Sticker Shock

During Loehmann's recent clearance sales, I found some really great deals. One of them was something arguably less practical, but it's what I've always wanted to have on hand.

Once in a long while, my friends and I would attend performances at the theater. I haven't been to the opera yet, but it is something I have in mind for the near future. Although I have various shorter-length dresses, I've always wanted a floor-length gown on hand, either for the performances or for formal events. Since it is not something I would get to wear often, I don't want to spend a lot of money on it, but I also do not want the fabric to be visibly mundane. These two criteria are clearly at odds with each other.

I usually do not take much time with the dress racks, but on one particular occasion, I did. In the process, I found a Narciso Rodriguez evening gown that was marked a size 40--obviously bigger than what I would usually wear, but because it was gorgeous and by a designer whose work I have long admired, I had to pull it out and take a look. Interestingly, the size appeared rather small for a Size 40, so I decided to try it out on a whim. It fits! The straps were clearly too long, but they were sewn in such a way that I knew could easily be removed and shortened.

When I contemplated whether or not to buy the dress, I had a case of sticker shock. The shock did not come from the original retail price--I expected it to be high, just like the numbers printed on the original tag:

Rather, the real shock was the price I ended up paying for it--it was something like 6-7% of the retail price. Of course, when the discount is this drastic, I expected something to be wrong with it. Indeed, there was a very small snag at the bust, and a small stain on the skirt, but neither flaw was obviously perceptible. What I truly love about the dress, other than the perfect fit, is the color and simplicity. While the dress appears to be a very simple spaghetti-strap dress, there is more than meets the eye. The pairing of lilac and pink is perfectly complementary, but it creates a very subtle contrast. The exposed zipper in the back, framed by a loose opening created by a layer of chiffon, adds a bit of edge to the pretty. Because the dress is not black, I know I can get a lot more mileage out of it aside from black tie events. I knew that if I paired it with the right accessories, it just might work for a non-formal night out.

After shortening the straps, which was a fairly easy task, the dress was ready to be worn for an Oscar-watching party. I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to dress down the dress and poke a little fun at the red carpet hoopla. The polka-dot shawl doubled as a formal wrap and a fun, casual scarf. A leather jacket and wedges furthers the casualization process. While the "maxi dress" is clearly still more formal than typical SoCal fashion, I think this ensemble dresses it down sufficiently for a night out without looking too obviously out-of-place.

[Narciso Rodriguez dress, bubble necklace made by me, ABS cut glass ring, Michael Kors leather hoodie, Liz Claiborne bag, Aerosole wedges.]


enna. said...

Awesome find! I think I'm kinda jealous.

I never would have thought of dressing down a gown-- love it with the polka-dot scarf.

Fabulously Broke said...

SUCH a great deal!

I love dressing down high end stuff, and dressing up low end stuff :)

Like mixing H&M with loubous LOL

ambika said...

Wow, what a find. & you look absolutely gorgeous in it. I think the color definitely makes it a candidate for summery maxi dress material though that back detail does give it a formal edge.

Frugalchick said...

What a gorgeous dress and an amazing deal!

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks, everyone! My next challenge is casualizing it for the summer. I think that long necklaces or lots of bangles would help do the trick, but I might also need a short vest or something...when the dress is worn alone, it's too formal.

maitreyi1978 said...

That dress is so gorgeous! Love the crazy way you accessorized it.

Eli said...

you could have gone to the oscars!