K/R: Cocktail dresses

I don't know how I ended up with this many cocktail dresses. I didn't have any fancy dresses before YLF, and DH has been bugging me for years to get a nice dress. The first four still have the tags on and I'm wondering which ones to keep and which to return. I do have the occasional holiday party or fundraiser for work to attend (maybe a 2-3 times a year) but otherwise I don't usually dress up. I think DH would be OK with me keeping all of them, but I am just wondering if I really need ALL of these. Or maybe I should go out on more dates with DH!

Which ones look best on me, and any that I should return? Thanks for your advice!

1-5. Sue Wong Ribbon Trim Illusion dress size 6 in wine and black
I found this on sale at the Rack online. I think this one is my favorite because it's interesting and unique. Unfortunately it is a bit tight at the empire waist (I think my ribcage is a bit too big) so it was really difficult to zip up--I had to really suck it in to get the zipper closed. I wanted to try a size up but the 8 is not available. Once it's zipped it feels OK, but getting it zipped is challenging. It's bringing back bad flashbacks of me always having to zip my mom up into her dresses while she sucked it in. But I really like how it looks once on, especially the interesting illusion back. It's a wine colored satin with a black lace overlay. Does it look sophisticated on me, or is it too "mature" looking?

6-7. Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique asymmetric satin strech sheath dress size 6 in red
I bought this dress for my holiday party this year but it ended up being a costume party so I didn't have a chance to wear it. I like the color and fit but not so sure about the asymmetric neckline. I like that it's a "showstopper" dress though! :) I bought it full price but found out it went on sale at the Rack so I grabbed another one and returned the full price one since it hadn't been worn. It's only $59 now!

8-10. Bailey 44 black lace sheath dress size M. This is the sleeveless lace version of the tiered striped dress. I bought it full price at Anthro. It's a little body con and shows off my apple tummy a bit much, but otherwise it's a great LBD.

11-14. J Crew Yvette dress in metallic jacquard in midnight blue size 6
I bought this during the holiday sales. I feel like the bottom is too wide for my hips, so I might have to alter it. The size 4 is now available, but now it's more expensive and final sale, so I'm hesitant to try the 4 in case it's too tight. I'm thinking of returning this but only have a few days left to return so I have to do it soon. It's about the same price as the Sue Wong so I'm thinking of returning it and keeping the Sue Wong instead.

Just for comparison, these are the rest of my "fancy" dresses:
15. Kate Spade black and white polka dot Jillian dress--bought on sale, already worn twice. I really like this one and thought I would wear this one more than I have, but I just haven't had much occasion to dress up.
16. Kate Spade Fiona black wrap dress--also bought on sale, haven't worn it yet. It was one of my first few purchases after joining. I don't know if I would buy it again today, since it doesn't seem to be my style as much as the others, but it's too late to return. (I returned the necklace in the pic).

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Jilly replied 12 years ago

    Gp, the sue wong dress is, hands down, my favorite the fit is SO flattering, and the lace overlay makes it really interesting. The red dress with asymmetrical neckline is a gorgeous color, but seems really wrinkly - just the lighting, the JCrew dress looks too big, although the fabric is pretty. Love your kaye spade dresses too, but #1 is still my fave!

  • anchie replied 12 years ago

    I really like the first one. It does not look too tight. Second one is also nice, but I am not fan of the neckline. You look great in the third, (black lace), but I think you should return the fourth dress. It is too big on you and is doing nothing for your figure. I also don't like cap sleeves on that one.

  • replied 12 years ago

    Ugh. I'm having trouble viewing the pics. Maybe because everyone else is looking at them (IDK if that has anything to do with it). I'll come back later Natalie! :)

  • goldenpig replied 12 years ago

    Oh sorry Claire! I was editing the pics just now to add one more pic of the Sue Wong. Try again--thanks!

  • Blue Skies replied 12 years ago

    Wow! The Suzi Chin dress my absolute favorite on you, but I think you should pick the one the feels most like you (sounds like the Sue Wong?). When in doubt, I pick what I am most comfortable and confident in.

  • bj1111 replied 12 years ago

    adore you in the red suzy chin. that neckline is gorgeous. equally love the sue wone red and black lace. the blue brocade looks workaday rather than cocktail ready--this gets my return vote. meh on the black midi lace bailey dress...not vibrant enough and hugs the tum a bit too much. the polka dot is fun, i can see it at work with a jacket or sweater. the ruffly is not you anymore--consign?

