16 July 2007

How to dress like a souped-up safe-bet

Professional woman though I am, I find nothing shameful in admitting one my most influential weekday-style inspirations is the '50s housewife.

While I admire the prim and sophisticated ensembles I often see on modern-day mothers like Katie Holmes, Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet, perhaps the one woman I tend to channel most fiercely - aesthetically, people, aesthetically - as I head out the door Monday-through-Friday isn't a woman at all but rather an amalgam of women (think Betty Crocker, June Cleaver and Elizabeth Taylor's character, Angela Vickers, from the 1951 classic, A Place in the Sun) whose lampshade skirts, crisp cotton blouses and stretch-free fitted sheaths embody all that is over-the-top and grossly stereotypical of how a lady was expected to dress during a time when trousers and flats were not only considered unsavory but rebellious.

Here below are my contemporary dress-and-stiletto interpretations at "If I had a Sugar Daddy..." price points of safe-bet style.

The pick-up-the-kids-from-school outfit (Spring):
Plum dress by Trina Turk ($248 at nordstrom.com)
C10082 Lsxo 51 by Moschino ($398.95 at zappos.com)

The pick-up-the-kids-from-school outfit (Fall):
Pocket-smock dress by Walter ($253 at couturecandy.com)
Tisbury pump by KORS Michael Kors ($185 at shopbop.com)

The pick-up-the-kids-from-school outfit (Winter):
Stretch-wool flannel dress by MARC Marc Jacobs ($398 at eluxury.com)
Beach leather boots by Jimmy Choo ($1,125 at net-a-porter.com)

The pick-up-the-kids-from-Summer-camp outfit:
Odella shirtdress by Theory ($265 at saks.com) 674911 by Marc Jacobs ($328.95 at zappos.com)

The pack-his-lunch-before-he-leaves-for-work outfit:
Smart set chemise by La Perla ($441 at saks.com)
Clara snake sandal by Jill Stuart ($214 at shopbop.com)

The meet-him-in-the-city-for-lunch outfit:
Versailles dress ($285 at jcrew.com) Yoyo zeppa slingbacks by Christian Louboutin ($660 at net-a-porter.com)

The meet-his-coworkers outfit:
Shirred dress by Foley ($275 at activeendeavors.com)
Vita cutout pump by Jean-Michel Cazabat ($495 at shopbop.com)

The he's-pissed-me-off-but-I'm-still-expected-to-meet-his-coworkers outfit:Tie-neck mini dress by Alice + Olivia ($242 at saks.com) Judy high heel sandal by Gucci ($575 at saks.com)


Anonymous said...

I find this incredibly offensive.

Anonymous said...

I find this incredibly awesome!

brown rowergirl said...


3 words -- tongue in cheek.


And thanks a lot for the Jimmy Choo boots. I had to take a restroom break after clicking on the close-up. Holy sh*t those are fabulous!

virgle kent said...

La Perla?!? You know I had to say somethig on that... well played playa

jess said...

I saw this Marketplace report and wondered what you thought of it: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2007/07/13/PM200707136.html

I read about A Bathing Ape a while back but had no clue they sold $400 hoodies the kids like...

Anonymous said...

those vita cutout pumps are darling! is there a more affordable knock-off pair somewhere?

etcetera said...

if i didn't know you, this post would make me vom.

but since i do know you, and know you wouldn't be caught dead trapped in the suburbs, juggling soccer practices and dentist appointments, and only coming in to the city to lunch with your husband, i'll just laugh and tell you that my fave is the first dress.

(you? pack a lunch? HA!!!!!!!!! my amazing abs hurt from laughing so hard!)

Johanna said...

anonymous 1-

sorry for that. please to expand on why you found it offensive.

anonymous 2-

thank you! I agree.

brown rowergirl-

those boots gave me the same reaction...

virgle kent-

I know we got the whole La Perla thing in common -- that's my shout-out for your dubbing me the "mastubatory girl of [your] dreams"


$400 for a hoodie is outrageous. for 1/3 of a pair of boots, however...

anonymous 3-

I've been looking since I "Sugar daddied" those Cazabat pumps 6 weeks ago! Aren't they heavenly?


your abs *are* amazing. I can't stop thinking about them, actually. Not in a sexual way - goodness no, you're my friend, after all - but in a how-can-I-sabotage-them-to-make-mine-look-better-by-comparison kind of way. love you to bits! And I mean, BITZ!

dc girl said...

Usually we get some insight into why you write the posts you do. With this one, however, you gave none.

Care to explain the impetus for the housewife post? I'm SO not being accusatory (or even coy), I'm just curious!

Emily Cox said...

So I think we totally have the same taste in clothing - the 50s woman is what I live to dress like - and I completely love these dresses!

Anonymous said...

A question: why is the dress to be worn when he's pissed you off and you still have to meet his co-workers hotter than the dress you would wear to meet his co-workers when he HASN'T pissed you off?


Johanna said...


At least for me, I want to be a lady in front of my man, not a suggestive-looking girl in a mini dress. If he's pissed me off, though, I want to show up looking like the woman all his male colleagues want to go home with, ignore his ass, and eventually his jealousy will bring out the apology that might never have otherwise come.

sick "logic," I know.


Anonymous said...

Ah ....


Larissa said...

Love it! Also, those last two pairs of shoes are droolworthy...

I too love the 50's housewife look...all Pleasantville like.

Anonymous said...

gahdammit woman, that La Perla and heels outfit is worth going straight for! you're giving me the sweats!

Scott said...

>If he's pissed me off, though, I want to show up looking like the woman all his male colleagues want to go home with, ignore his ass, and eventually his jealousy will bring out the apology that might never have otherwise come.

sick "logic," I know.<

Never test whomever you're with as they'll always fail. Besides, passive aggressive is never attractive regardless of what it's wearing.