Summer Fashion Try-On Haul + Nordstrom Finds

This week’s try-on haul ended up being mostly dresses, and I found some nice options at a variety of price points! I also rounded up some new Nordstrom Finds at the end of the post.

Fashion Over 40 Try-On Haul: Summer Dresses

SIZING NOTES: I’m 5’5″ and I usually wear a small in tops and dresses, a 29 in jeans, and a size 8 shoe. Gifted items are indicated by c/o; everything else I purchased myself.

CUPSHE Loose Fit Wrap V-Neck Ruched Maxi Dress

at Amazon (S) // Nordstrom slides (8) // Dolce Vita wedges (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace // Lagos bracelets one & two

I was in the nail salon a couple weeks ago, and a woman came in wearing this dress. It’s not one that would have caught my eye online or even on a mannequin at the mall, but she looked so effortlessly chic and summery, so I immediately asked her where she got it.

Everyone who came in the room that day complimented her on the dress, and before I left the salon, I had logged into my Amazon account and ordered it.

It really is a pretty design, but it sort of swallows me up. I think I’m wearing the small in these photos, but I can’t remember for sure. (I ordered both small and medium, but I only tried on one of them.)

After standing every which way, I decided this silhouette just doesn’t do anything for me. It makes my strong shoulders look wider, and it doesn’t to much to accentuate my waist. A wide straw belt might help, but I don’t have one, and I don’t usually like how belted dresses look on me, anyway.

That said, it’s very pretty and comfortable in an easy-breezy sort of way. If it appeals to you, definitely give it a try!

VERDICT: This went back.

Dolce Vita Maze Espadrille-Sandals

at Nordstrom (8)

I just got these sandals in, and I love them! They’re quite comfortable, too.

VERDICT: Definitely keeping.

Marine Layer Corinne Double Cloth Cotton Maxi Dress

at Bloomies (S) // Miller sandals (8)

I ordered this dress at someone’s recommendation, even though I know I don’t typically like the tiered style. I was drawn to the gauzy fabric and the gorgeous color. I actually paid for rush shipping, thinking it might be fun to wear for the 4th.

But alas, my initial instinct was correct. This style just isn’t for me; the side view is very telling.

A friend messaged me after I shared this on Instagram and said if I really want to pursue this style, I need one that is more nipped in under the chest, and I agree. That’s where it goes terribly wrong. This just makes me look like I’m hiding something under there, lol!

VERDICT: Returning.

SOMA Band Maxi Bra Dress

at Soma (S) // Dolce Vita slides (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace // Lagos bracelets one & two

Soma has a bunch of dresses with a built-in bra, which is kind of cool in theory, but I’d rather have the shape and support my regular bras provide. I ordered a few to try, and all three fit very differently, even though they’re all size small.

This one is not nearly supportive enough in the chest, and almost seems too big on top. Plus, there’s just waaaaaay too much fabric in that skirt.

VERDICT: It’s definitely going back.

SOMA Halter Bra Maxi Dress

at Soma (S) // Nordstrom slides (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace // Lagos bracelets one & two

This dress is really fun; I’ve always loved a good tie dye print, for some reason, and these colors are so pretty. But the strapless/halter look doesn’t really do anything for me, and I don’t feel comfortable in it.

VERDICT: Returning this one.

SOMA Soft Jersey V-Neck Short Bra Dress

at Soma (S) // Dolce Vita slides (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace // Lagos bracelets one & two

This one is my favorite of the three. It fits really well in the top, and it’s extremely comfortable, but I can’t get over the feeling that it looks like a nightgown.

It also creates some lumps and bumps in the back, where the bottom of the “bra strap” cuts across my back. I don’t think I can size up, though.

VERDICT: Deciding. I think it would be a nice option to have with me in Italy, but I’m not sure I’d wear it for much else.

Tommy Bahama Two Palms Cotton Gauze Midi Dress

at Nordstrom (M) // Nordstrom slides (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace // Lagos bracelets one & two

I was hoping this dress might be another option for Italy. It’s fully lined, and it has pockets, so it’s a little bulky in the hip area, and it doesn’t do much to define my waist.

All that said, it might be nice to have because it’s different than anything else I have, and I like that it isn’t clingy at all. Of course, it’s linen, so it gets verrrry wrinkly, but I guess that’s part of the charm?