  • Isis replied 12 years ago

    Natalie, I LOVE the first dress! It does not look too tight, so if it is comfortable, keep!!!! It's a 10 in my book.

    My second favorite is the red dress. It is a little less than a 10, only because I love the first dress! Do you like it? I'd keep those 2 and return the rest if you only go to 2-3 dressy things a year.

    (I also really love your KS polka dot dress, but it doesn't look cocktailesque to me. Can you wear it to work? It looks great and needs to be worn more often).

  • Kirti replied 12 years ago

    I love the first dress and the bailey 44 lace dress :)

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    The first one is the best followed by the dots. I would return the rest. When you need another dress a few years from now styles may have moved on. I liked the red dress the first time you posted it but I like the first one here more. I don't like the bailey44, it shows too many bumps and you just dont want to have to worry about getting mega spanxed out when you get dressed up.

  • Sunita replied 12 years ago

    The Sue Wong dress is my favorite by a mile! You look *amazing* in it!

  • Kate replied 12 years ago

    I think the first 3 are all beautiful, GP, and look lovely on you. My favorite is the Bailey 44, but that's because it appeals most to me, and I love a beautiful black dress. Red is a great color on you, so #2 gets good marks, but I think for you, dress #1 is my favorite. I don't know how many you actually need, but one of these (or more, depending on need) should fit the bill.

  • Angie replied 12 years ago

    My fave is the rust Suzi Chin. #6 and #7 - by about a billion percent.

    I like the polka dots next best.

  • Diana replied 12 years ago

    I like the Sue Wong and the Suzi Chin the best. Both fit you very well and are very flattering, interesting shapes. I think I'd return the bailey 44 and the J Crew... both the fit and the shape of those two are not nearly so fab as the others.

    Incidentally, I almost bought the green version of the Suzi Chin dress a while ago, but refrained from doing so because I really didn't have any occasion to wear it (it does read as quite formal to me because of the fabric). I do think it's one of those shapes/cuts that is flattering on many body types though!

  • Jewell replied 12 years ago

    That first dress is great, but I hesitate to give it my vote if it's challenging to get into. It could start to feel uncomfortable once you've been it for a while or say after dinner and a few drinks. I love the red one on you! It is definitely a show stopper, and I think the neckline makes it interesting.

  • Isabel replied 12 years ago

    I also love the first dress to the max !

  • Jem replied 12 years ago

    My favorite is the first two. You look amazing!

  • replied 12 years ago

    Well if comfort weren't an issure, I like the first one a lot. I like that it's not a plain black dress and has the wine color peeking through. It also looks smashing on your figure.

    The second dress, the red taffeta is also gorgeous on you and I might vote to keep because the price is great IF you don't think you'll be sad that you don't need to buy any new cocktail dresses next holiday season. It seems like your style isn't set in stone yet.

    I vote to return the third black lace dress (Bailly 44?). It doesn't do your figure justice and your other options are so much more visually interesting.

    I like the midnight blue JCrew dress if you love it enough to alter it. Can you actually try the size 4 on in a B&M store or do you have to buy it online, final sale?

    If you think you'll really miss buying something new next year I think you should return them all so you can have a fresh start. I don't want you wearing any of these with a sad face! The first two really are amazing, though!

    re: your Kate Spade polka dot dress, because of the fabric/pattern it doesn't look that fancy to me. Any chance you could get a little more wear out of that during the daytime this summer? Brunch/lunch/church/recitals/pre-school graduations, etc? It's such a beautiful dress! :)

  • annagybe replied 12 years ago

    #6-#7 by a mile!

  • Scarlet replied 12 years ago

    I like the first 2 a lot. Would it be possible to size up on the first one and get the shoulder straps tailored?

  • Mochi replied 12 years ago

    I also absolutely prefer 6-7. The other dresses are pretty (and the first is gorgeous), but that Suzy Chin dress is the most uber-flattering for YOU.

  • JennyAnne replied 12 years ago

    #1 is soooooo gorgeous! #3 is my second fave. Maybe I"m just not crazy about the shiny in #2. I agree you probably don't need them all, tempting though it is to keep them. Put that money toward things you'll wear more often.

  • Sharon replied 12 years ago

    The first two look terrific on you. Definitely keep, if you can justify two. The first reads a little more "bombshell" to me, because it is fitted and has a low neckline- good for date nights, while the second is very flattering, but more demure - probably better for work functions.

