13 May 2007

How to have my kind of Manhattan weekend: Pt. II

Yesterday, the eats and the activities, today, the clothes.

I don't know about you, but when I'm in Manhattan in the summer, I have no desire to wear shorts, skirts, blouses, tees, tunics, leggings or pants. No, NYC in June, July and August, for me, is all about the pretty dress.

During the day, my favorite look is an ultra-feminine sundress, flat sandals, air-dried hair and a single-coat-of-mascara-and-bronzer-only makeup routine.

At night, I opt for a frock with a dramatic hem or neckline that highlights my tan limbs, barely-there sky-high stiletto evening sandals, with my hair straightened and pulled back. As for cosmetics, I follow a regiment of a double-coat of mascara, heavier-than-day bronzer, gold-shimmer creme shadow and lots and lots of black-kohl liner.

If your style doesn't align with mine, my first piece of advice is to have you identify the asset of which of are most proud -- the asset you'd like to draw attention to and flaunt when you're out amongst the most fashionable people on earth. This could be your sculpted shoulders, your thin ankles, your taut behind, even your freckles. Dress for your chosen feature but not at the cost of forgetting those body parts with which you're a little less comfortable - or should be a little less comfortable - showing off. This point was driven home earlier today when I saw a young woman standing on a footstool in the three-way mirror at the Anthropologie in Georgetown trying on this adorable 'Checker' dress by Viola. From the bust-up, the straight-edged neck and thick straps worked perfectly with her collarbone and not-too-thin-but-not-too-thick upper arms. From the bust-down, however, the cinch of the empire waist hit this middle-heavy woman in a bad, bad way. Instead of looking floaty and effortless like the dress itself, she resembled a Pringle can. Or Jessica Simpson since she started dating John Mayer. Unfortunately for her - the woman at Anthro, not Jessica - I was in no mood to verbally disqualify her friends' "That looks amazing on you, you should totally get it" praise. Instead, I slackened my quick pace, made eye-contact, bit my lower lip in a less-than-subtle don't-even-think-about-buying-that clench, and walked toward the unmentionables section to take a peek at the on-sale display of Chantilly lace boyshorts.

My other general rule is to stick to one featured feature per outfit. If you decide to plunge down front, lower the hem; if you're rocking the mini, opt for a fuller, more conservative neckline; and if you're going backless down-to-there, balance with some combination of the two. My own experience has been that hints of this and that, as opposed to wha-bam-look-at-my-junk, are much more effective in building your own confidence and in eliciting frequent "I feel so lucky to be the man on your arm" comments from your companion.

And with that, here are my recommendations for day and evening, June-in-Manhattan dresses:


Cinch dress by Lux ($48 at urbanoutfitters.com)*
Flutter eyelet dress by Deep ($44 at styleviolet.com)
Voile minidress by BCBG ($160 at saks.com)
Hana tunic dress by Ella Moss ($155 at pinkmascara.com)
Puff-sleeve dress by Catherine Malandrino ($407 at revolveclothing.com)*
Short caftan dress by Rachel Pally ($229 at urbanchiconline.com)
Kagen eyelet dress by C&C California ($158 at activeendeavors.com)
Saffie dress by What Comes Around... ($380 at activeendeavors.com)
Bonnet dress by Maria Bonita Extra ($59.95 at anthropologie.com)
Birds of paradise dress by James Coviello ($318 at anthropologie.com)

Liquid dress by Harkham ($282 at couturecandy.com)
Charmeuse Dita dress by ingwa;melero ($321 at shopbop.com)*
Belted dress by Castle Starr ($485 at ronherman.com)
Silk strapless tuck dress by Nicole Miller ($197.10 at bluefly.com)
Diamond deco shift dress ($138 at ardenb.com)
Wrapped pearl halter mini by Chelsea Flower ($326 at saks.com)*
Satin mini dress by ABS ($230 at saks.com)
Rosette shift dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim ($370 at pinkmascara.com)
Battenburg chic dress by Betsey Johnson ($172 at revolveclothing.com)
Golden road dress by Fei ($158 at anthropologie.com)
*your editrix's top picks


brown rowergirl said...

Love the dresses (and your top picks) but where are the shoes? I want to see some shoes!

As someone who walks the streets of Manhattan everyday (though walking to work isn't as exciting as walking to Saks or Dior or wherever), I can say with confidence that you nailed "the look" of summer. My favorite is that Castle Starr dress. I want a yellow dressy dress SO BADLY!

erin said...

Just ordered the first dress from Urban in purple!

west coast devotee said...

Never thought I'd say this, but don't you think that Dita dress is a wee bit small for your ladies?

I wouldn't complain, nor would any heterosexual man, but it's just not you. Or is it??