VERDICT: Still deciding on this one. What do you think?

Tommy Bahama Coral Island Cotton Gauze Midi Shirtdress

at Nordstrom (S) // Dolce Vita wedges (8) // Nordstrom Slides (8) // Lagos earrings // similar necklace

This isn’t my typical style, but I kinda like it for a change. The gauzy fabric is nice for summer, and it covers my arms and shoulders, so I could wear it when we are visiting cathedrals in Italy. I just wonder if it will be too hot for wearing all day. I also don’t think I’ll like it as much with flats.

Belted styes often don’t flatter me, but I think this one is okay. I can set it up higher towards my natural waist, and if I tie it tight and allow some of the top to blouse out a bit, I think it’s cute. In this picture, it’s not cinched tight enough…

VERDICT: Keeping for now, will revisit when I pack for Italy, or maybe I’ll reach for it sooner. It would be nice for church, too.

Eileen Fisher Organic Cotton Knit Tank Dress

at Nordstrom (S) // at Bloomies (S) // Steve Madden slides (8) // Dolce Vita wedges (8)

Okay, so there’s a story behind this dress. I have the XS from last year, and I love it. It’s such a good basic, and I expected to have it for years. Well.

I photographed it with some different shoe and handbag combinations for this post a few weeks ago, and when I saw the pictures, I was not pleased with how tight it looked.

same dress, size XS

I’ve put on a few pounds since last summer, and I’ve noticed a lot of my clothes fitting much tighter through the hips and middle, to the point that a lot of my pants are uncomfortable.

All that to say, I decided to order this dress in the Small to compare. (I usually (or used to, lol) wear an XS in Eileen Fisher dresses, as they tend to run big.)

I think this is the way it’s supposed to fit, judging by how it looks on the models, but it fits awkwardly around the armholes, and I’m not sure it really flatters me.

size S with flats

See what I mean…

size S

Here it is with heels… I mean, every dress looks better with heels, but I still think it looks too big, right? Or is it supposed to fit this way?

size S with heels

I laid the size XS that I have from last year on top of the size S to compare, and there’s quite a discrepancy. I wonder if my XS has shrunk, even though I always hang it to dry.

Here’s a side-by-side with me wearing the S vs. the XS.

size S // size XS

Here are a couple more angles, in the XS. Looking at these, I don’t think the XS looks bad, per se; but it’s a different look.

size XS

I will say, the S is much more comfortable, and I feel less self-conscious in it, but is it flattering?

size S

VERDICT: I’m not sure what to do about this one. This dress is not cheap, so I really hate to buy a second one in a size up if it doesn’t fit perfectly. But after seeing those photos of the smaller one, I’m not sure I’ll want to wear it anymore. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Ming Wang Knit Tank Dress

at Nordstrom (S) // Steve Madden slides (8) // Dolce Vita wedges (8) // pearl earrings // similar necklace // Amazon clutch

You may be wondering why I ordered ANOTHER black dress in a similar silhouette to the Eileen Fisher one. Well, when I was looking at that one, this one popped up on the sidebar as a suggested alternative.

It’s pricey, but I was curious to try it because it looked to have the exact silhouette I love, and I especially like the scoop neck vs the crew neck on the Eileen Fisher one.

Oh, my word! I slipped it on, and it fit like it was made for me.

It’s a dressier fabric than the Eileen Fisher, which is more of a stretchy jersey knit. This is almost like a thin sweater material, but it’s very structured, it isn’t like it’s going to stretch out or anything.

It also has the perfect shape and skims the body without clinging. Here’s how it looks with heels. I also really like the length, and the slit hem. Perfection!

VERDICT: It seems like a lot to pay for 100% acrylic made in China, but after working so hard with the Eileen Fisher dress, to throw this on and have it be so effortlessly perfect makes it very hard to return.

Unfortunately, they don’t really serve the same purpose. I can see wearing the Eileen Fisher dress for a day of travel and sightseeing, whereas this dress is more of a dinner date kind of vibe due to the fabric composition.

Okay, that’s it for the try-on haul! I also rounded up some new items I have my eye on; some are already in my shopping cart. And Evereve is having a sale, so if you’ve had your eye on anything over there, this is a good time to snap it up!

