Fashion Friday Update

A few weeks ago, DeAnn wrote in asking for advice for what to wear to her 20-year high school reunion coming up this fall.

She took our advice and went shopping, and when she wrote to tell me what she found, I asked her if she’d send pictures. Lo and behold, she agreed! SO FUN!!! I will post her photos with her commentary, and you all can comment about your favorite. This takes a lot of guts, y’all, so be kind!!

These are her dinner outfit choices. Remember, it’s a small town and she doesn’t want to be over or under dressed.

The first picture is of the boring black dress that is in my closet. It’s my fall-back dress when I don’t know what to wear. I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually too big and way unflattering.

I think your body language says it all. (Love the pose, by the way!) I agree, you can do better. On to #2!

Honestly, I kept trying to find a black dress and I never would have veered from that had I not asked for your opinion. Why was I thinking “cocktail dress” when people will be wearing everything from jeans and cowboy boots to casual pant suits to glittery sequined numbers? I’d like to be somewhere in between so I found the next cute little dress on sale at Boden. Actually, it’s a little too big also but I like the colors and I have a pretty, thin cream-colored cardigan that I can throw on top of it if needed.

Personally, I love this! It’s flattering and different from the typical black dress and the perfect mix of casual and dressy.

Here’s the other way I was inspired by your suggestions. I tend to leave Ann Taylor alone. I always think it’s really for the skinny, stylish, working woman. The next two dresses I got there online for 40% off! Woohoo! The first one is black, but not one that I’d normally choose. Not sure about it as it hit my arms at the least flattering part and it doesn’t do much for my torso area. A smaller size may fix that problem but I’m not sure… It is kind of interesting.

Yeah, honestly, I’m not loving this, and I sense from your comments that you aren’t either. I think perhaps it is because the waist is not hitting you quite high enough. I often have this problem with dresses, as I’m high-waisted. Plus I feel like black is probably your safety choice, and I think it will be great if you go for something other than black for this occasion.

The next dress was the biggest surprise to me. I would have never ever given it a second thought if it hadn’t been one of your suggestions. I think animal prints are fun but only usually do them with accessories. This one, however is fun AND totally comfortable. I feel like it’s stylish but not fussy–as in I’m not pulling at it all of the time. I’d greatly appreciate some help with choosing one!

Hmmmm… This is a tough call! I like this too. As far as I’m concerned, the black dresses are out. I think I may like the Boden dress better than the leopard print from Ann Taylor, but I sense that you really like the A.T. one, and it is so hard to tell from one picture each which one is truly the most flattering. I don’t think you can go wrong with either of the non-black ones.

I’m curious if your husband has an opinion. (If he is anything like mine, he probably does not, but you never know. Sometimes they surprise us!)

So, Dear Reader. What do YOU think? Which dress should DeAnn wear to her 20th High School Reunion next week?

This was so much fun, we could even start a regular advice column. If people are gutsy enough to send in “before” photos, I will post my advice, and then we can have a results post when they send in what they fine with “after” photos! Who’s game??

Join The Conversation

56 Responses

  1. I love the animal print one. It’s super flattering and looks like it fits you the best out of all of them. I would just finish it off with some funky jewelery — maybe a long chain-type necklace. I think you look great!

  2. I agree the black dresses should be eliminated. The first print dress is pretty and flattering, but looks like a Sunday church dress or an afternoon function dress. The animal print dress is flattering and chic. Perfect for a night out!

  3. I love the animal print dress from AT too! Plus you look so comfortable in it. I also agree that it might look great with nude pumps.

  4. I like both the dresses with print, but I think the AT one gets my vote.

    Jo-Lynne, count me in for the before and after! I always struggle with style.

  5. I think the Boden one is more flattering. And you can wear it year round, whereas the sleeve length on the animal print make it more for fall/winter.

  6. I actually think the black Ann Taylor dress is the most flattering of the bunch. Second favorite is the Boden, but it’s still kind of off in my opinion. Have fun! 🙂

  7. I’m generally an anti-animal print kinda gal – but that leopard print dress looks AMAZING! Its trendy, and modest – double BONUS! You look really classy, chic and put together!

    I also happen to really like the black A.T. dress, but I sense I might be in the minority.

  8. Go for the animal print! If you can keep more than one of the dresses, keep the Boden dress too. It’s super cute. Would be great for church or other occasions you need a cute little dress.

  9. I was initially going to say Boden, for sure. But the AT could be styled REALLY fun with some bright accessories. Definitely neither of the black ones. Black is so predictable for these things. Print and color – YES.

  10. This is so fun! Yes, I will definitely get nude-colored pumps if I choose the animal print dress I haven’t been shoe shopping since I’ve had no idea what dress I was wearing. I just pulled the brown pumps out of the closet because I didn’t want to go barefoot and look like Tarzan’s Jane. 🙂

  11. I LOVE that Boden dress! I think it looks great, BUT the AT dress is awfully cute too and if you add a some cute jewelry I think it would look awesome. I think if she stays away from the black, she can’t go wrong!

  12. I think the lighter colored shoes elongate your legs. You definitely look best with hemlines that hit at the top of your knee. I like the Boden dress and the animal print.

  13. I think someone is totally underestimating her hotness factor. I say go shopping, find a smaller size, and live it up. You have a great figure and great legs and should be accentuating them instead of choosing the longer lengths and blouson tops. The prints are more flattering and make you look younger—if I had to pick from them, i would choose the Boden. But again I say, “SHOP,” and bring a girlfriend who will make you try things on outside of your comfort zone! And higher heels. Don’t forget how effective higher heels (even if they are a comfortable wedge) are!!! Oh I love it when someone wants my opinion!

