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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Look book - embrace the dress

Argue all you want, ladies, but jeans and t-shirts are not the most comfortable things to wear in the summer. Because it's too damn hot. Wear denim for a few hours in a non-air-conditioned environment and you'll feel like pork in plastic. Baggy shorts are ugly, and don't even start me on wearing sneakers outside of the gym.

For the fiftieth time, why not wear a dress? Dresses take less time to put on than any other garment. They come in a variety of shapes and colors. They are available in cool breathable fabrics. You can wear longer bloomers to avoid thigh rash. And they go both with flat sandals and with heels. What's not to love?

As I mentioned in one of the previous look book posts, I have been living in dresses this summer. Hanes has some good inexpensive ones, so does Land's End, not to mention discount stores like TJMaxx, Ross and Marshall's.

This dress is from Land's End. It is very light, very comfortable and reasonably wrinkle-resistant. The hem is a bit long on me, because I am short, so this is more likely to be a "with heels" dress. However, on a regular height woman, the hem would fall at that perfect point - right at the knee. So, most ladies can wear this with ballet flats, sandals or heels.

A word on the color. It is teal or aquamarine - a shade of blue with a strong undercurrent of green in it. Many people - men and women - believe that blues and greens are reserved for redheads and blondes. Nonsense! The right shade of cool color can make a brunette look as fabulous as any red or pink.

Once I have discovered that blues are greens were mine for the taking, I actively started introducing them into my wardrobe, and now I have a good balance between hot and cool colors.

The neckline is a faux wraparound - the real wraparound being the kind where you actually wrap the dress around yourself and tie it at the side. The good news is that you don't have too adjust it as much as the real wraparound. The bad news is that it is fairly low cut and can look tarty if worn in the wrong environment (like to a business meeting). There are three ways to remediate this problem: 1) pin it a little higher with a pretty brooch (as I did here); 2) wear a bra with a lace panel that covers the cleavage (Soft Surroundings, Hanes, Vermont Country Store and Soma all have them); 3) wear a jacket over the dress for a business function. Most of them take place in an ice-cold conference room anyway.

Many women kill the deep and subtle colors of their garments by using black accessories with them. Once again, black does not flatter everyone and it does not go with everything. In fact, it hardly goes with anything. Browns and grays are much more sophisticated than black and don't wash out other colors.

In this case, I opted for soft brown shoes and bag. Incidentally, your shoes and bag do not have to match. You can have shoes in one color and a bag in something bright and "popping" - that is totally fine.

I love these shoes and wear them year-round. They look great with a lot of things, including dresses and skirts of various lengths, as well as jeans and dress trousers. The little folds on the sides add some interest and the heel is quite sturdy and very easy to wear.

The bag was a gift from my husband (he knows me well), and he got it from Ross. Once again, don't chase the latest designer whatever that costs as much as your mortgage payment. Go to a discount store or an antique store - you are bound to find some great bags in a variety of styles, shapes, sizes and colors that are as practical, beautiful and unique as you are.

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