Nordstrom Finds

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77 Responses

  1. Love the Tommy Bahama dress. I’m confused why you like the belted bright dress and not the tiered one. I feel the belted one looks quite matronly while the tiered one looks chic and up to date. Love seeing all the options in your try on hauls.

    1. Because the belted one offers some waist definition, and the tiered one makes me look pregnant at 50, lol. I also feel like the belted one has more of a classic style, but I will be honest, I wouldn’t be considering keeping it if it wasn’t for wanting it for Italy. And I hate to buy a dress just for that.

  2. White House Black Market has the Jetsetter dress – very similar option for the Amazon green dress :)!

  3. I think the Tommy Bahama dress would be perfect for Italy. It is likely going to be pretty hot and you will be spending a lot of time outside (Even indoors, the A/C in Europe is not as cool as we are used to in the U.S.) You may be more comfortable in non-clinging clothes with plenty of airflow.

  4. My favorite is the blue linen Tommy Bahama dress! All of the other dresses, while so cute and stylish, are not a win for me personally. They make me look larger and frumpy! So I understand all your dilemmas with them. Anything with an elastic waist or pockets are not good haha. Some women can just pull them off so chicly. I do have to tell you that I ordered that little olive green shirt and shorts set from Loft that looks like a jumpsuit…I really like it! I thought it might be too short or that elastic waistband would make my tummy look poochy, but it works! Thanks for your recommendations! 🙂

  5. I have the sleeveless Tommy Bahama dress in two colors. I love them! I get compliments every time I wear one of them

    1. I really love the TB Palms dress and the color is gorgeous, looks so comfortable. The tiered dress in the red? would look really pretty too, just needs some tweaking for a better fit but with your height you can carry off a dress like that. I just can’t deal with too much material in a dress, overwhelming too me but I like them on younger ladies especially with a little more height than me. I think after you wear the BP Palms dress it will fall into place with your own shape, chic!

  6. You could go down a size in the Tommy Bahama Two Palms dress. I have that dress in two styles and it runs large.

    1. I tried it in the small, but it was too tight in the hips and hard to get on and off. 🙂 Good point, though. Sometimes, trying another size is the answer to such dilemmas. 🙂

  7. I vote keep the Ming Wang and return the EF. It looks versatile and great on you. We went to Italy in May — HOT! keep and pack anything cool 😉 Enjoy it was a great trip.

  8. If you like how the Eileen Fisher dress in size small fits through the waist and hips, you could have it taken in under the arms.

  9. Hi Jo-Lynne. Love your try-on hauls! The navy TB reminds me of the navy Splendid dress – I ordered the navy Splendid dress when you showed it and just wore it in the Bahamas. It was great, so thanks for that tip earlier!
    Regarding the EF, you and I typically take the same size so I ordered it a few months ago in the XS and was surprised it was not more snug (I rarely ever take an XS), then I saw one of your readers comment that the cut was more generous this year. I wonder if the XS in the cut that is currently out would be a sweet spot for you?
    You look fabulous in the Ming Wang dress – KEEP! I am so so tempted to order that dress, the wedges you have with it, the graphic tee, the Splendid tee… LOL! Love your blog!

    1. Yes…..I had been thinking the same thing. I remember someone saying the EF dress this year was made more roomy. Jo-Lynne, try the new XS like she said above. Unless you think your old XS shrunk some like you said.

    2. Yeah, I was hoping to bring the Splendid dress with me to Italy and I tried it on again, and it is cute weirdly low under the arms. I don’t recall that being an issue when I wore it in Miami. I was hoping to like this one better, but I think the Splendid one was more flattering (and the fabric is cooler) so maybe I need to try it again with a few different bras.

  10. Love both Tommy Bahama dresses on you (the blue and pink). I think the small Eileen Fisher looks more flattering and comfortable than the extra small, except for the armholes. Could that be tailored at the armholes? If you think the xs may have shrunk maybe order another xs and also another small since sometimes a same size will fit different from dress to dress. The Ming Wang dress looks beautiful on you.

  11. Hi JoLynne—The Ming Wang dress looks nice but I would be leery of 100% acrylic. Acrylic seems to pill badly and to pay that much for a dress, I would hate to see you disappointed after a few wears. I like the EF dress in size small and would have a little taken in under the arms. That would be a quick fix and not too expensive. At least her fabric will hold up and the style looks great on you also.

