I treated myself to one thing off my bonus, tax refund - a new dress from Body Central. And while the dress would be more appropriate for summer, I just couldn't wait that long, and decided to try wearing it today with accessories I mostly use in winter. Before you start making fun of how women just can't wait to wear new duds - men can be just as bad. My husband is just as bad - new clothes burn a hole in his closet too.
Body Central has been a bit of a crap shoot for me. It is a largely youth-oriented clothing company, so most of their stuff is too short and too tight for me. However, I do peruse their catalog from time to time and periodically manage to find stuff I can actually wear. The casual top selection is really nice with many flattering options, as is the jewelry section - much of it pretty and inexpensive.
This dress was a bit of a risk because of the length - I don't have the best of legs from the knee up - but I figured I could get away with it with the right hosiery and shoes. Here, I am wearing it with my favorite black fishnets and high-heeled Oxfords. Despite the shorter length, the old-fashioned shoes and tights give the dress a little bit of the 1950's "new look" - especially combined with the "small waist / wide skirt" cut.
The simple cut and fairly plain color of the dress calls for some decoration, but I had to give it some thought. The collar goes fairly high on the sides - almost all the way up to my jaw line. And while undoing the buttons in the front allows me to create a V and an illusion of a longer neck, the long dangly earrings were out. So, I opted instead for tiny black pearl earrings to go with the little round black buttons, but chose a necklace that was interesting but not overwhelming.
The necklace is from Coldwater Creek and was a Christmas gift from my husband a few years ago. Its combination black cord / silver chain design allows it to be worn both with dressy and with casual outfits, and I absolutely love the medallion - it's just so pretty!
Because it is so versatile, I always take this necklace with me when I travel. It's been everywhere with me - from San Antonio, to Chicago, to Dallas, to Paris and back. It reminds me of an important point: when putting together your travel wardrobe and trying to cut down on how much you take with you, consider pieces that wrinkle less, pack small and can be mixed and matched with each other.
Also, look for interesting inexpensive pieces of jewelry - especially necklaces and bracelets - incorporating multiple colors to go with multiple outfits. Coldwater Creek is definitely one of my favorite sources for such things - their designers have proven again and again to have excellent taste and ability to combine colors and textures. Another great place is Etsy, where many struggling artists (including yours truly) sell their unique and lovely pieces for less, including a lot of wonderful jewelry.