Monday, June 28, 2010

When Styling Falls Flat


necklace (gift from husband)
gray eyelet cami (American Eagle)
purple pocketed dress (H&M, from my sister's closet)
stone belt (NY&Co)
white wedges (MIA)

I've already shared some of my surprising styling successes here on the blog, so I thought I'd see how you guys respond to a styling look that, for me, completely falls flat.  I found this great dress in my sister's closet, so I thought I'd try pairing it with light-hued accessories to make it feel summery.  I tried to add some visual interest by wearing this eyelet cami underneath instead of a standard plain white one.  I like this cami as a layering piece because I just can't quite bring myself to wear a lace cami to work-- it feels like my undergarments are showing-- but the eyelet detail feels like a nice middle ground.  I swapped out the purple tie belt that came with the dress for my stone colored belt and put on my new favorite wedges.  I guess the outfit isn't terrible, but it's putting me to sleep.  On top of that, I noticed that the skirt portion of the dress was a little snug when I tried it on, but after wearing it all day led to the nice accordion of wrinkles across my lap that you see here, I accepted that this dress will just have to stay in my sister's closet.

I've been trying to think of how I might have styled this differently, and I think what the dress really wanted were some pops of warm-hued colors.  I have been coveting Anne-Marie's orange pumps and coordinating bangles since she debuted them here, and I can imagine that pairing bright accessories like those with this dark dress, rather than relying on light-toned neutrals, would have resulted in a much better look.  It occurs to me also that I might have too much going on here in terms of "visual interest."  With sheen, pleated pockets (4!), buttons, eyelet, and a belt that varies in thickness and texture, it's like the eye doesn't even know where to look.


  • How do you style dark-toned garments to make them feel more summery?
  • How often do you put together an outfit, wear it all day, and then still decide that it just isn't working?


Sal said...

For what it's worth, I think this is a completely successful look, lady. The light accessories DO make it seasonal, the layering is great, and the silhouette totally works for you. Pretty much all skirts pull after a day of sitting, unless they're full!

Katie from Interrobangs Anonymous said...

I always have trouble styling shiny garments.

I agree with you that eyelet is a "safe" lace for many workplaces - it doesn't carry the same connotations of sensuality that a more traditional lace does.

Warm accessories would work, but I also like what you did with the pale greys and ivories. Those colors definitely lighten up the palate.

Laura said...

I also am not understanding why you don't like it.

I think you look great! I love the stone belt and shoes with the deep purple and the cami. And it fits your shape well.

It's so funny how something "feeling right" can affect so much of an outfit.

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand the title of the post at first because the outfit looks great! You achieved a clean line, beautiful color and great job matching the light neutral accessories! :-) Using bright pops of color is certainly a viable option as well, but this look is refined and quite successful...

Anonymous said...

First, I think this looks amazing! The only thing I don't particularly LOVE about the outfit is the shoes. I think the crispness of the fabric and the white shoes makes the outfit look super duper clean, which might bore you? You look great. I think you're right; a couple pops of fun color would really lighten this up! I'd totally go for mustard pumps.

And I have styling fails about 2-3 days out of the 5 work day week!

Michelle said...

I think it's a great outfit, too. And maybe it's just the lighting of the photo, but I wonder if you'd think of it differently if you tried wearing your hair up with it? Your dark hair and the dark dress might be blending together--again, it could just be the photo--but maybe putting your hair up or pulling it back would also lift/lighten the look. I don't know about you, but I find that hair down/hair up can really affect how I think an outfit looks. Am in agreement, too, that pops of color on a remix of the outfit might also change your impression of it.

Cynthia said...

That actually looks pretty awesome. It's the kind of thing I wish I had in my closet for certain days. I can see how brighter accessories would be fun though. Red belt and a big dramatic necklace instead of the little bitty necklace? Hepburn-ish scarf? There are many things you could try before your sister reclaims her wardrobe...

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

I love this and think it's a great look. I wouldn't change anything, in fact I would love to steal this entire look.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Girls! I'm away and have only had periodic access to internet, so I don't know if any of you will read this at this point, but thanks so much for the encouragement about the look. I think Laura hits the nail on the head when she says that how we feel about a look makes a big difference in how we perceive it. The dress is too tight to be comfortable, so I think that spoiled my whole attitude about it.

So though I won't be wearing it again, I'm sure my sister will be thrilled to take your suggestions next time she styles it up! Or, my stone belt and eyelet tank might go missing... which would probably serve me right. : )