Extending Summer Into Fall with a Twiggy Dress

Now that we’ve turned the clocks back, the sun sets around 4:30 in Seattle. From where I sit, the bottom of the sky is pink, the water and overhead sky are steel, and the hill rising up from the Alki Peninsula sparkles with lights of people living past dark.

Elliot Bay, Seattle, Alki Point, West Seattle at night.
Not the best photo in the world, and it was taken about an hour after I wrote the above, but I still think it’s pretty.

Here in Seattle, early darkness generally means chilly evenings. To my surprise, though, this season hasn’t been that cold, so I have yet to pack away all my summer clothes. In fact, I’m still wearing some of them. I just have to layer well.

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Take this sleeveless Alice + Olivia dress I bought at the beginning of the summer. Doesn’t it kind of remind you of something you might see on Twiggy or Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s?

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That’s not to suggest I am anything like Twiggy or Ms Bardot but to illustrate how the styles they made popular back then are still influential today.

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One of the things I like about this dress is the a-line cut. It is a classic style that can be dressed up or down and fits in a variety of situations. Another advantage to this style is that it leaves room in the middle for tummy issues I want to cover up but it doesn’t look like I’m covering tummy issues.

Unfortunately, this dress sold out over the summer, so I don’t have a direct link to share. I did, however, find several other options in similar styles at great prices that are available at Nordstrom Rack.

BE BOP ¾ Sleeve Mock Neck Dress. Price at time of publication: $27.
BE BOP ¾ Sleeve Mock Neck Dress. Price at time of publication: $27.

Vera Wang Lavender Sequined Lace Shift Dress. Price at publication: $135.
Vera Wang Lavender Sequined Lace Shift Dress. Price at publication: $135.

Alexia Admor Lace Mock Neck Waist Belt Dress. Price at time of publication: $100.
Alexia Admor Lace Mock Neck Waist Belt Dress. Price at time of publication: $100.

For those of us who are petite, never fear if you click those links and don’t see the word “petite” next to any sizes. The length should work well for most of us petite-ys, coming right to our knees or just below. If, however, you feel better sticking to the Petites Department, Nordstrom is in the midst of their Fall Clearance Sale and they just so happen to have a few fun styles worth checking out.

Lace Ponte Fit & Flare Dress by Eliza J. Price at time of publication: $95.
Lace Ponte Fit & Flare Dress by Eliza J. Price at time of publication: $95.

'Arlington' Polka Dot Jacquard A-Line Dress by CeCe. Price at time of publication: $77.
‘Arlington’ Polka Dot Jacquard A-Line Dress by CeCe. Price at time of publication: $77.

"Jada" Collared Shift Dress by CeCe. Price at time of publication: $100.
“Jada” Collared Shift Dress by CeCe. Price at time of publication: $100.

NORDSTROM - Shop the Fall Clearance Sale for Men, Women & Kids through November 13

Dressing Up the Dress

Originally, I bought this dress for a work-related cocktail party. The plan was to pair it with strappy sandals or black heels. The shoes I’m wearing in these photos are Calvin Klein “Gella.” They are still available for purchase here on Amazon and they even come in red! (Price at time of posting $80.)

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As it turned out, Hubby and I ditched the party in favor of a night on the town. I ended up wearing a different outfit entirely. But this dress isn’t a one-time, fancy-occasions-only kind of dress. Being white and lace and a classic a-line, this baby can be dressed up or down. That’s why I can continue wearing it through the fall.

Dressing Down the Dress (and making it more autumn-appropriate)

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To make it a little more season-appropriate, I add black tights and my new-to-me red boots. The tights are opaque and thicker than regular pantyhose, which automatically qualifies this dress as “dressed-down.” Dark tights with booties of any color almost always signal a more casual look.

The boots are Arche and tend to go for about $450 new. When I saw them on Thredup.com for $80, I snatched them up quick! Sure they had been worn by someone else, but whoever had them before either didn’t wear them a lot or they took extremely good care of them because they looked brand new!

For a quick closet pick-me-up, I can’t recommend red boots enough. There is just something about them that brightens my outlook. Plus, I kind of feel like Wonder Woman in them and that can’t be a bad thing.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of red booties, here’s a link to a search on Nordstrom for their selection. They have a variety of price points and heel heights.

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Layering the Dress

Sometimes I add a boxy bomber-style jacket with my dress to make it casual and to keep warm. I like the interplay of the jacket’s bulkier form against the straight a-line of the dress. The jacket is thicker than it looks. It’s a heavy sweatshirt weight. It can keep out almost any autumn chill!

Here’s the one I have, along with a couple of others I found online.