  14. I like the Boden dress best, followed by the Ann Taylor. I might add a gold cuff bracelet and a different shoe. Have a great time at your reunion!

  15. My first choice is #2. It looks great on her & she looks like she knows it! 😉 Second choice is #4. It’s looks really good & if she’s uncomfortable with her arms showing, she may feel better in it. Both look great though! Have fun!

  16. Animal print- hands down. I second the comment that it’s very chic. I also agree with the commenter who suggested that you wear a smaller size. You have great legs to show off, too. Have a great time!

  17. My pick is the Boden one. I like the bolder colors . I think it is more flattering on her. Thanks for sharing and you will look great in either!

  18. I like the animal print dress, that would be my first pick.
    I did a double take when I saw the first pic-she looks like my college roomate….doesn’t she???

  19. My vote if for the last dress (animal print) with the same hairstyle (more glam). I’d wear lighter heels like the nude ones or perhaps a hot metallic. Also, I’d add some sparkly earrings and a thin/long or shorter/statement necklace appropriate for the print.

    In general, I think for her tones all-black is too stark, I’d recommend using it in smaller doses.

    And please return that black AT dress it should never be worn.

  20. I agree with most ladies that Boden and the animal-print AT dress are the best options. I like the animal-print more than Boden, but think it needs an accessory to anchor it. It’s hard to tell with the texture if that would be a belt or a long necklace (or maybe both if the necklace was not that long). If no accessories are available, I might lean towards the Boden…

  21. this is the husband here, (speaking when spoken to)…Easy pick, the last dress is the one to go with. Although, I do like the second to last black dress, (it doesn’t quite show in the picture, but in real life it has a bit of a cool retro Mad Men vibe going on). However, that one doesn’t quite seem to fit as well as it could. You look the most natural and laid back in the last one, (and I agree with the lady that said you have nice legs, they also look pretty good in that last one).

  22. I’m not usually an animal-print fan AT ALL, but it looks so cute on you. You look younger, hipper and fun in the AT dress…great mix for reunions!

  23. Oh and also? I think you all have convinced me that I’m voting for the animal print now too. I do think DeAnn should try the next size down though. And definitely throw on some gold jewelry – a long necklace, and nude pumps.

      1. LOL. I can’t take credit. A couple other commenters said it and I realized that is it. I looked at it online again, and it fits more closely to the figure.

        I know that I fall between sizes at Ann Taylor and the sales girls are ALWAYS trying to talk me into going down a size.

        1. So I got all curious and went to AT and found the dress. The model does not do this dress NEAR the justice DeAnn does it. I would have never bought that dress based on that model but I am seriously considering it after seeing it on DeAnn.

  24. Definitely the animal print… the Boden dress is too grandma for me, and I don’t think the colors are the most flattering. The floral pattern almost washes out her complexion.

  25. I love both the non-black dresses, but I agree with those who say the Boden would be best for a daytime event. (I really hope you keep both, though, because they’re both super flattering!)

  26. She looks confident in the animal print one…the boden is cute too. From the pictures it looks like she needs to go down a size in all of her dresses. They just look a bit baggy on her.
    Hope it is a fun reunion.

  27. Wow, do we have some opinions, or what?!? lol.
    I like the Boden dress, but I am not a fan of cardigans over dresses if you can help it. Take a good dress and them make it generic by covering it up with a sweater, yknow?

    I vote for the AT animal print. You look HAWT. Because you want to def’ly want to look hawt at your 20th reunion. With your hair up like in the Boden pic. Nude pumps. Cool, classy earrings.

    You have to share what you really ended up wearing! Have fun!

  28. hands down the boden dress! it is the most flattering. I think it is a classic sihlouette yet it has a fun and funky print. The animal print might be too much for a reunion, plus I don’t think it is nearly as flattering as the boden dress. I also think the boden dress needs a fun grey or mustard heel {if I’m seeing the colors correctly,}something more edgy than the cream pointy toe heel.

  29. Wow! This is so great! Thanks so much for all of the wonderful replies!! I think I’ll go with the majority and wear the last one. Today, AT just happened to have 40% off of everything so I just ordered a size down. It does look a little baggy in the picture. The colors are odd to match, so I’m going to go find a cute pair of nudish heels that compliment it…and maybe some gold bangles and a long gold necklace. I got the first black dress from Boden years ago and I think it may be time to retire it. 🙂 I’ll send along some pictures the night of the reunion. Thanks again, Jo-Lynne for your tireless efforts to keep us looking and feeling good! You guys are all so sweet.

  30. I like the Boden one but it looks a little big. Have it tailored a bit and maybe bring up the length a smidge. Also splurge on a pair of shoes that are trendy and a higher heel. You look great!

  31. I love the Boden one! And, since your husband mentioned Mad Men… have you seen the new Mad Men collection at Banana Republic? They have some great dresses. Here is what’s online, kind of pricey: https://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=69572. But, I was just at the mall today and I swear they had another dress in the window and it was fabulous. I don’t see it online. You look terrific–have fun at the reunion!

  32. For this event, I’d go with the ‘animal print’ (the print doesn’t look too extreme in the photo)…and I laughed at Dawn G.’s comment, she might have a point! ; )
    Yes, Jo-Lynne, I think I’d be game for an advice column, since sometimes I wonder what you’d think of the outfits I wear, & hearing other readers’ comments could be really fun!

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