The Going Away Outfit, and The Trouble With Dress Shopping

Ok, so it’s not really a going away outfit for me as much as it is a brunch the next day/going away outfit, but I’m calling it my “going away outfit” anyway. I like the idea of it, it’s a bit of a throw back, a little retro, a bit traditional, but practical too. Years ago brides would buy their outfit as part of their wedding trousseau and change into it before they left for their honeymoon while the wedding was still going on. Maybe I just like the idea of buying a new outfit, but I keep thinking about Shelby’s little pink suit in Steel Magnolias, and Cameron Diaz’s character wears one at the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding too—maybe it’s Julia Robert’s who’s responsible, but either way, I like the idea.

My wedding ends at 1:30 in the morning so I won’t be changing into anything but pajamas afterward, the next morning there will be brunch though, and then the fiancé and I are going away for the weekend, so as far as I’m concerned, the occasion calls for a cute outfit.

The going away outfit is usually a suit, but the problem is, it’s hard to find suits that are cute and feminine, and if I did find a cute suit I would probably either never wear it again (and I already have an expensive dress I’ll never wear again) or if I did ever wear it again it would be to an interview, and that would just take all the fun out of it. So I thought I’d look for a going away dress instead.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been having any luck, sometimes finding dresses can be exceptionally hard. It seems that everything is either a party dress, a work dress, or a sun dress, anything else is really hard to find. My mother says it’s because in your twenties you end up in-between the juniors section and the ladies section—that theory is reserved for mall department stores, and is also completely true. All the stuff in the juniors department seems flimsy and ill-fitting, and most of the stuff in the ladies department is best suited for the office or the MOTB (that’s mother of the bride in wedding speak). So what’s a girl to do? Not shop at department stores I guess.

I checked out Anthropologie too, and maybe it’s just me, but it seems like their clothes (especially dresses) just keep getting more expensive and less wearable. Everyone knows that Anthropologie has a tendency to take a perfectly lovely article of clothing and stick a weird flower or pom-pom on it and ruin the whole thing, I’ll do a whole post on it one day, but right now all I can say is they have a lot of weird expensive dresses. When you need to find something it’s impossible to find it, but finding cute dresses seems harder than usual recently.

I only have 29 days more to look, and I’m generally sick of the state of available dresses. That seems like a crazy complaint, but the more I trek around to stores and click through pages online, the more I’m convinced that dresses only come in three categories.  You could draw the conclusion that the fashion industry only sees women as one of these three archetypes—business woman, party girl, or cutesy teen, but maybe it’s a supply and demand thing. So what I’m wondering is, do other people have this problem when searching for dresses? Is it just me who hates spaghetti straps or low backs because I have to think about what bra to wear with it? Or who feels like every dress is either too short or too frumpy? Anyone else who longs for tailoring and fit without sacrificing personality and femininity? Maybe I’m just crazy, but I’m also a lady who loves dresses, and I’m fed up with my lack of options.

Anyone have suggestions—perhaps a favorite store I haven’t thought of? I’d also appreciate any insight into why dresses have to be sleeveless, because that’s something I’ve never understood, who wants to have to search for a sweater after all that dress shopping?

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7 Comments

Filed under shopping

7 responses to “The Going Away Outfit, and The Trouble With Dress Shopping

  1. mkz201

    Dress shopping can be a hassle but because they are essentially my entire work wardrobe for 9 months out of the year (my knees get too cold in the dead of winter) I’ve found some staples. Most of them come from Anthropologie though. I find it helps to try things on there – some meh dresses will surprise you.

    Also, didn’t you just do a whole post about Anna Sui with some lovely long sleeved dresses at the top? Why not take a trip to the store and see what is on the sale rack?

    And there is always vintage…

  2. Lizzy

    ps i love the going away outfit! and i totally agree about anthropologie putting wierd rickrack and flowers on clothes and totally ruining them.

  3. haren

    Don’t be disheartened, there will be something lovely and magically perfect and TJMaxx or Marshalls.

  4. mindy

    Hi Justine, I recently stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE your voice. I hope all has been well since your days at DK. Have you checked out Mod Cloth? They have adorable dresses!

    • Justine

      Thanks, that’s so nice to hear! I LOVE ModCloth, my only issue with them is their return shipping can be pricey, so I have to make sure I know I’ll like something before I order it, but I have a few of their dresses in mind. Hope you’ve been doing great too Mindy!

  5. jen

    If I may suggest…

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/55405401/neneee-sweet-tooth-dress

    I’m not affiliated with the seller or anything; I just really want that dress myself…but I need to pay for car repairs first. Sigh. 😦

    • Justine

      Darn car repairs! Why do they have to be so expensive? That dress is really cute—one of my problems is everything being so short though, if only I had killer legs or as much confidence as I dream of, I love that pattern!

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