Monday, December 5, 2011

Mommy Style Monday #24--Party On, Pregnant Girl!

Although most of my days are spent in your basic "SAHM style" outfits of skinny jeans, embellished tank, jacket/cardi, and a pair of fun boots or flats, I am occasionally called to bring my style game up a bit more...especially by my husband's work. They have parties like no one's business.

Their office parties don't even qualify as "typical." 

(You know what I mean, drunk people staggering around the copiers, etc.)

They have those, but they also have "functions." These occur at glam hotels that we can only ever stay in if priceline happens to accept our stupidly low offer (which, btw, happens. all. the. time.). I happen to love party frocks so getting kitted out is never ever a bad day for me, but I always feel challenged to make it just right.

Last year's attempt was my most successful, and one that I would love to be able to do again and again, but sadly for the two parties I have been to this year (so far, I have another one on Wednesday), my baby belly was just a smidge too big to let that particular ensemble out to play again (plus what if someone remembers, lol, just kidding, definitely not possible with the crowd Mr. Dina runs with).

I also liked the party outfit I wore to teach my Spring into Style class, but again, not an easy look whilst giving Gus a ride.

So what did I do and what am I planning to do?

The first event was a VERY BIG ONE.  On our tenth anniversary, the place where my husband works had their 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner.  Yeah, 50.  They showed us.  :)

I partly pretended that I was going to this amazing party for us, and that the hundreds of people there were all saying, "Happy Tenth, dinagideon and Mr. Dina, you all MADE IT, Huzzah!"  Ha.

In reality, it was just a nice way to celebrate the long, hard road that his non-profit has had to take.  I actually learned quite a bit about his company that night, which made me more appreciative of the work they do.

But...and this was a stickler, I needed a floor length gown that would fit.  And still fit after I was done being pregnant.  Fortunately I wasn't full term, but rather, just a bit bigger through the waist than normal (I believe I was 16 weeks at this point).  So I turned to ebay and the lovely sample purveyors that exist only there (well, at least for those of us who aren't in NYC for the sample sales). 

Turns out there was a size 6, J. Crew Madison Ave. Collection one-shouldered dress available...and had been available for a while.  I had been eyeing it ever since finding out I was pregnant AND knowing that this gala was on and I was going.

I first asked for measurements, which they sent, and looked okay to me (bit tight, but spanx can work wonders), and I made an offer, then a counter-offer, and finally, it was on its way to me.

It has pockets!

Best I can tell, this is a dress meant for either a mother of the bride OR for exactly what I did with it, a fab soiree that is black tie.

It is a silk/rayon blend with a poly lining, and it's decorated with little white dots and black fuzzy dots all over.  It looked like stars on the web, and from far away in real life, still does.

I needed to define the waist a bit so I could take the attention away from my baby belly, so I pulled out my black elastic blossoms belt from J. Crew last season (so stretchy!).  :)

The dress is really long, but because of the full skirt, glided nicely over my belly and exactly to the right length on the floor.  So you couldn't see my beautiful Tilly Satin Two Tone heels, but I showed them to all the women who wanted to see them. 

Makeup is always fun for me, and I spent as much time of the kids' naps getting ready.  Still didn't have as much time as I would have liked, but ah, well, that is life with toddlers.  You all remember being young and spending all day getting ready for prom or homecoming?  Yeah, I do, and I sometimes miss that level of "me time."  ;)

I needed a very lightweight fancy topper, so I pulled out yet another sample from my closet.  I bought this cardigan more for casual wear, but have yet to wear it as such.  This one is another J. Crew Collection piece that was never made for the retail market.  I think it is a really over the top piece, but definitely less so than some of the doozies they've pulled out in the past few years (porcupine popover, I am SO looking at you). 

That said, I bet Jenna Lyons thought this cardi read "too old," which I can see, but regardless, it is a really fab bit of shine.  It is all hand applied sequins and has a zip front...on very soft merino wool.  I believe the seller wanted some really low amount, like $40, so I bit.

The bag is another J. Crew piece, again, bought on super sale, the crushed glitter satin clutch.  It was an exact match for the shoes, which I don't normally care about, but liked that night. 

Just some simple earrings helped finish off the look, didn't want to over-bling, you know?

And then, THREE days later, we had a wedding of one of Mr. Dina's former co-workers.  At night, natch.  So guess what?  Cocktail dress!

This is the same exact dress I wore to Mr. Dina's last office holiday party (link is in the first part of this post), except this is the Caspian blue one that I bought in a larger size for when my best friend got married a few years ago and wanted me to be a bridesmaid

Well, what do you know?  16 weeks pregnant is similar to dinagideon at nine months postpartum (hopefully not with Gus, though, lol), so with the exceptionally full skirt, it was the exact right dress for the night.

Again I paired it with a belt to hopefully draw the eyes upward (to where I am not gaining weight).  The unique halter straps of the sangle dress helps, too. 

I wore the dress with a pair of pewter heels from Nine West, and dangly earrings from J. Crew.  The headband is also J. Crew.

Pockets!  And at this angle, you can see a bit of the belly.

The bracelet is the amazing beautiful classic pave link bracelet that J. Crew must always sell, definitely classic, and definitely worth the price (especially if you can get some sort of discount).

This looks very Mid-Century Mom, I know.  In fact my dad said his mom wore outfits like this out a lot when he was growing up.  He said this is the way for a pregnant woman to party.  Hee.  My dad.  (Rolls eyes.)

This jacket was yet another ebay is called the Metallic Mosaic Jacket and was made by J. Crew in 2008.  CW has a similar coat that I got for a song at one of their clearance centers. 

In fact, this jacket was noticed by the bride's sister, who happens to work at one of the NY magazines, maybe People Style?  Anyhow, it made me feel like I had chosen exactly right...

So what are my takeaways?  (BTW, this can work for you all without extra "baggage," too.)

1. EBAY, EBAY, EBAY.  If you know that you have a function and have some time to prepare, buy from there.  Not only do the sellers have retail party dresses and toppers, they also have many very cool and unique samples.  Admittedly it helps to have a dress size of 4-8, as the samples are usually a 6, but every so often, the samples will be made in other sizes, too.

2. J. CREW ON SUPER SALE.  Oh, yeah, baby.  That crushed glitter clutch was like $20 at the end of the season because of the markdown and then an additional 30% off. 

3. RE-USE.  Especially if you are constantly asked to dress up, have a staple set of six-eight dresses, in all lengths ready to go.  As of now, I have two floor length gowns (the other one was worn to the Inaugural Ball for Governor McDonnell a couple years ago and is far too small for my baby belly) and about ten knee length cocktail dresses.

I am very glad I didn't sell my larger sized cocktail dresses as it turns out I needed them, so you may want to bear that in mind if you have the room to store the extra frocks.

And finally, what the heck am I going to do on Wednesday?  I really don't know.  Isn't that crazy?  I have an ancient dress from my first pregnancy with Rex, and it is dressy, but I am not sure it is dressy enough.  (I am unable to wear my normal dresses anymore, they are all far too small in the middle.)

So on Friday I bought a dress from ebay for a fairly decent price (maternity is expensive and going to my local Pea in the Pod is not even an option right now), which I truly hope gets here by then.  Unfortunately the seller is in CA, but he did send it priority mail, and I have a confirmed shipping number, so I am crossing my fingers.  (And if it doesn't come on time, there are a couple more small events that require me to get dressed up, so I will just wear this dress then and over-bling the ancient pregnancy dress.)

I guess I followed my own advice by turning to #1, EBAY.  :)

Any of you have any yummy party outfit tricks that you employ?