Alexander Wang bomber jacket at Nordstrom.
Alexander Wang jacket from Nordstrom.

Free Press jacket from Nordstrom Rack.
Free Press jacket from Nordstrom Rack.

Harlowe & Graham jacket from Nordstrom Rack.
Harlowe & Graham jacket from Nordstrom Rack.

You didn’t think I’d forget my denim jacket, did you?

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If you follow my blog, you know I have been putting a lot of miles on my denim jacket this season. So, it won’t come as any surprise to know that I tend to top this dress with denim above all else. Whereas the black bomber still adds a little bit of sophistication, the denim brings everything down another notch. The whole look becomes even more versatile.

I got the jacket at Nordstrom around the same time I bought the dress. Because it is such a seasonless piece, it is still available at Nordstrom here.

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What about the hat, you say?

Oh, hats. I love them so much. Most of the hats I own are from Goorin Bros. They have shops in major cities around the US, including Seattle. I got this one online. It’s available here on Amazon for about $40. Be sure and measure your head for a perfect fit!

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The purse was another super find on Thredup.com. It’s by Relic and had to have been brand new because there were no signs of life inside–things like ink marks that seem to punctuate the inside of so many of my purses!

Can you tell I love that online thrift store? And what’s not to love? I send them clothes, shoes, and accessories I no longer wear and they add moo-lah to my account. Then I can buy more fun things like this purse.

Sadly, though, it means this was the only one like it in their shop. So, I’m sharing links to similar purses that I think you’ll love.

Floral Relic purse available on Amazon for about $50.
Available on Amazon for about $50.

Relic butterfly purse on Amazon. This one for about $41.
Another fun Relic purse on Amazon. This one for about $41.

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Heading into the 70s

Want to make this dress even more casual? How about 1970s bohemian casual?

For grins and giggles I had to try this embroidered denim jacket with the dress. I’ll admit it is not my favorite look out of all of these I’m sharing with you. It’s a little too busy for my taste. Still, it was worth trying and I do like how the flowers on the jacket mimic the flowers in the lace.

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As you might have guessed, I got the jacket on Thredup. It was brand new with tags still attached!

You gotta see the back. The detail!

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Even if you don’t like the jacket with this dress but you do like the jacket itself, stay tuned. I’ve got plans for this little gem.

Etsy, by the way, has a ton of vintage or hand-embroidered denim jackets. To do a search for embroidered jackets on Etsy, click here.

Dress it Back Up Again

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The final look I’m sharing with this Twiggy-inspred dress is a dressed up look for fall. Because I tend to walk everywhere, I don’t wear heels often, but I could see wearing this to Thanksgiving dinner or to a holiday party.

For this look, I topped the outfit with a lightweight topper from Eileen Fisher. The jacket has tiny light-colored stripes woven through it and the material has a slight sheent, giving it a dressier feel.

It happens to be on sale at Nordstrom Rack as I write this. You can find it here. When I checked, there were few sizes left and absolutely no Petite sizes available, so I did a quick search at Nordstrom and found a similar Eileen Fisher coat on sale in Petites. Click here, if you’re interested.

For a pop of fall color, I paired the dress and jacket with berry-colored tights and shoes. The color-matching was one of those happy coincidences. I didn’t buy them at the same time or even originally think about them going together, but look how well they match! The color reminds me of blackberry cobbler.

Mmm…cobbler.

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I’ve had the Calvin Klein heels for several years. Although they’re no longer available, I did find several other options in a variety of price points. The Calvin Kleins shown below are more of a wine color, but they are very close to the shoe I’m wearing above. Those shoes also come in a ton of colors, so if you don’t like the wine color, you have other options!

Calvin Klein "Gayle" suede pump in red.
Calvin Klein “Gayle” Pump comes in a variety of colors and price points. Click the picture to follow the link.

Wine-colored suede pointy toe pump by Vince Camuto available at Nordstrom Rack.
Vivienne Pointy Toe Pump by Vince Camuto. Price at time of publication: $50.

Wine-colored pointy toe heel by 14th & Union available at Nordstrom Rack.
Pointy Toe Heel by 14th & Union. Price at time of publication: $40.

iconFor the tights, I almost always buy HUE Opaque Sheer to Waist Tights. They come in so many different colors and they tend to be fairly comfortable–not too constricting around the tummy. You can find them here on Amazon.

Final Words: A Dedication to Supportive Women

Back when I started writing this blog, you would never have caught me in a lace dress, let alone looking for ways of wearing it more often. Not only did I hardly ever wear dresses, but I had bad memories associated with itchy lace.