    I vote return the next two- they just don't look as amazing on you as the first two.
    The polka dot dress is lovely, but looks more like a day time dress to me - the style looks a bit sweet for evening.
    The last dress is pretty, but does hide your curves.

  • Jewell replied 12 years ago

    I wanted to add how delighted I am for you that this set of purchases is being YLF tested AND was DH approved! lol

  • replied 12 years ago

    I like the Sue Wong and Suzi Chin ones the most . I'm neutral about the bailey 44 , but absolutely not like the Jcrew one. Either the fit is off, or the cut isn't just as stellar as the other ones.
    But anyway , as long as you smile, you'll look radiant in all of them!

  • Jyoti replied 12 years ago

    The Suzi Chin is absolutely my favorite! Looks super flattering on you!

  • Jjsloane replied 12 years ago

    I'm with the pack here and 6/7 are my favorites too. I also like 1st dress, but am cautious about the explanation of getting into it. I had a dress like that I took to a wedding (out of state) and when I put it on the zipper broke. We missed the ceremony as I had to go out and find a mall and buy a new dress.

  • replied 12 years ago

    I love, LOVE the red dress on you ( #7) along with the KS dress.

  • Joy replied 12 years ago

    #6/7 gets my vote for #1. The color and style are amazing on you. I like the Kate Spade dots very much. #11-13 looks too big or something. It's not as flattering and you have better choices. I'm not convinced that #8-10 is a keeper either, but it's ok.
    I'd also be concerned about the zipper in #1-5. If you don't need it right now I vote return and leave room for something better.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 12 years ago

    You look absolutely amazing in the Suzi Chin for Maggy red dress - it is so incredibly chic and elegant and fits you beautifully!

  • goldenpig replied 12 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the input! I think my faves are the first two and the Kate Spade polka dot dress. Unfortunately the size 8 on the Sue Wong is not available, but I will keep stalking it. I'm not sure I'd have enough up top to fill out the 8 anyways. The size 6 is actually fine/comfy once I actually have it zipped, it's just that I have to suck in and hold the zipper together to get it closed. But once it's zipped it doesn't feel tight.

    I'm glad you all liked the Suzi Chin red dress and the price is definitely right. I just will have to figure out what kind of shoes to wear with it.

    I am unsure about the tummy issues with the Bailey 44 (will have to try it with Spanx) but I showed the pics of all the dresses to DH and he actually liked the B44 the best of all, so I think I'll keep that one since it's his favorite. I think he prefers more classic/subtle dresses rather than the more dramatic first two. I will have to wear it out on a date with him! I'm going to try to return the J Crew one, and may either consign or eBay the Kate Spade ruffle wrap dress since it's turning out not to be my style as much.

    Good point about wearing the dotty dress more often (and good suggestions Claire for places to wear it). I guess I have not been used to dressing up much in the past. I've tended to be underdressed (as a reaction to my mom always being overdressed). But I should probably start creating more occasions to wear these dresses, or else feel more comfortable about being dressier.

    Oh, and one more dress I forgot about--the purple Adrianna Papell. It's not super dressy but definitely could work for cocktail parties in a pinch!

  • AJ replied 12 years ago

    I LUV, LUV, LUV the Suzi Chin dress on you! The asymetrical neckline adds a touch of modest sexy and the ruching hides the apple. Plus the color is beautiful on you!

    I hope it's OK with you, but I think the dress is so FAB, that I had to compile a dress showdown! : P

    1) Chin vs J Crew: No contest on glamour or fit.

    2) Chin vs Bailey: No contest on color and Bailey doesn't compare in the oomph factor.

    3) Chin vs K Spade: They both have the touch of sexy and both flatter your figure. Win-win!!

    4) Chin vs Wong: Hmmm...I don't think you're IT shaped, but I have a slight preference for the dresses that cover more of your shoulders.

  • goldenpig replied 12 years ago

    AJ you are awesome! Thanks for putting the dresses side by side! Definitely very helpful! I am really not liking the look or fit on the J Crew. I agree with you, sometimes I wonder if I'm a bit IT because I always feel a little weird with exposed shoulders (I try to stay away from spaghetti straps and strapless dresses). And hmm I think you're the first person who said they liked the Kate Spade ruffle dress!

  • AJ replied 12 years ago

    You're welcome! Glad I could help. : )

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