Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Earlier Draft:
I wore almost the same look (with tights) in the first outfit post on our blog!

navy and white printed dress (Target)
gray woven stretch belt (Charlotte Russe)
gray slouch boots (Steve Madden)

As I mentioned when I posted this look the first time, I think it makes me look wide.  I don't really care, because I like wearing a low slung belt once in a while, and I'm actually kind of disappointed in myself that I haven't found more ways to wear this belt since I got it.  I like the gray and navy color combination, and this dress feels like the right length to wear with these boots, so I enjoy wearing this outfit.  There are a few things that drive me crazy about it, though.  The fit and length of the sleeves is not good.  I wish they were an inch or two shorter and not so gapey.  I love the print on this dress, but the mis-matchedness of it drives me a little crazy.  The print does not line up on the sides, on the two pockets that are on the chest, or where the fabric changes around the neck opening.  (If I had ever studied clothes for real, I'd know what that is called, but I have no idea.) 

Yet, this outfit gets the most compliments, hands down, of anything I ever wear.  People I don't know compliment it.  People that have never said a word about anything else I've ever worn compliment it.  People who usually think I "try too hard" have complimented it.  One male classmate whom I adore, but who must be one of the least fashion conscious people in the entire world complimented it.  (He liked what he considered its celtic looking pattern.)  Sometimes the compliments are decisive, like when two of my officemates were chatting and one of them stopped mid-sentence to say "You look so cute today, it's ridiculous!"   On this most recent wearing, I also got "what a fun print," "this is my favorite outfit that you wear," "I think those boots look great with skirts," and "great belt!"  Usually it is women who compliment my style choices, but this outfit gets compliments from men and women alike.  Sometimes it's like people don't even know why they like it, and they issue a statement that might be punctuated like "Liz, I really like that outfit?"

I don't know why they like it so much, either.  I mean, I like it, or I wouldn't wear it.  It's fun to have an ensemble stored away that you know will elicit at least five compliments anytime you leave the house in it.  (I counted twelve on one of the days I wore it in the Spring.)  I just wish I understood why this outfit is so appealing to everyone, especially since I don't think it is stereotypically "flattering" to my body, and the top half feels like mismatched print mania.

  • Can you help me?  What's so great about this outfit?  If I have "nailed it" here, I wish I knew why, so I could figure out how to apply these strategies to other outfits.
  • Might there be other reasons for why the outfit gets so much attention?  Does it seem radically different than other things people are used to seeing me in? 


Between Laundry Days said...

I kind of feel like there's some magical formula that certain outfits have that you can't quite put your finger on. I have a few like that too, and I'm always surprised on how many comments they elicit. It's probably why I wear them more often, even though I don't particularly like them myself. Odd.

In any case, this is a pretty great one. I actually like the fact that the patterns don't match up. I'm not sure why, but it adds some interest for me or something. :)

Shakespeare's Feminine Ending said...

There's probably something to it that you can't catch in photography--because you like this outfit so much you probably project some je ne sais quoi-ness out to the world.

Other than that, the outfit is just FUN.

Miss. Studios said...

I love the print. Also how pretty it is to see the color matching between your belt and the boots. That's what I think people like about this outfit. However, I am curious. Why don't you cinch the smallest part of your waist with the belt? I think that will be more flattering on you as you have a tiny waist. It's just my opinion.

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

I agree with SFE - sometimes an outfit is just so fun and you feel so good in it that it radiates outwards.

I have a wide brown leather belt that I wear on my hips. It definitely emphasizes that width, but I love the strong feeling it gives me. I have some formidable hips and I like showing them off. It feels to me like another of the examples of how I don't owe it to the world to look a certain way. Often, the looks I love the most are the ones that go against style convention.

And if you ever want a patterned piece where the patterns match up perfectly? Find yourself a talented seamstress. Millie made a plaid jacket that lines up so well it's mind boggling!

Dr. Da said...

It is funny how some items always get a response, and then other days when I feel super cute I get nothing. When I weighed more I had a corduroy pencil skirt that was beige and black zebra print that I would wear with a black turtleneck sweater and black boots, and that ALWAYS got compliments. In fact one day my postdoc adviser was walking past my office, stopped, came back and said "I'm late to a meeting so can't stay, and I know this will seem out of character, but that skirt is really fabulous on you." let's just say male engineering professors don't normally comment on fashion, so that totally made my day.

I actually think that dress gives you really flattering proportions on your body, and doesn't make you look wide at all.

Diana said...

I like this dress a lot, and I don't think it looks fantastic with the belt and boots! My theory is that big, bold patterns get noticed because a lot of other people are afraid to wear them, so when you show up wearing them with confidence, it really stands out, people notice you, and then they also notice how great the rest of the outfit is.

sartoriography said...

Let me be the next in the long line of complimenters to tell you that you do indeed look fantastic in this outfit.

I think the thing that really work about it is how incredibly well it fits. It's super flattering to your body, but not in a way that's revealing. It's suggestive of a great figure and a sense of fun (in the pattern) without being too obvious. And the boots and belt are perfectly matched to one another while still giving great contrast to the dress. Also, the boots themselves are just plain excellent.

Scholar Style Guide said...

Thanks, all! I appreciate your various suggestions about what makes this look stand out, and I wonder if you aren't all right. At first I wondered if you guys were wrong about me projecting something extra in this outfit, because I certainly don't like it as much as I like others. I do, though, really enjoy wearing the low-slung belt for reasons similar to the ones Katie mentions, so I wonder if I might be projecting a sort of devil-may-care attitude while wearing it that I hadn't thought about before.

If I could figure out how to wear this belt with anything else, maybe I can translate that attitude toward other outfits.

Perhaps I'll keep my eye out for more bold patterns, too. I think that is the thing that separates this look most from the other things I wear regularly.


Anonymous said...

What's so fun about this look is that, to me, it seems like a sophisticated and updated version of a 1960s go-go girl look, with the mod print, shortish hemline, low-slung belt, and flat boots. It would lose that vibe if you wore the belt around your waist. There is an air of being ready for action and fun, in a grownup way. It looks great!