Friday, December 3, 2010

Never Say Never


Well, Wendy B always says that, "Never is the next new thing" and I'm pretty certain I've said before that I would "never" wear a maxi dress, and that they look universally terrible. And yet here I am, wearing one, and liking it a great deal. A few things finally came together and prompted me to give this look a try: I'd seen Queen Michelle from Kingdom of Style and Emma at My Daily Clothes Fix look amazing in similar long striped dresses, I'd seen Sal wear long skirts to great effect last winter, and in fact when Mark and I were out in Minneapolis over the summer, Sal pointed out how big a difference there is between an unflattering mid-calf length and a true full length skirt, which further eased my doubts about wearing one.

So it was that when I saw this dress on the Forever 21 site for TEN BUCKS, the seeds of the idea had been planted and I knew I could reasonably give this sartorial experiment a whirl. For ten bucks, even if it did look terrible I could always hem it up to knee or even tunic length and it would still be worth it. The odd thing about this dress is that one of the straps is twisted; at first I looked at it and thought, "Ah, I see why it was $10 -- they sewed the straps wrong!" But when I went back and looked again at the listing, I saw that it was done that way intentionally.

To me the twist in the strap doesn't look very intentional though; it looks like a misguided afterthought. So what I ended up doing was taking a piece of black jersey and making a small, scrunched up tube of fabric that goes around the twisted part, which accentuates the difference and makes it look more finished. For this outfit I mostly wore it with the denim jacket, but next time I'll try it with the modified strap showing and you can tell me which you like better. Of course I also have 2 other options: either twist the other strap, or take the twisted one apart and sew it normally to match the other.

I thought it would feel odd and frumpy to wear a big long tube, but to be honest it didn't feel that way at all; in fact it felt sleek and elegant. I've seen lots of maxi dresses styled as summer wear, but I'm looking forward to layering this one up for some more cozy winter ensembles.

Hat: ADS Hats
Jacket: Tulle, thrifted
Dress: Forever 21
Belt: Audra Jean
Socks: Sock Dreams
Boots: Bata

27 comments:

Maven said...

I dig the way you styled this. And for someone maxi dress-averse, this dress seems like the perfect inroad (despite weird strap) because the Breton stripes make it classic. I say this as someone who's been pledging allegiance to the maxi ever since I started buying 70s dresses years ago.

BiblioMOMia said...

I'm a maxi lover, and I love how you styled this. I think it's funny how we have clothing prejudices against things that aren't necessarily logical--I mean, I know I can't wear anything strapless because it looks horrible on me, but I would never wear ruffles, and that's just because I "think" they'd look horrible. Kudos on stepping out of your comfort zone--this outfit looks 100% like you!

ReaderRita said...

The sum total is quite chic. Very nicely done. I like the breaking of the stripes via the belt, with it's own horizontal elements.
Are the sleeves part of the dress, or is it a t-shirt?
I like it, either way.

Megan Mae said...

I really love this. The belt helps create a 1/3-2/3 proportion and the slit up the side keeps it from being a column of fabric. I'm going to vote for twisting the other shoulder if there's enough fabric to do so. I like how the twisted shoulder breaks the stripes up a bit.

I love maxi dresses, but at my height they all drag the floor.

Cara said...

I definitely saw this dress on sale in Forever 21, and decided that $10 wasn't worth trying to figure out what to do with the strap, but you make the options sound so simple and obvious that I'm regretting passing it up, now!!

angie said...

That's a great look on you,so fresh and simple! I don't own a long dress yet but now I'm convinced so I'll be on the look out!

Magatha-May said...

I LOVE this outfit on you!

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

That dress looks amazing and I am now thinking I need to pair mine with a denim jacket and obi belt. You look great and I am so wowed by the fact that you mentioned me on your blog. Thank you, it made my day.

Franca said...

This makes you look so TALL! Weird about the twisting though, I'd love to see a close up of what you've done!

Between Laundry Days said...

DANG! You look so incredible in this maxi dress. Glad you've joined the long tube party. It's sleek and wonderful, ain't it? :)

This reminds me that I need to style up my maxi dress for the winter months!

Anonymous said...

