Wildcard styling attempts

I just discovered my wildcard for summer. It's a dress I finished a couple of weeks ago. I bought the fabric and pattern more than a year ago, but didn't make it up till now because I had reservations about the fabric. Still, I wanted to try the dress pattern, and so I forged ahead with this fabric figuring it would be a good test of the pattern anyway.
The dress has buttons up the front, cap sleeves, a collar with a drawstring that pulls on the inside if the collar is worn up, side pockets, princess seams that flare out to a billowy skirt that is reined back in slightly by a bottom panel, sort of lantern-style. The dress had a big pleat down the back, which I had to remove after I got finished, because it just created way too much fabric in the back; I would not have worn it that way.
It's kind of a precious design to begin with, and add to that the linen fabric I chose, with a big, bold floral design in blues, greens, and gray on a white background, and well, you have a dress that is not exactly what you'd normally catch me wearing. Why, you might ask, did I pick this fabric? I do like the print and the colors; it just has more white in it than I would typically wear, so it's not as muted as my usual choices.

Anyway, here are some attempts to style it. I bought some white leggings on sale to try with it; and I also tried it with some blue suede booties that are SE Petty lookalikes from DSW, which I bought on impulse today. They are such a great shade of blue for my wardrobe, I couldn't resist. Not until I got home with them did I think to try them with this linen dress. I would say the leggings and the blue suede booties are wildcards along with the dress. Very out of my comfort zone.

1-3: metallic cut-out peep-toe booties (Paul Green); collar is cinched in 2.
4-5: same, with white 3/4-sleeved cardigan (Nic & Zoe)
6-7: with denim ballet flats (AGL) and jean jacket (AG, Robyn)
8: with jean jacket and metallic ballet flats (AGL)
9-10: with cobalt 3/4-sleeved cardi (Halogen) and denim or metallic ballet flats
11: with cobalt cardi and gray leather sneakers (Josef Seibel, Caspian)
12-13: with cobalt cardi and gray wedge sandals (DV by Dolce Vita)
14: same outfit with white denim-knit leggings (Hue)
15-16: same, with blue suede Petty look-alike booties (DSW's Crown Vintage, Tabitha)
17-18: jean jacket, white leggings, blue suede booties
19-20: jean jacket, white leggings, gray wedge sandals
21-22: same but with olive 3/4-sleeved cardi (Halogen)
23-24: same but with gray sneakers

I would love your opinions and suggestions on these attempts or other ideas you may have. I
have tried different toppers with it, because until we get another heat
wave or I go on a tropical vacation, I won't be able to wear it
bare-armed. To use Angie's expression, I definitely run cold. I am not
inclined to buy new things (beyond the leggings--and the tags are still
on those!--to make this dress work; it's just such an oddity for me.

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.


  • JayS replied 8 years ago

    My goodness you are talented! I think the dress is very pretty with a little bit of edge. The collar is very interesting. Love the back. I like it best with lighter colors. Like the Paul Green booties the best with the DV wedges a close second. Side note: I have the DVs in nude...love 'em!
    I also like the lighter toppers. The Nic and Zoe is my fave there...I like that the fabric design shows through ever so slightly. I'm not loving the leggings..a little too much going on for my taste, but that's just me. 

  • kellygirl replied 8 years ago

    The dress is beautiful, Firecracker. Very different than what you typically wear but very pretty. I like it best without leggings and with the white and denim toppers. I think all of those variations work. The wrinkles at the knee of the leggings is very noticeable in photos. Is it less so in real life?

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    Your sewing skills are fantastic. To work with this intricate a pattern and a big print in linen must have been difficult. I like it best in 6 with the ballet flats and with the Nic and Zoe cardigan as a topper (4/5). I'm not a fan of the white leggings with this dress, but it is a legging color that my eye has never adjusted to except on young girls, so ignore my opinion.

  • Adelfa replied 8 years ago

    Amazing dress and it really seems like you even though it's a departure. I like the white cardi and the cobalt cardi best, and the Paul Green.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    Thanks for your thoughts so far, everyone!

    Kelly, I thought the wrinkles at the back of the knee on the leggings looked prominent in the mirror, too. ETA: Oh, yes, I see they're very prominent in front, in these photos.

    Not a lot of fans of the leggings, so far. (I'm not loving them either.) I was inspired by Natalie (Goldenpig), who wore white capri leggings with her Allsaints Fressia dress recently. I bought full-length and thicker ones, though, because I thought they might look better on my legs. But, hey, that's why I didn't take the tags off yet! I don't want to wear stockings with this dress, probably not even nude fishnets. It just seems too summery.

