MyShingle Fashion: Polishing Up A Maxi Dress

This marks my last post featuring the Year Round Cardigan from Eddie Bauer. Recall that last time, I had to switch from the oatmeal heather color to the sea foam because the former sold out. My goal for this mini-series (hopefully the first -or second?- of many mini-series here) was to illustrate many different ways to style a casual cardigan that most of us probably have hanging in our closets. First, I used a knee-length dress, then a skirt and top outfit, then a pant and top outfit, and now, the maxi dress.

Maxi dresses are a great option for the summer, as well as the late spring and early fall, when you’re respectively ready to welcome the warm weather, or still in denial that winter’s just around the corner.

And if the seasons are iffy, or if the A/C at your office is permanently set to ‘subarctic tundra,’ cardigans are a great way to gussy up what can sometimes be a rather casual, beachy look.

Eddie Bauer Year Round Cardigan in Sea Foam ………. $29.99
Kensie Dress, Mosaic Print Maxi ………. $88
Lauren by Ralph Lauren Metallic Silver Belt ………. $38
Naturalizer Minka Flat in Black ………. $78.95

It took me forever to find a maxi dress that I actually liked that could be worn in to the office, or to a work-related setting. The problem is that a lot of them are far too casual and beachy, and a lot of them have plunging necklines or itty bitty spaghetti straps. And sure, under a sweater or blazer, you can’t really tell, and the neckline isn’t an issue if you prettily knot a scarf around your neck, but I still wanted something a little more grown-up and normal.

That’s why I took a liking to this maxi dress from Macy’s. I love Macy’s because they run great sales and have generally reasonable prices, and I don’t recall ever having an issue with the quality of the items I buy there. And yes, I’m the finicky person that stands there in the department store and examines the stitching, just like my mother before me and my grandmother before her.

This dress has a pretty print, the neckline is a decent scoopneck that doesn’t bare too much, and the straps are thicker. I also like the shape and way it falls. So many of the dresses I looked at were clearly meant to be worn by stick-thin people. The draping was really weird and the cut was too narrow, and if a woman with actual thighs instead of toothpicks bothered with any of those dresses, she’d look like a sausage that had been crammed into too small a casing. It’s terribly unfair.

But this dress is a great pick, and it just happened to match the color of the sweater. I’m pretty comfortable not matching my sweaters exactly to the rest of my outfits (I usually just stick to the same general color family) but this just worked out all on its own.

To keep everything from being too matchy-matchy, I added a metallic silver belt to add some shine and interest. And because it’s not grey. I kept it simple with the shoes, though, and opted for black flats. I have to admit that the ones I picked are a nod to my mother. She has had rheumatoid arthritis for a couple of years now, and it’s very, very hard for her to find shoes that fit – not only because of the general pain associated with the disease, but also because it has slightly disfigured the bones in her feet and sometimes the shoe just kind of fits … wrong.

Still, she swears by Naturalizer shoes. She absolutely loves them and says they’re the most comfortable line of shoes she’s ever worn. I’ve tried on her shoes once or twice, out of curiosity, and even though they’re too big for me, I have to admit they’re quite comfortable. The leather is of good quality and is always soft and buttery, and the sole inserts are just great. If you’re on your feet a lot during the day, running errands during lunch and constantly flitting around the office for one reason or another, your feet won’t even feel it if you’ve got on a pair of Naturalizers.

And no, I’m not being compensated for promoting these shoes. Although I should be. I’d use the money to buy … shoes. Predictably, yes.

And there is my final Year Round Cardigan outfit, at just a little over $200, bringing this mini-series to a close. Stay tuned, because the next mini-series I’ve got planned is “How To Dress Like a French Woman.” I know! I’ve gone all continental! It’ll be exciting, I promise. I’ll try to channel Audrey and her gamine style, but no promises.

Side note: Everyone always repeats the myth that Audrey Hepburn survived the Nazi occupation by eating tulip bulbs. She didn’t just eat tulip bulbs. She ground up the tulip bulbs and made bread, which she ate. Everyone has this image of her scrounging around in garden beds and stuffing her face, and that’s just … wrong. These are important things that need to be pointed out for the betterment of humankind.