  12. For the Eileen Fisher dress, you might want to consider trying the XS in this year’s version before making your decision. I ordered a new color this year in the same size as last year, and this year’s version is noticably larger than last year’s version.

  13. To be honest, I am not thrilled about any of the dresses, but I like the last black one, but I prefer it with heels because of the length of it. I like the blue gauze one okay, but I think after being in the suitcase and day of travel it would be REALLy wrinkled. As for the Eileen Fisher XS vs. SM, I think you are in-between sizes now for this particular dress and you won’t feel comfortable in the XS, but it really isn’t that too tight and the SM seems too big on you to me. I don’t like the length. I just had the same problem with an Old Navy one. I usually wear SM and after getting it and wearing it it feel like how you explain your XS, so since it was so inexpensive and I wanted the blued for the 4th, I ordered the Med. It fits better, especially after I wash it, but right now it seem just a tad off….big. So, sometimes we are just in between sizes and nothing we can do. It seem so strange to open your blog lately and see you styling so many dresses. I’m use to the denim shorts and t-shirts. LOL Have a great day and love your try-on hauls.

  14. The Ming Wang knit tank dress is very flattering on you. It looks like the type of dress that you could wear during the day then dress up at night. The perfect LBD to have in your arsenal.
    The blue cotton gauze one has cute details and would be nice and cool on those hot days. I sometimes take pocketed clothes to my tailor and get her to sew them up and cut the pocket off to get rid of that extra bulk on my hips. Would that be something that might make you love the dress?

    1. I do think getting rid of the pockets on the blue TB would help. And I agree, I could dress the Ming Wang up or down, but it does have a more elevated look to it. I wouldn’t wear it all day for sightseeing, the way I would the Eileen Fisher.

  15. You look fabulous in the Ming Wang LBD! I know that you want to have some options for the Italy trip, but I would not buy anything for the trip that you won’t wear at home. To me, that is waisting money. I’d create different looks for the dresses you are taking, by changing an accessory or two. I do thinks that the Eileen Fisher black dress is a ‘no’ in both sizes.

    1. I agree that I don’t want to buy anything for the trip that I won’t keep and wear again. I need to consider that when I decide what to keep and what to return.

  16. I love your try-on hauls! I really get a lot out of them. Those first few long dresses with so much volume were, dare I say it, horrible on you, and I can totally see why you returned them. As to the others that you are still deciding on, I feel that if they don’t “spark joy” immediately, it’s best to return them. I have purchased so many things that I wasn’t 100% sure about, then later hardly wore them. Something that has been a huge (life-changing even) help to me in the fashion department was getting a color and style analysis done about 6 months ago. I did it with House of Colour here in CA, and they may have reps in your area. I learned that my style is Gamine, and now I know why those voluminous garments with tiers and ruffles look ridiculous on me; I admire them on other women I wondered why I couldn’t pull the look off. I also learned I am best in the Spring color palette. I don’t wear black any more at all, and I wonder if black may not be the best color for you, either. I hope you don’t mind my honesty! I read your blog every day and really appreciate what you do.

    1. I don’t mind honesty at all. 🙂 I do, however, LOVE to wear black. It is probably the “color” I feel most confident in.But I also feel ridiculous in tiers and ruffles, but I like them on other women, so I think I keep trying in case I find the rare unicorn that works for me. I have found a few that I do like, but they are few and far between. I’ll look up House of Colour. It sounds interesting.

  17. Thank you for trying on the SOMA dresses. I recently saw them in the store and thought the concept was brilliant, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking the women helping me “are these nightgowns?”. I can’t un-see the nightgown in it now.

  18. The Ming Wang dress looks perfect on you. The neckline is super flattering. That could be a year around closet staple for the LBD. That’s the only keeper out of this post for me on you. I’ll be curious to see if you reach for the Tommy Bahama, I can see the potential there but I have a dress I bought last summer that has tons of potential and I’ve pulled it 0 times. Every time I do get dressed for work( like twice a month), I’m like that’s what I’m wearing and then I don’t which means it’s time for it to leave my closet and go bring joy into someone elses life.

