Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dress to Impress Obsess

A few weeks ago I asked my lovely readers (ie you) what you wanted to know. The lovely and talented Andhari was first and she wanted to know about my dresses. And her wish is my command. (And have you read her blog, Insomniac Lolita? It's fabulous.)

Anyways, I became a dress fanatic in 2007. Up until then, I mostly wore jeans and shirts. Cute shirts, but mostly not too feminine.

In the spring of 2007, I bought a gray dress from Forever 21. Since then, I have been expanding my collection exponentially.

That original gray dress is on the left. I have acquired these from right (oldest) to left (newest).
Let me tell you a bit about each dress (ok, this might be boring for most people but if you are like me you need to know where these things are from.. ok?). From left to right...
  • Gray Dress, Forever 21, purchased in Spring 2007, $20.
  • Blue Dress, Gap Outlet, purchased in Spring 2007, $25 (side note: this dress is what my friends call "Sarah Blue" or "Gap Blue". It looks amazing on me-well at least I think so.
  • Pink/Purple Dress, Gap Outlet, purchased in Summer 2007, $25 (side note: this dress isn't flattering. The color and cut are all off).
  • Purple (but looks blue in the pic) Dress, Soprano brand, purchased at Nordstrom in Fall 2008, $30.
  • Black Dress, Soprano brand, purchased at TJ Maxx in Spring 2009, $20
  • Gray Dress, Lucy & Laurel brand, purchased at TJ Maxx in Summer 2009, $20 (side note: this dress is not flattering on me. Has no waistline).
So in terms of these casual, cotton dresses, I look for a couple of things.
  • Nice fabric, not too sheer. Never put them in the dryer because the fabric burns out and gets pilled - hate that.
  • Must have a waistline of some sort - it makes me look skinnier. The last dress is bad for that reason - no waist.
  • Inexpensive. Clearly there is no reason to spend a ton on these. I just check TJ Maxx every time I stop by and I am bound to get lucky at some point.
Ok, now onto nicer dresses.
From Left to Right:
  • Pink Dress, Ann Taylor, purchased in Spring 2005 for high school graduation, $85. Can't believe I can actually (barely) still fit into this.
  • Black Dress, White House, Black Market, purchased in December 2007, $99. This is one of my favorite dresses because the top fits like a glove. Excuse the bra straps.
  • Floral Dress, Express, purchased at TJ Maxx in Fall 2008 for $12. Steal of a dress... a bit booby-licious.
  • Blue Dress, Calvin Klein, purchased at Marshalls in Spring 2009 for $60. I love this dress, but it's the reason I started doing the Shred. My thighs dont' fit into this dress, period.
  • Black dress, J. Crew Outlet, purchased in Spring 2009 for $50. It has pockets(!!), but unfortunately is 100% cotton and I think it will fade. Am thinking of re-dying it black to keep the color dark.
As you can see, I try not to spend a ton on dresses. Clearly, good ones are worth the investment because even the pink one, which was supposed to be a one-timer, can be worn again and again.

My best advice for dresses especially is to try on everything, check the sales rack every time you shop (because most of these were purchased on a whim - I can't ever find a good one when I'm looking for it), and if you find something good - buyt it. It won't wait around for you to find an occasion to wear it to.

So, I think I've beaten this topic into the ground, right?

Remember, every comment this week earns you a chance to win!!

And, as I said yesterday, feel free to ask me anything. My life is an open book, and I want to know what you want to know.

Happy Tuesday!

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P.S. I am insanely dedicated to you, little blog, because I tried on every single one of those this morning and even though I was unshowered (which is why I cut my head off), I took all those pics. For you. Because I love you long time.

35 Classy Comments:

~*Miss A*~ said...

Awww I love all of your dresses!! I am quite the dress fanatic myself, BUT I can never seem to find cute & CHEAP dresses. I'm not that lucky, I always end up paying a lot of $$ for my dresses.

But you've inspired me! After I finish working, I'm going to head to my local TJ Maxx to see what I can find.

Mrs. Newlywed said...

I love dresses. My closet is probably 80% dresses and skirts. I wear pants as little as possible. Even around the house I usually throw on a summer dress.

I've never been a pants person. There are stories about some of the temper tantrums I threw as a child if my mom tried to make me wear pants.

And? I only own 2 pairs of jeans...and I bet I haven't worn either pair in almost a year.

Whitney said...

I love your dresses! Too cute! AND I love that you took pictures in every single one of them AND had the same pose! :)

Thanks for the dress advice!

SLJ said...

Your dresses are very cute and you presented them very cutely! Even though I may not comment often I read your blog regularly!

My name is Megan... said...

super cute dresses!!! We have the same style & shop at a lot of the same places!! :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Cute dresses! I heart the floral one from Express- so adorable!

This Minneapolis Life said...

