That Same Old Dress. Yes, You Can.

So I have three weddings that I have to go to in the months of May and June. That's right. Three. And I have begun (yes, already, don't judge me) the process of trying to source a new dress or two to get me through the season. But as I peruse the internet, the cost of each look I earmark, pin, or put in my favourites list is starting to weigh heavily on my mind. Do I really need to wear something new to every one of these events? Of course not. Do I want to? Of course. But isn't it a hallmark of good taste, a shrewd fashion eagle-eye, and overall high fashionista status if I actually have and wear pieces that will endure? Ones that I can carry from one season to the next and feel totally satisfied in my choice?

Then there is the matter of practicality. Pragmatism is one of my favourite things. Maybe its my German heritage, but there is something about the enduring spirit of a piece that you have had for a really long time that resonates with me. Especially when you walk into a room and instantly identify pieces on gals who were obviously recently in the local (the only) store in town that actually sells things you might want to wear.  So it is with this enduring spirit in mind that I think I am going to use a few things that are already in my closet.  With mad, cracked-out, high-octane accessorizing to keep my interest up.  Keepin' it real, people. Keepin' it real.

So I have this dress.

Ta-Daa. And it matches the paint in the extra room.
You can't even see me right now.
Jones New York

I have had this dress for literally about fifteen years. Seriously. My mother got it for me as a gift in Minneapolis at Dayton's, back when it was Dayton's and not Macy's, like it is today. Its Jones New York, staple workwear brand of regular,  department-store-shopping, hard-working gals everywhere. I have always loved this simple shift. It goes with everything, fits well, and is incredibly easy to wear. I even got married in this dress. My legal, Carrie Bradshaw-style wedding at the Marriage Bureau in lower Manhattan, not my actual wedding in Oban, Scotland with the cake and the guests, at which I was actually already legally married from my New York wedding. Long story, don't ask.  Hint: it has to do with a visa application and a whole lot of excruciating pain in my ass from the UK Home Office.  Turns out the UK Home Office specialize in foreign ass pain.

Inside the Marriage Bureau, NYC
Shoes Donald J. Pliner...they're leopard. Roar.

So I have been thinking about how I can recycle this simple shift (again) into something a wee bit more festive. At first I thought I would try a huge explosion of colour, scarves, maybe some neon-trimmed accents, but when I pulled the dress out of the closet, I realised that it was probably a bit too tailored for that. So perhaps just an amazing shoe...

Sergio Rossi
Sergio Rossi has the most delicious, organic
designs this season. Not cheap...but sooooo pretty.

Probably not this particular shoe, right enough,because it costs about a bazillion dollars, and would thusly render the recycling of one’s fifteen year - old shift an exercise in futility. But something in that vein. Its fun and festive and has alot of the colors that are trending right now.

I want to pair these with some accessories that are in that same vibe. A little boho to keep that edge, but still feminine, without that painful "wacky Auntie" floral motif that always seems to find its way to a wedding,  as does looking like you're wearing a suit of buttoned-down armour.

Tee hee. Toilet seat hat. Bring it. 

 At first I thought I would choose a really bold, bright bib necklace with some orange, turquoise, green, and bronze running through it. Then I realized that the shoes are already such a strong statement that I might risk looking a bit likethis.

Over-embellish much?
This is actually a great installation by a cool artist.
Check it out.

So I decided the balance would be better with a strong pair of earrings and moderate to strong bracelet, also in that same boho vein without being too matchy-matchy.



Both by Dannijo

And of course, the clutch.

Diane Von Furstenburg clutch

I will probably lose the belt that comes with the dress, as it has a kind of tailored, quiet-businesswoman thing going on that does not really read festive.

Then there is this dress.


This is another dress that I have had for about ten years. This is a silk kimono-style Adrianna Papellthat I got at Nordstrom… or maybe Bloomingdales about 10 or 11 years ago. I love the color, the print (kind of channels DVF, no?), and the to-the-knee hemline. This one is probably going to be a little different than what other guests might be wearing because it has sleeves. You don’t see sleeves on event dresses very often. Probably part of the reason I like it. The Highland Fashionista likes to be just that wee bit different. Hopefully in a good way. I like to put something together, then take something away and mess it up its hair a bit...okay, my hair.  Total perfection just looks waxy. 

Because this dress is already printy and in a strong color, accessories will be a little less colourful. But I still like the heft and balance of a statement earring and bracelet. I think that here, a necklace with any heft would just detract from the lines of the “kimono”.

So I am thinking this

Tom Binns earrings
Dannijo bracelet

Marni clutch

And then, the shoes. If there was ever a time for a nude shoe, it is when you are wearing a print. I also include metallic shoes in the realm of neutrals. A crazy print dress with a burnished gold open toe or strappy shoe looks awesome. But on this particular occasion, I am going for the old standby...the one that leaves the others in the dust.

Manolo Blahnik point-toe stiletto pumps.
Quality, man.

So.  Will it work? Will I recycle, and feel comfortable in my skin throughout the night? Yes. Yes, I think I will. And the satisfaction that one gets from purchasing a new dress that you are planning on wearing for one occasion can still be achieved, just on a smaller scale. An accessory-sized scale, to be exact.

And yes, there will be a pair of flats in my bag as well. If you have never been to a Scottish wedding, there is this thing called a ceilidh.  I like to think of it as a rugby match set to traditional folk music. It can hurt, you will definitely sweat, and its so much fun. So if you go to a Scottish wedding, pack your flats, and recycle your old dress. When you start getting flung about the joint, you'll be glad you didn't spend a few thousand bucks on that Alaia.

This is quite possibly the stuffiest, most sedate  example of a  ceilidh I have ever seen.  
Trust me, if you don't have any bruises, you're doing it wrong.


  1. I would go with the second's beautiful and wont be competing with the bride.

    I was at a ceilidh once about 13 years ago...I distinctly remember having to be carried to the car and could barely walk for 3 days. A few too many Gay Gordons!

  2. Yep. You were at a proper Scottish wedding. And good point about the dress. I hadn't thought of the colour is such a light beige that I hadn't thought about the whole bride thing. Thanks!


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