My newly adventurous spirit is nurtured (and often sweetly challenged) by women in our Over 40 Fashion Community. Without people like Jodie of JTouchofStyle.com and Suzanne of SuzanneCarillo.com, I would never have tried a lace “Twiggy” dress. And what a pity that would be to miss out on the comfort and ease of this dress! I still won’t wear lace that scratches my skin, but I am learning to find good quality products that feel good and look good too.

This blog is a testament to the benefits of finding and cherishing a supportive community. If you find yourself blue, worn down, feeling invisible, look around and see where your support is. If it seems lacking, I urge you to seek out a group of women who speak your language and see you for the spark of life that you are. We are out there. You are not alone.


SheSpark Magazine is a great place to start.

SheSpark Magazine, November 2016 Issue.


Affiliate link disclaimer: Please note, some of the items linked may be affiliated with companies I am associated with, like eBay, Talbots, and Nordstrom. By clicking the affiliated links and purchasing from those stores, I might receive a small commission. By purchasing from these stores, you support the work I do here and I greatly appreciate your support! 

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  • It’s quite amazing to me that here you are wearing a lace dress—and many different ways I might add!
    It really is going to be one of those versatile and fun pieces…especially with that sheer part towards the bottom hem! I almost love it better with the tights because of that detail! It’s like a little surprise!!
    I admit that I DON”T think the embroidery jacket is too much with the dress. But that’s only because I’ve been trying to be more adventuresome in my print mixing lately! I can see how it might seem like a lot is going on—but it’s all so fun and beautiful!
    And you are ever so right about the red boots—-what more could a girl want in her life??? And I remember when you first went into the footwear fun with your red shoes!!
    Thanks so much for including me as part of your inspiration, Sherry! You have made me feel so special in so many ways!
    XOXO,
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • When I was putting together these looks, Jodie, I thought about our conversations about lace and dresses and zippers down the back and I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you for being such a gem in my life, a beacon of light. You are a blessing. 💕

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • I adore this style of dress on you Sherry. You’ve showcased just how versatile it is.

    I have a black one very similar to this that is lined in bright pink!

    I quite like the look with the embroidered jean jacket, but without the additional handbag. I think it is the handbag that is overpowering, very cool on it’s own though.

    Needless to say I’m drooling over the jean jacket, boots and handbag. They all look very vintage, even if they aren’t you can tell that is where the inspiration came from. I’m sad we don’t have thread-up here. I’d be a Thread-up addict for sure.

    Thanks for the shout-out. (((( Sherry )))))

    I agree that our 40+ blogging community is a great cozy place : ) I’ve connected with so many wonderful women.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    • Suzanne, I just knew you would like this dress! It reminds me of dresses I’ve seen on you, so I am not surprised you have a similar one that is SUPER fabulous! Pink lining??? I love it! 💕Is it on your blog where I could see it?

      I still think it’s uncool that Thredup hasn’t crossed over into Canada yet. Surely it’s only a matter of time? (Or maybe you should start your own version?) 😉

      Hugs,
      Sherry

  • I love the way you offer so many different ways to change the look of this dress. Since I live in a tiny condo with a tiny closet I need versatile pieces and you gave me some great examples here. I think my faves are with the jean jacket and the bomber jacket since I’m a casual city girl. And I love your vintage perspective, such a fresh way to look at our wardrobes.

  • Sherry, you are definitely styling the Twiggy vibe. That lace dress is very cute and versatile. You showed just how versatile with all the ways you styled it. I love it with the red books and dark wash denim jacket. But it looks marvelous in all your other combinations.I love the embroidery on that jean jacket too. Very cool. Jodie is such a gem and I always value any other blogger’s comments, including your own, on my posts. It helps to have that support. Thanks for posting, Sherry. I always look forward to your interpretations of past styles and how you make them your own. 🙂 – Amy
    http://stylingrannymama.com/

  • Jodie is an angel and she has challenged me, sartorially, more times than I care to remember 🙂

    I think you really put an immensely fresh and contemporary spin on something that would’ve otherwise veered towards the retro (which isn’t at all a bad thing in my books), Sherry, and I love the final outcome. Viva la lace xoxo

    On the blog today, I’m tackling something literally “borrowed from the boys”, i.e., an item of clothing I took from my husband’s wardrobe. Come on over and see how I (and four other women of all ages) styled pieces we, ahem, borrowed from the men in our lives.

    https://sheelagoh.com/2016/11/14/boy-oh-boy/

    • Thank you! It’s one of those dresses I had a hard time putting away when the winter winds kicked in. I may still have to find a way to wear it–maybe with thick tights! Thanks for stopping by!

      – Sherry