  19. I love the Ming Wang dress on you! So flattering. I also have difficulty with sizing. Parts of my body (waist primarily and hips somewhat) are between sizes now. So I order two sizes and often end up returning both. The way the Eileen Fisher is fitting you at the armholes is one of the main reasons I return sleeveless tops and dresses. I have the Marine Layer dress and even though it’s less than flattering I don’t mind when it’s really hot outside!

    1. Yeah, I think the Marine Layer dress is a personal style issue. It just isn’t ME, and since it doesn’t fit perfectly, it’s an easy NO. 🙂 I agree with the Ming Wang dress, though. Totally me, fits so well, I cannot return it. 🤗

  20. I have the sleeveless Tommy Bahama dress as well. I sized down for a better fit and was surprised that it made a difference. I love the dress but also struggle with the bulk and the lack of definition at the waist, both of which seem to be exaggerated throughout the day as the dress wrinkles. A jean jacket or longer sweater help with streamlining the overall look.

    1. I did try the small, and it didn’t fit at all, so it’s the medium or nothing. Your points about the lack of definition at the waist and the bulk with the pockets are confirming what I already thought… It’s not the most flattering, but I may pack it anyway b/c I might be willing to sacrifice some style for comfort when I’m hot and sweaty in Rome in July.

  21. I learned something today from you! Thank you. You have to try other dresses on too! I would agree the Ming dress fits you wonderfully. I also appreciated the story about the green dress from nail salon. I have done the same thing before. and it’s good for me to be reminded I have to try on many dresses to find one that fits. I am actually looking for a black dress and I have tried on a few already. And none have worked for what I want. I felt like giving up and your post inspired me not to because it’s common not all dresses are made to flatter every person. Thank you!

  22. We have all gained weight since last summer. Perimenopause and menopause are to blame. Just return the Eileen Fisher dress and stop trying so hard to make it work. If it is that much effort and you are already uncomfortable, it will make your worst buys list. That’s an expensive one too! Donate the XS as again, it appears you are uncomfortable and will not wear it. Keep the Ming Wang because you look 10 lbs thinner. Just find a way to incorporate it every day and not just for date nights. Who cares? If you feel like a million bucks in it, and your face says so, then just wear it regardless of the time of day or event. Make “YOU” happy!

    I have been in Italy several times as my father is from Southern Italy. You want to wear dressier fabrics and not USA cotton. Italians are not snobby, but in Europe, people dress alot more than the US. Also, the fabrics in Italy are to die for! May I recommend the following stores to shop: train stations in Rome have great clothing stores and cheap prices. Still have dresses from there that are 5 years old and look like I just bought them. Rinascimento. Max Mara and Max Mara Weekender. Yes, all those stores have clothing in the US, but it is from Italy and the price is about 1/3 what you would pay for it in the US.

    Lastly, not sure where you are travelling, but you must have a healthy jewelry budget. All the jewelry in Italy and Europe for that matter is 18K and stunning. You will find many beautiful items everywhere that are worth spending on and no one else will have them. Gemstone jewelry is also very affordable and available. If going to Florence, you absolutely must go to the “jewelry bridge”. It’s the only bridge left in Florence that the Nazi’s didn’t destroy during WWII. They turned into shopping and almost all jewelry. it is amazing!

    1. Melissa, your comment was published 3 times but I didn’t mind, because you are such a fantastic source of information! 🙂 Thank you.

    2. This is all great feedback, and I laughed when you said “Keep the Ming Wang because you look 10 lbs thinner. Just find a way to incorporate it every day and not just for date nights. Who cares? If you feel like a million bucks in it, and your face says so, then just wear it regardless of the time of day or event. Make “YOU” happy!”

      I agree, I knew I was keeping it. 🙂 But I still think the EF might be good to have, even if it isn’t ideal.

      Thanks for the advice about jewelry and clothes shopping in Italy… I have a feeling I will feel rushed and want to go back.😂

  23. Go for the Ming. The Ming dress fits the best, flatters you and doesn’t have ties/straps that need adjusting. Is it really only for dinners? Why not make it your short black travel dress and pack less?

