Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Eleven: The LBD Test

What's that? A social-ish event flickering in the dim, distant lights of Carbondale, Illinois? Most of my socializing takes place when I'm on the road touring or attending publishing/writing conferences. But sometimes a girl needs to shake off the day-to-day housebound writer blues and spend time with dear girlfriends close to home.

Through the devices of my nine year-old son, who has a charming passion for country music, I've made friends at--and even appeared on--WDDD, an area radio station. Their mother corp. is one of the sponsors of an annual charity wine tasting/Little Black Dress party. So off I went in my Walmart finest.

I wrote an update on my Norma Kamali post, explaining how dumb I felt when I realized I hadn't figured out that her batwing dress is actual this fabulous All-In-One-Jersey-Dress.

(Photo from Walmart site)

I'm a little slow sometimes. But I finally figured out that the model pictured six times on the tag wasn't wearing six different dresses--just a single dress.

I tried wearing it every way pictured, and most of them looked pretty good. Only one version made me look like I was being strangled.

So, here I am after I got home. (As usual, I was running late out the door, and so didn't get one before the party.)

I was pretty pleased with the overall look. Like the feel and weight of the fabric. Was delighted with the way the hemline looked straight despite the fact that I had the dress's sleeves (!) tied around my neck. It's a fairly amazing dress--especially given that it cost me only $20.

Drawbacks--I felt a little self-conscious about the way the sleeve seams were exposed--though they were more prominent when the dress was tied another way. The good news is that the dress is unlikely to be worn beneath harsh, revealing light.

The other issue is specific to me. Given that I'm only 5'5" and short-waisted (too few inches between the bottom of my ribcage and the top of my hips), I really need a dress with some slight asymmetrical definition in the waist area. I felt a tad rectangular in this incarnation--but not so much that it bugged me.

If I could have improved on two things, they would've been the jewelry and the bag. Style is definitely in the details, don't you think?

But in all I count the outfit a success.

Shoes: Also Kamali. Simple black patent slingbacks with a small heel. Love them!
Jewelry: Wide silver bangle, crystal and faux pearl studs, silver necklace with hanger.
Bag: This cracks me up. Just try to find an evening bag at Walmart. I finally ended up in the wallets. Bought this one in copper. It's nice and long and has two old-fashioned knobby clasps that open into long change pockets. It can be laid open to expose slots for credit cards/license as well. I was able to fit all this inside: lipstick, phone, two tissues, various cards and a comb.

Totals: Norma Kamali All-In-One-Jersey Dress $20 (now $24 online); Norma Kamali black patent slingbacks $20; Bag: $10; George Necklace $7; White Stag Earrings $4; No Boundaries bracelet: $8 (part of a set w/ thin bangles); Plain Black Wrap $3 (Clearance from $7)   All: $72

Here are a couple photos from the party. From left to right: Karla, Hope, me. (The first pic is for Michelle Gibson, who styles our hair. We love you, Michelle!)

All I can say is "whew." Glad I made it through. I confess I was worried. I probably wouldn't have bought a new dress for this event. I have a really lovely long, cotton halter dress that I bought at a boutique in Roanoke, VA. I've only worn it once, so far. Guess it will be another year before I can again.

A special welcome to my new followers. I love having you along!


  1. Well, Laura, you look wonderful, but I have to say that Karla's dress is much more beautiful. ; )

    I wonder, did it cost 10 times as much?? You are so courageous!!! I miss you three women very much!!

  2. That looked great -- good for you!

    I am LOVING this blog. You're an inspiration . . .

  3. Thank you, my dears. Your input means a lot to me. And, yes, Branda. The photo doesn't do Karla's dress justice--it was gorgeous, just like her!

  4. I really want a 1-2-3 diagram of how you tied the dress sleeves around your neck to look this fab. The secret of the LBD is versatility. You get an A+.

  5. Aw, Carolyn. Thanks!

    The neck of the dress has a double inner band around it that helps it keep its shape. First, I pulled it down over my head, shoulders, and arms so that it looked like a strapless dress. Then I just kind of lifted the arms and turned them so they weren't all twisted, then tied them in a knot behind my neck. It took a couple minutes to get them to look just right, but it definitely wasn't difficult. I was amazed at how the hemline went from below-the-knee to above-the-knee automatically. Weird, in a really good way.

    I appreciate the follow, sweetie!