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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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)
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.
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.
You didn’t think I’d forget my denim jacket, did you?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
For 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.
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!