  • Alexandra replied 8 years ago

    Gorgeous dress! I think it looks great with the denim jacket. I'd skip the leggings.

  • Jeanie replied 8 years ago

    Great dress!  I like it best with the denim jacket.  I also like it with the shoes in #1 and the tennis shoes.  

  • Cerinda replied 8 years ago

    Like it best with the denim.  Would like to see it with leggings and a white denim jacket.  LOVE the fullness in the back and really wonder what it looked like with the pleat -- no doubt too much IRL, but pretty cool and  outré.

  • Deborah replied 8 years ago

    Firecracker you are so gifted! That is a beautifully made dress :) In all honesty the dress is very much out of my comfort zone so I have had to really step outside of myself so to speak:) I view your style as a bit edgy and arty and I do think this dress works for you. Upon looking at it, I immediately thought of leggings:) but I suspect a cropped legging might work best. And cropped in white would be good, the full length white legging just doesn't quite work to my eye. I wonder how it might look over a cropped skinny leg blue jean?? The dress really does call out to be paired with denim IMVHO:)

  • replied 8 years ago

    I agree with others re-leggings FC and I prefer denim or lighter coloured toppers. I like the edgier footwear like booties in #1 and the DV sandals in #12. I'm not so much a fan of the ballet flats I'm afraid, though maybe that's just me.

    I think you made the dress beautifully FC and I can see why you like the fabric, it has something very appealing about it.

  • Caro in Oz replied 8 years ago

    I like it with bare legs & the funkier sandals best; either with or without the denim jacket. I'm so not a pattern person so tend to think patterns should be the star. 

  • krishnidoux replied 8 years ago

    Wow! What a great little dress you made there. I love it with both the jean jacket and the cardigans. I am so impressed by your skills.

    White is a lovely colour on you. Maybe you felt like wearing white, and you found this ingenious way to do it: the touch of blues and green from the print gives it depth. 

    I agree that the leggings look too thick and too long for it. Although I vote keep the look in 14 with the booties. How about capri-length legging in white or blue? With a little detail such as side buttons, tie or lace?

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    This really is a wild card for you -- cut, colours, everything about it! My favourite version is I think the simplest (#1)  -- but do realize that I am a minimalist, so that is obviously colouring my own perception! I think you will get better advice from those who are further along the continuum toward detailing than I. What  a fun piece for you to play with, and wow are you talented!

  • always trying replied 8 years ago

    Very professional sewing skills.  Pretty fabric.  I can see why you wanted to make this pattern.  I like it alone and with the denim jacket best. 

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Fabulous dress. You are soooo creative, Sharan. #4 and #2 are the absolute winners for me hands down. xo

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts! I'm glad to hear the dress still looks in character for me, even though it's quite different.

    JayS, high five, sandal twin!

    Deborah, I was wondering about skinny jeans, too. I don't have a cropped skinny, but I could try rolling my skinnies with it.

    Diane, I agree about the ballet flats. I think they are too classic or conservative, taking the dress into a more conservative direction, whereas I'm more comfortable playing up its arty feel. I'm not wanting the look of wearing my grandmother's housedress from the 40s, though that could be cool on someone else.

    Cerinda, I really loved the pleat, in concept anyway. I would try it again, in a fabric that hangs closer to the body, something more muted, and probably with some alterations to the pattern to take out some of the fullness. It made me feel like I was trailing my dress a few steps behind me! The side view was pretty eye-catching (like "whoa! that's a lot of dress!").

    Krishnidoux, interesting you should suggest leggings with a detail. I initially pictured capri leggings with lace hem. And I saw some capri leggins with zippers at the sides that I liked. I'm leery of capri leggings on me, but I could at least try them on.

    Caro, your comment gave me an idea of why this print seems so bold for me. It's really large scale, and I think you have a point--it does need to take center stage. I'm used to smaller scale prints that I mix and match with a lot of different elements in an outfit (just as I would a printed scarf).

    Angie, glad to hear you like it. I know you'd tell me if it was just too far out there for me!

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    Wow, what an accomplishment! I am not reading the other responses first, but I like it best with the denim jacket. I am not a fan of the white leggings, sorry -- just my personal bias.

  • krishnidoux replied 8 years ago

    Firecracker, you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • replied 8 years ago

    I see the appeal in the fabric. Can you enjoy it like this for a while and then overdye it if you wanted to tone down the white?

    I like all the styling except for the leggings. I think cropped ones would look better if you went that route.

  • Kay replied 8 years ago

    Great dress! I also sew and I have to say, this looks like you bought it off the rack! Great job! I especially like the way you styled it with the white jacket and also with the blue top (photo #9). 

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