16 January 2008

A rainbow of (affordable) pretty, pretty dresses

I just love a pretty party dress.

I love searching for them online, I love weaving through them on store racks, I love walking by them in glass-encased displays, I love watching them sashay on skinny little things down runways, I love admiring them on other women, I love trying them on, I love buying them, and I love wearing them out on a weeknight to a fancy steak dinner at the Palm followed by an opening-night showing of an action movie at the Chinatown cineplex.

A day without a cocktail dress occasion doesn't go by without notice; if I could, I'd wear one every day of the week, even to a Capitals/Oilers game at the Verizon Center.

And who knows, maybe I will...

For the rest of you dress-hungry ladies, I've rounded up a few more pretty lil' frocks to brighten up this very cold and very dreary DC day.

Enjoy.

Satin tulip dress by Betsey Johnson
($179 at bluefly.com)
‘Claudette’ blouse by Elie Tahari**
($129 at bergdorfgoodman.com)
Draped belt dress by Leyendecker
($79.20 at shopbop.com)
‘Maggie’ dress by SharDann
($225 at starsandinfinitedarkness.com)
Silk taffeta dress by Castle Starr*
($275 at basicboutique.com)
‘Virgine’ high-neck dress by Samantha Treacy*
($231 at shopbop.com)
Cotton ‘Cady’ dress by J.Crew
($250 at jcrew.com)
Round-bow dress by Karen Zambos Vintage Couture
($197 at revolveclothing.com)
Ruffle wrap dress by Eliza J*
($158 at nordstrom.com)
Runway shift dress by Tracy Reese
($183.20 at eluxury.com)
Bead chiffon dress by Phoebe Couture
($147 at nordstrom.com)
Tucked dress by Crispin & Basilio
($218 at revolveclothing.com)
Plaid ‘Dolly’ dress by L.A.M.B.
($230.90 at saks.com)
*your Editrix's favorites
**I desperately tried to find a $250-or-less orange dress worthy of inclusion but after coming across this after this after this, I gave up and instead shared with you this fabulous, orange-ish Tahari blouse that I, myself, may have a "place order" party with later on tonight...
***credit to Etcetera for showing me the Eliza J dress (apologies for not doing so sooner)

42 comments:

Brooke said...

Last time I checked I didn't see the colors black, grey, and white in a rainbow. I like the colorful ones though.

Johanna said...

My blog, my operational definition of "rainbow" ;-)

Brooke said...

I just really like rainbows, okay?

Anonymous said...

Only a few of these qualify as "affordable" in my book. I like the LAMB one a lot.

Johanna said...

oh, and one more thing -- yes, I do realize the blue dress by Castle Starr isn't under-$250 as promised, but Basic Boutique is one of those online stores that ALWAYS has a 10-20%-off promotional code floating around.

best,
J

thrifty shopper said...

I agree with anon, I find it offensive that Johanna calls a $250 dress "affordable." For whom???

dc girl said...

I think J meant that a $250 is affordable compared to the other ones she posted on Monday that were all in the thousands of dollars. Either way, I adore the red and the black.

and your response to Brooke :)

Jo said...

Love love LOVE the Jcrew one and the Ruffle-wrap! Thanks!

kara said...

I bought the Betsey dress last year when you featured it for Valentine's Day! I always get so many compliments on it, and it's definitely become my favorite dress in my closet.

N said...

LOVE the Tracey Reese. Sadly, it does not fit my operational definition of affordable.

smart shopper said...

everytime I visit your blog, you make me want to start my own where I offer advice to your readers on how to BETTER invest their money. $250 on a dress? Puhhleease.

Anonymous said...

This Banana Republic Orange dress was available earlier this year...I think you may be able to find it on ebay or in sale in the stores if you are really lucky:

http://www.bananarepublic.com/Asset_Archive/BRWeb/Assets/Product/508/508708/big/br508708-01vliv01.jpg

Anonymous said...

The last link did not post properly, here is another picture:

http://www.stylehive.com/myriah/post/5386

59th & Lex said...

It is a hard crowd to please around here. I'm as thrifty as the next person, but as someone who is incredibly gifted at saving her money, even I find $250 for a dress acceptable and normal. But thankfully that comes from my mom, who says "You're better having one dress in your closet at $250 that you will love and wear for years rather than 5 dresses for $50 each that you bought at Forever 21 and are falling apart."

You guys should be able to save $50 a month for a few months and buy one of these dresses. If you can't, well, then find a new hobby, cause fashion ain't it. Maybe collect stamps...or pez dispensers...

Anonymous said...

Revolve has this orange one shouldered one (paste the link all one one line). I can see some people loving it and some people hating it, though:

http://www.revolveclothing.com/
DisplayProduct.jsp?
product=VOOM-WD30&c=Dresses+-+Fine&s=C

Christine said...

I adore the Samantha Treacy from shopbop. I put it on my wishlist when it went on sale and it reminded me of all your favorite necklines.

N said...

I already splurged on a DVF wrap during the end of season sales, which is why I can't indulge my love for the Tracy Reese. THE DVF looks and feels amazing and I know I will wear it for years to come. Which is to say, I totally agree that it's worth investing the money in a great dress, but I already made my investment for the season. A girl has to have money for rent and nights out at K street lounges.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, which one do I pick?! I guess I asked for it! I must have the Eliza J - I must! Thanks so much Johanna!!

Anonymous said...