I am a dress person, too. I can't even tell you how many dresses I have purchased on sale that are still hanging my closet with tags on, just waiting for the right occassion. Dresses and skirts are just so much more comfortable and flattering than shorts or pants. My favorite "dressy" dresses usually come from Ann Taylor, for casual I lean toward Gap, J.Crew, Lilly.

Christa said...

I love all of your dresses! They are all really cute! Here lately I have been buying more dresses too it seems like. I love the dresses at Forever 21...there so cute and affordable!

Blackeyed_Susan said...

Wow! That is some serious dedication! Your dresses are so cute! The first place I go when shopping is the dress rack. I have wayy too many, but I hate to wear pants so that is my wardrobe!

RCaitlin said...

I love them! It sounds like you get them for great prices too! I love Forever 21 haven't spent much time at GAP but apparently I need to check them out!

Jenn said...

http://www3.jcpenney.com/jcp/X6.aspx?DeptID=50434&CatID=68007&GrpTyp=PRD&ItemID=1640871&attrtype=&attrvalue=&CMID=50434%7c50444%7c63883&Fltr=&Srt=&QL=F&IND=3&cmVirtualCat=&CmCatId=50434|50444|63883|68007

This is my current favorite dress - I get tons of compliments on it and it's super comfy!

I love the black JCrew dress - such a steal, too!

Megan said...

I love all of your dresses! I have started wearing a lot more dresses this past year. It is hard for me to find dreses that are comfy and casual, I usually only find more dressy dresses. I love all of yours!

Annie said...

Your dress collection has me feeling very envious!
I love them all!
When I decide to allow myself to start shopping again I know what I'm stocking up on ;)

Mel said...

I wear a lot of black cotton and I use Woolite for Dark Clothes. It keeps them from losing their color as fast. I think you can have a drycleaner do the dye job for you?

P.S. I think this is the first time I've commented.

Allison said...

You look so cute in all of the dresses!! You're such a bargain shopper too. I don't think I'd let everyone see how pale I look right now in all of my dresses.

Thanks for the giveaway!!! I have one going on too.

The Little Jewelry Box said...

These are so cute!!! I am with RCaitlin above:)! I LOVE Forever 21! You look great in these!

Tara Gibson said...

CUte dresses!!!
I am a huge dressoholic! I am buying them constantly!
I shop everywhere for them-arden b, bebe, f21, lulus, local boutiques, bcbg, dillards, nordstroms, eBay, edressme,- just about everywhere! :)

The Northerner said...

I am a dress fanatic too. I probably have about 70. They take up almost half of my closet. I might need an intervention ;)

Legallyblondemel said...

Funny and stylish - I like this!

My name is Mel, and I am also a dressaholic. I'm in complete agreement that bargains are to be had, particularly with day dresses (have found great ones at Old Navy & Target recently). For dressy occasions, I do bargain search but will splurge on a timeless one.

wearingmascara said...

I love how you took a picture of yourself in the dresses! I love that one from express! I saw it on the rack but never bought it. I only recently became into dresses. I LOVE them now :-) I love the Loft for them!

Natalie said...

LOVE your blog .... have been sitting here going back and reading, reading, reading ...

I am a 'dress girl' myself -- my husband says I am a dress whore -- b/c I will wear any dress, any time (funny, if you ask me). I buy MOST of my dresses from TJ Maxx or Old Navy. I did just buy a bunch at Ann Taylor Loft -- I'm just all about ease. I picked up one at WHBM the other day for $60 and it's extremely flattering ... love it.

Gwen said...

I read your Nail Envy post!!! I so should have told you. It has been my savior many times and I seriously have a bottle with me at all time!!! Glad you've come over the fence to the envious side with me. LOL!!! XOXO

Tamara B. said...

I just love the two blue dresses!

Ashley said...

I'm a total dress girl. I wear them almost everyday

Mel @ A Box of Chocolates said...

I've only recently began wearing dresses and absolutely loved this post. I don't buy many dressy dresses because honestly I just don't have the opportunity to wear them, but I love my casual cotton everyday ones. Thanks for taking the time to take all those pictures. One day I'm having you take me shopping!!

Jessica Lynn said...

I love your dress post! I was always a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal too, but now I love a good cotton dress or a nice a-line skirt! Simply fabulous! :)

A Wedding Story said...

I am obsessed with jersey dresses for everyday. So cute!

Andhari said...

Sweet! Thanks for featuring these for the answer! They look great! I like the black white house one and the blue calvin klein the most!:)

Karlie said...

I am a dress fanatic too.!! LOVE your selection of beautiful dresses. I usually get most of my dresses from Ann Taylor.

Doreen said...

Love the 2nd black one!! :) I would love to eventually wear comfy dresses. I just always wear shirts and jeans.

Holly said...

I've recently started getting into dresses, and I just loved this post!

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Musings of a Housewife said...

You're adorable. I am not a dress person. I just don't do well with dresses AT ALL. Maybe I should get you to go shopping with me! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for silk prom dresses and this is not to my expectations. Elaborate, elegant and discount: that's my motto! (No laughing matter!)

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