Try-On Haul: Denim, Jackets, Shoes & More Holiday Dresses

Happy Friday, friends! I have a new try-on haul for you today! It’s a potpourri – jackets, jeans, shoes, and a couple of tops – and I also threw in some more holiday cocktail dresses I’ve been trying for my event next weekend.

I have more coming, but I think I found the one I want to wear… At least, I have one I’m excited to wear if nothing else comes in that I like better.

Fall/Winter Denim, Jackets & Shoes

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.

MOTHER The Hustler in Healing Jar

at Bloomingdale’s (29) // sweater (S) // Vince Hilda boots (8.5) // Jenny Bird earrings

The Hustler is not a new MOTHER denim style to me, but I don’t have any at the moment other than my white pair. I used to have a light wash pair that I wore a lot, but they shrunk… or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Ha!

I haven’t been wearing the ankle flare style much this winter. I’ve been preferring the full length flares, but mine all require a heel, so I thought I’d try this shorter style for variety’s sake.

I always love how they look on my friend, Susie Wright. In fact, I think I ordered this pair from one of her links. (If you don’t follow her, you should! She has great style, and I get lots of style inspiration from her.)

I really like this mid-indigo wash, and the denim is so soft and stretchy and comfortable, as with most MOTHER denim.

I first tried them with one of my favorite cashmere v-neck sweaters and these sleek, low-heeled Vince booties that I wear a lot. I really like this combination.

I wanted to see how versatile they would be for me, with what I have currently in my closet, so I also tried them with this speckled white turtleneck and grey suede square toe booties.

These boots are from the #NSale a couple years ago, but there are a few sizes currently available at Nordstrom Rack. They are gorgeous, and super soft and comfortable, even without socks.

I like this color combination, and I like the length of the jeans with the boots, but I struggle with the high rise. I feel like the front-tuck calls too much attention to my midsection, but this sweater looks kind of sloppy untucked.

Maybe a belt would help, but I don’t have the right color. I guess I’d want a grey with this?

What I really need is an alternative to my MOTHER Dazzler when I wear flats, so I tried these jeans with the Marc Fisher ballet flats

But for some reason, don’t love this pairing. When raw hem straight ankle jeans are this length, they look great with ballet flats, but the flare seems to chop off the leg at an awkward spot.

I like them even less with these mary jane ballet flats, which are a big trend right now, and one I’ve been wanting to try. More on them below!

VERDICT: I almost returned the jeans because I have plenty of blue jeans for wearing with heels, and I don’t like to have too many choices in my closet. It overwhelms me when I go to put outfits together.

But then I was getting dressed the next day, and I wanted to recreate a look I saw on Instagram, and I realized I needed the shorter length to really pull it off.

Something about this looks so fresh and stylish to me, as opposed to the same outfit with the full length bootcut jeans that I would normally reach for. I should style the same outfit both ways and take pictures to compare… maybe I’ll do that this weekend.

So that was that! I decided to keep them, and I’ve already worn them several times already. If you like this style, but not the price tag, this Madewell pair is a similar color and style.

Treasure & Bond jacket (S) // Caslon long sleeve tee (S) // MOTHER Hustler in Healing Jar (29) (option) // Dolce Vita boots (8) // similar belt // Coach bucket bag // J. Crew earrings // similar necklace

verrry old Burberry Brit Finsbridge quilted coat (M) option // Rails cardigan (S) // MOTHER Hustler in Healing Jar (29) // Vince boots (8.5) // old John Hardy hoops // similar pendant

J. Crew coat (6) // Rails blouse (S) // MOTHER Hustler in Healing Jar (29) (option) // Sam Edelman boots (8) // J. Crew earrings (option) // Madewell necklace

All that to say, I’m glad I kept them! They help add variety to my denim wardrobe, which is always helpful since I wear jeans almost every day.

MOTHER the Dazzler in Holding Hands

at Nordstrom (29) // John + Jenn Cora sweater (S) // Vince boots (8) // Jenny Bird earrings

I ordered these MOTHER Dazzlers when they went on a brief sale a few weeks ago, thinking I would like to have an option in a darker wash, since I wear the light ones so much. I like how they pair with this sweater, and I tried the outfit with the same grey boots as above.

