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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 jacket was yet another ebay score...it 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.)
I guess I followed my own advice by turning to #1, EBAY. :)
Any of you have any yummy party outfit tricks that you employ?