08 April 2007

Spring Essentials (pt.II): the trench and the wrap dress

Those of you who know me and know the way I dress probably read my list of 'Spring Essentials' from yesterday and thought I'd finally crossed the line from objective advice giver to shameless self-promoter.

True, all of the 10 items are items on which I presently rely on a daily basis to achieve my undeniable Spring glow, but that should be viewed less as you-should-have-a-patterned-wrap-dress-because-I-have-a-patterned-wrap-dress and more as you-should-have-a-patterned-wrap-dress-because-every-woman-should-have-a-patterned-wrap-dress. For each of the enumerated 10 essentials, there is at least one very good justification for their inclusion on my exclusive list.

To find out what they are, keep reading every day for the next five days. Yes, that's right, I'm dragging this out until Thursday. With the weather the way it is, it's not like we can wear any of this in the next few days, anyway.

The first two on my list of this Spring's 10 Essential pieces:

A mid-length khaki trenchcoat
From mid-Spring to mid-Fall, a mid-length khaki trench is going to be your go-to piece of outerwear more than any other jacket, coat, capelet or fur shrug in your hall closet. This coat, if fitted properly and cinched tightly at the waist, can take you from boring Ann-Taylor-clad office girl to sophisticated, how-does-her-supervisor-get-any-work-down-with-her-around? office girl. Not only does khaki complement every color from ivory to black to red to metallics, but it also lends its wearer the opportunity to exude the I-wish-I-could-pull-that-off brand of dressy and casual in the same outfit. Some of the fanciest Donna Karan evening gowns and Giuseppe Zanotti sandals look best when paired not with a Dennis Basso chinchilla coat but a thrown-on, this-ol'-thing short khaki trench. It's that perfect coupling of luxe and practicality that fine, won't fool anyone into thinking you're more the latter than the former, but at least provides you and your friends great pre-theater conversation over crudites and Riesling.

Recommended trenches:
1. Gryphon 'Hitchcock' trench ($590 at activeendeavors.com)

2. Burberry short trench ($945 at burberry.com)
3. Ben Sherman 'Farah' trench ($119 at urbanoutfitters.com)
4. Soia & Kyo asymmetric trench* ($195 at nordstrom.com)
5. Gryphon 'Timeless' trench ($660 at scoopnyc.com)
6. Nine West piped cotton trench ($190 at macys.com)
7. Juicy Couture 3/4 sleeve trench ($350 at bloomingdales.com)
8. Michael Kors double-breasted trench ($96 at bluefly.com)

*shown above right

A patterned wrap dress
I don't have much more to write here that I haven't already written in countless other posts on the sheer worth-it value of DvF wrap dress.
Beyond their highest quality, liquid-draping silk jersey, beyond their universally-flattering silhouettes that make every size between 0 and 16 look their curviest and smallest-waisted, beyond their can't-get-'em-anywhere-else colorful vintage prints, the DvF wrap dress is what so few items in your closet aren't -- eternally versatile.

This is a dress that can go to work, go to church, go on a date, go to a cocktail party and go to wedding with the assured guarantee you'll be the best dressed chick in attendance. Counting the bride.

I've tried other less and more expensive wrap dresses in the four years since I've discovered this style and nothing compares, nothing even comes close to Diane's architectural designs and prints. I understand their price is a serious barrier to entry for most working girls - do I ever - but I also know just how smart an investment they are. My precious collection of three are worth far more in usefulness than my pricier satin/knit mini, vintage cocktail dress and premium denim collections combined. Not only do I get more use out of them but I can also dramatically change up their looks with a different pair of shoes, alternate jewelry and makeup more easily than I can the others. What's so great about DvF prints is that hidden in their busy, bright zigzag and geometric prints are practical colors, or at least one practical color like black, white, red or chocolate brown around which you can accessorize with items already in your possession.

Recommended wrapdresses:
1. DvF 'Jessica' wrapdress ($345 at nordstrom.com)
2. DvF 'Taurus' wrapdress ($207 at bluefly.com)
3. DvF 'Kye' wrapdress ($325 at shopbop.com)*
4. Merona Asian floral wrapdress ($24.99 at target.com)
5. Calvin Klein printed-bodice wrapdress ($148 at macys.com)
6. DvF 'Cassidy' wrapdress ($285 at bloomingdales.com)
7. DvF 'Polly Dee' wrapdress ($224 at neimanmarcus.com)

*shown above right

Check in tomorrow to see why I think a short-sleeved tailored white oxford shirt and a non-denim, non-khaki pair of dress shorts are much-needed additions to your Spring wardrobe.

Until then, enjoy a picture of Montesquieu daydreaming about his mother...


Anonymous said...

What's so different about a DVF dress that makes it cost 3 times as much as one at Macy's? How is that worth it?

denver fan said...

Totally agree with you on the trench. I've been angling to get one for months (since last fall) and now I've got a great selection to choose from! Thanks!

brown rowergirl said...

Didn't you read this post? It's the fabric, the cut, the prints. It's hard to find a non-dvf dress that has one, much less all three of those important characteristics.

It's worth saving for a few months and investing - good use of the word, here - in one of her dresses rather than dropping $100 here and there on imitations. Once you own one, you'll get it. Believe me. Believe *us*.

Laura said...

I came across your blog when I was looking on line for photos of the Gryphon Hitchcock trench (in black) to send to a friend. It is simply spectacular and in black, it is SO Audrey Hepburn meets Jackie O. I found this coat in Blooingdale's and they were out of my size.:( BUT, I searched for WEEKS and finally found it in San Francisco. They sent it to me today and I'll have it tomorrow!! I was so nuts about this coat that I tracked down the designer herself and begged her to help me. Very rarely do I find something I have to have but I am nothing if not determined. Must learn how to channel this into something to make the world a better place... P.S. it is no longer on activeendeavors.com