27 June 2007

How to pop your Big Apple cherry right

"In mid July I am going to be making my first trip ever from DC to your favorite city to visit my best friend who is a grad student at NYU. Let me emphasize *first trip ever*. The main event plans are to do some shopping, catch a show on Broadway and check out some art at a gallery she organized. I am a little on the worried side that I won't be stylish enough for New York...but then I thought of asking you for a little inspiration and knew I'd be alright! Any advice? I'd like to find an outfit that could transition a semi-casual day to night glamour. Ideally I'd like to not order online as I'm a little time-constrained. I'm a 36-D and not stick thin so try to think of something more for your more voluptuous of readers :) I know I'm being specific but I'm sure you'll think of something!"

Walking around New York for hours on end? Potential triple-digit temperatures? Transitioning between day and evening without an outfit change?

Clearly, we’re looking at a multi-purpose sundress.

Since you say you’re on a short timeline and prefer not to order online, I’m going to suggest a few silhouette guidelines, a few stores for you to visit, and then it’s up to you to go out and find that perfect outfit to impress all the celebrities you'll surely run into.

But I should remind you, most online stores offer 2-3 day standard shipping, which means if you placed your order within the week, you’d definitely have your dress well before your mid-July departure. Just sayin'.

Not knowing your height or budget complicates my style prescription a wee bit, but at least you told me your general shape – I’m translating “not stick thin” and “36-D” as “hourglass” – and from that I already have a few ideas in mind for exactly what kind of dress I think you should wear.

First, because of your proportions, the best dress – the most flattering dress – is one that draws attention to your waist. This is achieved most easily with a waist cinch, but another option is a dress like this one from Anthropologie that instead of a belt cuts a clear line between top and bottom with color.

Second, because of your larger chest, I strongly suggst avoiding dresses with empire waists. You know why, and it begins with an insensitive man approaching you and ends with you saying, "No, I'm not pregnant."

Third, also because of your chest, we’re not looking at a halter, backless or any other style that might have you considering a bra-free Manhattan experience. Even if those D-cups are perky as can be, after 12 hours free on the range, your back is gonna wanna kick your ass for this decision.

Fourth, I don’t know what your preference is when it comes to baring cleavage, but I’m going to assume since your schedule includes venues ranging from daytime casual (shopping) to family-friendly (art gallery) to evening semi-formal (Broadway theater), we’re going to want to limit the boobage to at most a “peek”.

Fifth, since we’re covering you up on top, let’s opt for a knee-length or just-above-the-knee-length dress so that we might see some skin. Due to the sticky heat and extensive amount of walking, don’t make things worse for yourself by selecting a fitted skirt. Go for flowy, go for A-line, go for anything other than pencil.

Oh, and if you don’t mind, I’d also like to recommend you bring two pairs of shoes – one for walking during the day (cute and flat like these or these) and one for your more glamorous night out in Manhattan (cute and not flat like these or these). If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my stints in NYC, it’s that at the end of the day - literally, once the sun sets - you’re either going to need access to a water source for a quick de-grime scrub-down, or at the very least have on hand a fresh pair of completely enclosed shoes that’ll hide from others just how black the sides and soles of your feet are.

Without further ado, here are a few dress silhouettes I think would look smashing on you and that would be venue-appropriate for your jam-packed first day in the Big Apple:

Paisley wrap waist dress ($128 at freepeople.com)
Hollywood dress by Lux ($48 at urbanoutfitters.com)
Tie around dress by L.A.M.B. ($285 at shopbop.com)*
Striped seersucker dress by Kay Unger ($144.01 at saks.com)
Rose red mini dress by Anna Sui ($238.80 at saks.com)
Poplin sundress by Max & Cleo ($118 at nordstrom.com)
Swiss dot sundress by Calvin Klein ($138 at nordstrom.com)

*your editrix's top pick
Stores to hit up:
1. Zara
2. Anthropologie
3. French Connection
4. South Moon Under
5. Macy's
6. Nordstrom
7. Macy's
8. Banana Republic
9. Urban Chic
10. H&M


I beg to differ said...

I'm curious that you are recommending some "thong T-bar flat sandals". Aren't they flip flops with a very negligible strap around the heel?

Johanna said...


the reason why I don't like flip-flops outside of extremely casual settings (beach, dog-walking, etc.) is because they are just that -- extremely casual. These t-strap thongs are subtly elegant with yes, that small bit around the heel, but also because of their material (fine leather instead of nylon) and perhaps most of all, the lack of that horrific flip-flop-flip-flop noise.

I'm not against flip-flops for their flatness - not at all - but rather for the ipmlicit "eh, I don't care what I look like from the ankles-down" vibe they give off.

I beg to differ said...

aah I understand now :)

Anonymous said...

I know it's the rule for hourglass ladies to draw attention to the waist but in all honesty, I think it cuts the crazy/sexy curve from chest to waist to hip and makes them look stumpy. The waist trick is great for pears but only in the almight wrap dress does it work for the hourglass - and then usually only with a gorgeous print.

Not a fashion queen said...

I am not a slave to fashion but when you are going for a look that will transition from day to night I would go with a solid verses a print. I am a 36DD and find that Ann Taylor's summer dresses fit me bautifully and they fit up to a size 16.

One that I love (and that always gets lots of compliments is)
Sleeveless Shirt Dress in Chocolate Brown

As Johanna said chaning up the shoes, hair and accessories that you will be carrying in your uber fabulous bag will help you transition from day to night.

Johanna said...


what would you suggest, then? I'm just curious.


I'm not sure I agree with you on the solid-versus-print front. Either could work, I think, and in Summer, walking around NYC, doesn't a fun print make you that much chirpier? Being the neutral-lover I am, I of course adore the shirt dress. Might get it for work, actuallly...