I think cocktail dresses are actually one item that you can get inexpensively at consignment or even on Ebay (if you know what to look for), often even in the same season. Keep in mind there are women who buy a great dress, wear it once to New Year's or a wedding, then it's on the consignment rack less than a month later. You'll get a great deal on brands that are normally in the 200-500 range, and there will be a lot of stuff that originally sold in this range.

Also keep an eye out at vintage stores (particularly ones outside of NYC/LA where the markup is big--you're not going to get a good bargain at Decades, but you may in a wealthy suburb) if you want a good deal. I have a few vintage pieces (vintage Bergdorf, etc.) I got for under 50 bucks each. I have a friend who scored a gorgeous Vintage Dior for under 50 at one of these places.

brown rowergirl said...

The pretty little L.A.M.B., she is no longer available online :(

why are you people here if you don't put primacy on having nice clothing?

Teek said...

Man, that Eliza J is gorgeous. I actually like it better than yesterday's ruffled Lavnin because you can sit down in it. I may need a new LBD.

Anonymous said...

nice doesn't have to be synonymous with spendy. i realize that "expensive" is subjective, but i get paid pretty well, have a nice amount of play money and still would not buy a $250 dress just because i wanted it.

16th streeter said...

It's all a value judgment, people. To those who love clothing as much or more than good food, good wine, music events, etc., dropping extra cash isn't as big of a deal. I'm not usually a let's just get along kind of person, but I don't like the idea of pushing your own values on others. J and most of her readers think $250 is a reasonable amount to spend on a dress. Let it be.

etcetera said...

aw, come on! a little credit for showing you the Eliza J. dress!?!? ;)

cali finale said...

didn't you post the blouse version of the Karen Zambos dress a while back? I didn't really like it back then but I'm having second thoughts now. So cute with black tights and super tall patent MJs!

jaypea said...

While I have absolutely no problem with spending $250 on a nice dress, I do object to the classification that all dresses $100 and under are somehow 'Target.com.' What a pretentious comment to make!

Anonymous said...

Smart Shopper:

Starting your own blog featuring pretty clothes at a lower price point is a fabulous idea. In fact, once you do start it, please come back here and put the URL in the comments.

But until you do that, you can stop putting down Johanna's blog. Don't just talk the talk...

Johanna said...

I ended almost every post last year with the qualifier, "Don't forget to check for vintage options and head over to Zara, H&M and Club Monaco before you make your final decision." If you want me to start up with it again, I can.

And I really do apologize for the Leyendecker dress. I know it's not up to ASJiNE standards, but I couldn't find anything better, and I couldn't bitch out two colors in a row.

taking three Advils now...

best,
J

Oh...dear me said...

I love the JCrew one and Ruffle wrap by Eliza at Nordstrom!Thinking of getting it for VDay Date!
Thanks J.

N said...

Actually Club Monaco dresses aren't in a much lower price range than these dresses, so if you're going to get something from Club Monaco, I say spend the extra $50 and get one of these beauties.

stuck in l.a. said...

I called the number listed and was able to track down the LAMB dress in my size in New Jersey! Woo hoo!

Teek said...

Anyone who wants yellow and won't settle for gold should stop by J. Crew - the pink one above and several others are available in yellow or mustard.

What do people think of the
Campo de' fiori sweater dress? Part of me thinks it's charmingly vintage and part of me thinks it is not charming because it is not true vintage.

http://www.jcrew.com/catalog/
product.jhtml?id=prod89422231&
catId=cat280169

Anonymous said...

that sweater dress is a ghastly mess, in my opinion. very cartoony hippie. if it were in a different color (solid) or had a different print, maybe.

Anonymous said...

was that a joke, Teek?

lila m. said...

I just got the Tahari blouse from Bergdorf's. Wow I've never said that before - "I just got _______ from Bergdorf's." How exciting!

glad you could be a part of this seminal moment, J :)

gillian said...

the Eliza J dress is sold out until mid February! What a letdown.

Kate said...

The Dior store in Friendship Heights has a magnificent ruffled cocktail dress in the window that is to die for. I've tried to find a picture of it online, but haven't succeeded. If anyone else has seen it and can help, please do! I really want to find some information about it.

Johanna said...

kate-

What color is it? How long? Ruffled neckline or ruffles down the front?

Now I'm intrigued!

best,
Johanna

p.s. no, I don't pretend I can afford Dior, but looking at it is still pretty darn enjoyable

wanting to know said...

totally off topic, but are you running the DC marathon in March? has anyone run it? is it a good course for someone running her first marathon?

Anonymous said...

I love these dresses! but I need some help. I'm petite- 5'3, 113, pretty small all over. I need a cute dress to wear to a wedding- and having never been, I have no idea what's appropriate and what's not (white? black? pink? ahhh). what are the rules regarding cleavage? do I absolutely HAVE to match their color theme?

this is coming from one of your truly clueless fans addressed in earlier posts ;)
if you could help me out, that'd be great.

Kate said...

Jo,
If memory serves, it's a lovely purple. It's a sleeveless scoop-neck with ruffles all along the neckline, over the shoulders, and presumably along the back, too. I imagine the back is scooped, as well. It's belted in the window, but I don't know if it comes that way. It's so simple and yet so unusual. I'm smitten with it.

Brooke said...

Wanting to know-
I haven't run it before but I am running it this year. Two friends ran tha half last year and had a good experience, even in the rain. You can read a bunch of reviews here:

http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=2453080329