit' you more down the lenght of the body. You look cute anyway and as Lynn said, we all have these challenges - even the super popular faschionistas have challenges. Hugs to you today gorgeous one.

  8. I need to move where ever y'all live that alterations are so cheap. Here it is twelve bucks just to hem up jeans, which adds up fast.

  9. Ok... first of all: not your fault entirely. The dress sucks although it looks like it could be a hit. The biggest problem is that it doesn't fit you (or anyone if you ask me), but since you didn't try on, you can't be blamed for that.
    The neckline is plain BORING, so unless the item has interesting other details on it(e.g. ruffles, logo e.t.c.), don't buy it in the future. In my opinion it's suitable only for men's t-shirts! (V-line is ALWAYS more flattering).
    Quick test I run before I buy clothes (or anything) - "Does it exist in nature?". Simple answer - "You will never spot a blue leopard!!" (obviously there's a reason for that!).
    How to fix it - Cut the top off and make it a simple A-line skirt. Add a neutral base on top (e.g. sleeve-less white cotton t-shirt. Play with accessories: a blue/yellow/fuchsia statement necklace or scarf or huge earrings, a very very big bag of bright colour to make it pop (let's say red) or chunky wedges/boots (NOT high heels or stilettos). Please do it and then you can make a post of how I saved the poor dress's life! You will always love me for this advice! Many kisses dear!

  10. I like fashion challenges, obviously!

  11. Gonna have to disagree with Dimi. Sorry, girl! ;) I think the dress is fine. What I would personally do would be to pencil in thick black lines on the top of my lids for a "baby-doll" look, wear a thin black belt, and wear either my gray bad-ass wedges or, yes, heels (nude or black). I might even wear bright red lipstick if it doesn't look too over-the-top.

    I think us bloggers need to have a challenge where we pass our unwieldy items to another blogger to see what they do with them. I have something I think Ashely could put to use, and I'm tempted to battle the blue leopard myself!

  12. Hmm. Hmm. The petticoat helps, but maybe another one would help even more. I would have it shortened a little bit, too, if you're into that type of thing. I like Kat's idea, too...go for a babydoll look with red lips and a thin belt. Pumps. Yeah, I dig it.

    But we all have fashion mishaps. And since the dress was only $6, you could totally just get rid of it if you don't feel like messing with it. I understand!

  13. Thanks, guys. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how blue this dress made me last night. Really anguished. It brought up my (hidden?) insecurity about dressing well in girl-clothes.

    Your ideas are all improvements and made sense. The neckline is the worst offense. Converting it to a V makes good sense.

    Freeda: I sympathize with you on the cost of alterations which is why I'm teaching myself how to sew. The process is going slow 'cause I'm self-teaching myself, but I'll get there. I'm doing major renovations on a big green gown (combining it with parts from two other dresses) (Frankenstein post) and that project is helping me figure out how sewing works (at least the basics). The good thing is it doesn't matter how badly I screw up that dress.

  14. I'm not sure how you would do this, but I would shorten the sleeves a bit. Keep the belt and petticoat. Ditch the necklace, gloves, and tights. Go bare leg with the heels you wore with the pink striped dress. Maybe a gold metallics statement necklace to help fancy up the neckline. I like to pretend I'm a stylist :)

  15. Yeah, I was gonna say, if you wish the dress had a different cut, it could be one of your first sewing projects. If it doesn't work out, you're only out six bucks. I don't think it's matronly on its own, though; I think maybe there's just too much accessorizing going on. I think I'd do a very narrow black belt and black shoes, no tights. Instead of pearls or beads, a long chain necklace. And please don't let it get you doesn't mean you failed, only learned. It's just one outfit out of many great ones. I have an outfit post I've been hesitant to publish because I don't think it turned out so hot...I think I was over-accessorized and didn't look nearly as cute as I felt. Maybe I will publish it after all. I still had fun! I'd be willing to bet even the most popular fashion bloggers go through the same thing and just aren't brave enough to admit it or publish it.

  16. I agree the outfit makes you look matronly, but I think all middle aged women have those days, we can't vamp it up all the time. Matronly or not, I think k you look sweet in that ensamble, don't sweat it :)

  17. I think everyone hit it pretty well here: the neckline, the blue leopard, the gloves and beads. I love the yellow legs against the blue, so look at that as a positive: you are getting really good at colour! And now you are learning about shape and fit. :)

    Ally, you really just have to shrug it off and move on. We all have bad outfit days (seriously, did you ever see my awful dress?

    And I felt so sad about your comment on my casual Friday post. Please, please, please, don't compare yourself to others - we're all different and we all have our own style journeys to follow.


  18. We all make mistakes and learn from them.
    I think everyone has been right on the dot on telling you what could be improved.
    I think the print and color of the dress are beautiful.
    I think you nailed it with the tights, i think i would remove the pearls and throw in a scarf. Wrap a pretty red or black scarf around your neck..
    Do not feel discouraged, you have been doing this for a short time and look how far you have come. Hugs.

  19. I think a v-neck is absolutely going to improve this fun little number, as well as taking the sleeves up just over your elbow. Here's my thought on the styling- black tights, pumps and hair pulled into a side pony or bun with a big flower pinned above your ear. A little retro with the longer hem, a little sassy. Can't wait to see the return of this dress!

  20. Looks like others are saying what my first thought was: the length is too long for the dress (and you) and the neckline is really hard to style- simple is the way to go with that neckline. May I suggest you get it altered? The color is gorgeous, the print is great. If it were my dress, I'd take the sleeves up a tad, the hemline shortened to just above the knees, and have the neckline changed. Somebody mentioned v-neck, and I think a v-neck works with necklaces and scarves so much easier. You're not the failure, the dress just needs a few nips and tucks.