    1. I hear ya, it just doesn’t have the same level of comfort for all day wear as the Eileen Fisher and others. But yeah, it’s more versatile than I might think. I need to be more creative. 🙂

  24. My thoughts: NO to the TB linen dress – too wrinkly & not as flattering; YES to the TB coral shirt dress – it’s very attractive on you; NO to the xs EF black dress – too snug, but YES to the small – get the underarms altered to fit you; YES to the Ming Wang black dress – it can still go casual too, just put on some flat sandals & voila!

  25. Interesting, I loved the Marine Layer dress on you and it was by far my favorite. I thought it looked more youthful.

  26. The Tommy Bahama pink shirt dress is really cute and flattering on you & a different style than you normally wear. I’d keep it! And the Ming Wang tank dress fits you perfectly (I like it better than the EF dress). I’m actually going to order the first green maxi you tried (I’ll let you know ).

  27. Check out the Karen Kane dresses at Nordstrom. Similar to the EF and they have a few colors. I ordered a couple and love them.

  28. The Ming Wang black for sure! Love it when you flip on a dress and it looks like it was made for you! Totally get the different purposes tho. Do you see? I often buy the more comfy size and take in a seam where I want it more fitted. And that spot is ALWAYS under the arms! What body is built like that?? At any given time, I have a pile by the sewing g machine that need the seam alteration, often coupled by letting down the hem! At 5’7” I don’t like dresses too much above the knee, especially when I sit!

  29. The TB coral island shirt dress would be cuter with a flat sandal or even flip flop, but a closed toe shoe would be too matronly. I saw a green sleeveless TB dress gauze dress that looks more your style, but that eliminates the idea of covered arms for visiting religious sites. I’m ordering it for myself and will report back 🙂

  30. I like the blue linen dress on you with more neutral ‘ tan sandals. I think you will appreciate no belt at waist when in Italy!

  31. I have to say I love how real this post is … this is me, ordering dresses, making faces at all the ways I do not like the way something looks on me. The Eileen Fisher in the XS – looks good on you – and I am not a fan of all the other dresses on you – so with that said, I wouldn’t even try them for myself. Believe it or not, I love the GAP Factory dresses that you highlighted a few weeks back, and loved them all and I bought them.

  32. Don’t be crazy KEEP the Ming Wang Knit Tank Dress
    It WAS made for you!!!!!
    You KNOW that never happens…just saying
    I bet you will wear it more than you think…could go into fall– September & October are so much warmer than they used to be.
    The Tommy Bahama Two Palms is cute too would be a great one for the heat..loose but fits and looks really cute.

  33. Your comments when you don’t like a piece of clothing always make me chuckle. I agree with your dislikes and likes. If you really like the Eileen Fisher dress just keep the xsmall. You might lose the extra pounds once menopause is over. I did.

    1. I’m working on it. Back to IF and cutting sugar/carbs, TRYING to move more. So annoyed, the air quality here is terrible again b/c of the wildfires, so I can’t go out to run today. Guess it’s a treadmill day!

      1. I hear you. I’m staying inside because of the heat. I hope the air quality gets better for y’all. 🙏

  34. Have you tried the Tommy Bahama Darcy Sheath dress? I have it in black and love it. Wore it on my Europe vacation. Packs and washes up well. I also love their tennis skirts. I have them in 4 colors. The black one came with me to Europe because I could wear a blouse with it or wear it more casual.

  35. First, I really like how you actually (honestly) critique your clothes….love your comments:)

    FYI I have the Ming Wang short sleeve version of your black dress, and just wow. I can’t believe I spent that much on a simple black dress, but it’s worth the price. The fit, the fabric, the length….so, my vote is keep the Ming Wang dress. You will love having it!

    Love your blog!!

  36. Frank and Eileen have a new polo style dress out that I just ordered. I haven’t tried it on yet, but it may be a nice “day dress” with sneakers on your trip. It is a little pricey, but a classic polo dress that you could wear for years. I think you always look great in everything, even the things you don’t like! I would never know you are heavier than last summer- you look great!

  37. Tommy Bahama Two Palms dress – I LOVE this dress on you! It’s so cute, and it flatters your figure nicely!! I would wear it.

    Eileen Fisher dress: I wear my dress loosely like the one you bought. The armholes don’t bother me; I typically have a jacket too. I’d rather it be loose than pulling against my body. However, the XS still looks nice.

    The Ming Wang tank dress – oh wow, I love it!!

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