I personally love long skirts and maxi dresses. As you discovered they feel very elegant when worn. I think that many people think of that awkward calf length when thinking long skirt and that is very hard to wear especially if you are on the shorter side which I am. You look great love it.

Patricia

Emily Kennedy said...

Oooh, I love this. Maybe I love it particularly on you because it's a new direction for Audi-style. Neat!

Kim said...

The title of your post made me think of the song "Never say never" by Romeo Void (I think I'm dating myself here ;-)). The outfit is great but I love the belt. Which version is it? I can't find it in your store. I like how it sits lower on your waist.

Peacock's Hat said...

I love the 70s French vibe you've got in this outfit. I've got a maxi dress which I really want to wear; but at the minute it's far too cold in the UK to wear anything other than jeans and lots of cardigans!

melymn said...

I'm really liking this... in fact, I like it so much it's prompted me out of my habitual lurkerdom to ask something. I do feel kinda weird asking, so if it comes off so, sincere apologies and ignore my social awkwardness.

My build is fairly similar to yours, especially through the torso, and your styling tips about that have been really helpful. (I don't really have much of an eye for proportion and such. *g*) The only thing I can't gauge from the photos is your height. Since I'm hella tall, I think I look kinda silly in anything else other than the standard knee-ish length skirt - anything shorter and it's all daddy-longlegs effect, anything longer and it's like yards and yards of robe-like horror. So, if you don't mind sharing your height, it'd be much easier to convince myself to try something new, knowing it could look as good as it does on you. Anyway. Sorry for the rambling, and thanks for your awesome blog. :)

WendyB said...

Love the way this looks on you. Very chic and quite elegant even styled casually.

Did I tell you I actually trademarked my "Never is the next new thing" saying? Seriously! I know, I'm crazy.

sewforward said...

Love it! I have an *ick* attitude for Maxi dresses; however, now that I have seen what you have done - might try it myself.

Sheila said...

Wow, I totally love this! I have been having a major affair with long skirts lately, and they are not as scary as they were around 1999-2000 when they looked like big bricks of fabric on the bottom half.

I need a dress like this for my cuffed combat boots! This looks freaking amazing.

Sal said...

All right! Welcome to maxi world - that dress looks fabulous with the belt. I'm wearing a long jersey skirt today and just loving it.

Jilliebeanie said...

I am also not a fan of the maxi skirt/dress, but this out stopped me in my tracks (reader). You pull this off so incredibly well. Like, I want this outfit now.

Meri said...

Awesome site! I'm so glad I found it. I have an affinity for anything horizontally striped, especially if its in the white/blue/red kind of nautical scheme.
I'll be sure to tune in for what's next- keep it up!
Cheers-
Meri

Gracey said...

This looks wonderful on you! I love it. I always consider maxi dresses as for summer only (I've packed all of mine up for the winter), but you (and your fabulous inspirations) have inspired me to give it a shot for the winter. Thanks, Audi!

Healthy and Homemade said...

You're definitely rocking the maxi dress. You styled it in a way that it doesn't look frumpy at all. It hugs your body in the right places and shows off your waist!

Audi said...

ReaderRita: The sleeves belong to a t-shirt I have layered underneath.

Megan Mae: I'm leaning towards that option too; I wore it last week with the modified strap and it looked okay, but still felt a bit off. Plus the twisted side seems to fit my bust better.

Kim: This belt is currently not listed, but we'll get it back up on the site soon. We ran out of the dark brown leather so we need to modify the style a little so that we can use a different kind.

melymn: It's not an awkward question at all; I'm 5'8". So I'm on the tall side, and I even wore the dress last week with tall heels and thought it looked fine that way too. My opinion is that if you're tall, you just need something in the middle to break up the expanse of fabric -- a belt, or perhaps a scarf tied around the waist.

WendyB: Hahaha -- that is awesome!

orchidsinbuttonholes said...

Oh that belt! It's so cool. Seriously, even though I like this look, the belt adds such an edge to it that it makes it. I love how you wore something you haven't gravitated towards and made it very you - that's why I love your blog. You've got such style.

Chelsea said...

well thank goodness for your open mind, audi, and for inspiration from other bloggers! you styled up that maxi excellently :)

elmendez said...

Way better than the Maxi dresses we saw at beerfest a few years ago. Ack, that would make anyone swear them off.