I also tried them with ballet flats and that navy stripe sweater, thinking the dark wash coordinates well with the navy stripes, but the crop sweater is too short with these mid-rise jeans.

In fact, I’m beginning to think the crop sweater is too short, period. I thought I liked it with higher rises… I guess I should try it with the MOTHER Hustler from above.

VERDICT: I like the silhouette of the jeans, but I didn’t find a lot of things in my closet I wanted to pair with this inky dark blue wash. I just couldn’t get excited about them, so I sent them back. If I change my mind, I guess I can re-purchase them, although it’s a shame to give up that sale price. MOTHER denim doesn’t go on sale very often.

RAILS Cheyenne Wool Blend Jacket

at Nordstrom (S) // Splendid thermal (M) // MOTHER Hustler (29) // Vince Hilda boots // earrings

I really only ordered this jacket because I noticed a bunch of sales when I linked it in a shopping widget with a bunch of casual jacket options. I decided if you all liked it that much, I ought to actually try it.

I didn’t think I’d like the huge pockets, but when I tried it on, it just fit so well and looked so effortlessly chic, I knew I was going to have a hard time returning it.

I ended up hanging it in my closet with tags on, to see if I would actually reach for it. As it turns out, I decided to wear it the very next day to meet Paul at the mall for a little pre-season Christmas shopping.

MOTHER The Mid Rise Dazzler Ankle Fray in Riding the Cliffside (also at Bloomingdale’s and Shopbop) (size 29) // Nordstrom cashmere – on sale (S) // Rails Cheyenne Wool Blend Jacket (S) // LØCI Origin logo-patch sneakers (39) // B-Low the Belt (M)

VERDICT: Obviously, I decided to keep it. It’s spendy, but I figure the cost per wear will work itself out over time.

Thread & Supply Quilted Corduroy Jacket

at Nordstrom (M) // Splendid thermal (M) // MOTHER Weekender (29) // Vince Hilda boots

This was the last casual jacket I ordered, and it was another afterthought, like the Rails one. I decided the price was right, and it is different than the others that I have, but I should have ordered a small instead of the medium.

As an aside, these are the MOTHER Weekender, very similar to The Hustler, but with a slightly lower rise and a longer inseam. I also love these, they just have a different vibe, even though those differences are subtle. They almost look more casual, even though they’re longer, and they have a little more of a boho flair?

VERDICT: I have since returned this jacket in the medium and ordered the small. I wore it last week with the same thermal and straight ankle jeans and sneakers.

I definitely like the jacket better in the small, but I don’t like how the jacket and the shirt are the same length when it’s front-tucked. I guess I need to play around with some other options; maybe a higher rise jean would help.

Juliette Collarless Sweater Blazer

at J.Crew (S) // BR top (S) // MOTHER Weekender (29) // Vince Hilda boots (8.5)

After I tried some more traditional blazers a few weeks ago, I ordered this popular sweater blazer from J.Crew. So many people love it, I decided I should give it a chance, even though I didn’t think I’d like the length on me.

It pretty much looks like I expected it to; it rather overwhelms me, I think. I mean, I dunno… it’s just a lot of fabric.

I tried zhuzhing the sleeves, which I know is a basic stylist tip, and it does look better, but let’s be real. If it’s cold enough for this sweater, I’m going to want my sleeves down.

I also ordered the black in a size small, and this definitely fits better. I just think I prefer the camel color.

I still don’t know if it’s something I’d reach for very often or not. Even though it looks nice over top of this blouse, it was very uncomfortable.

The sleeves didn’t want to play well together, and I just feel uncomfortable with sweaters over blouses. It’s too much fabric to futz with, and it’s hard to get it to feel right. The blouse is always bunching up somewhere. Bleh. I don’t know how you people do it!

I’m sure I have mild sensory issues, but there’s only so much I can do about that. It’s a big reason why I stick to pullovers so much of the time.

VERDICT: I returned both. I might try the camel again in an XS if I decide it’s something I think I’ll wear. Maybe over a sleeveless blouse or shell? Or even a t-shirt for some juxtaposition in levels of formality.

Cecile relaxed sweater-blazer

at J.Crew (S) // BR top (S) // MOTHER Weekender (29) // Vince Hilda boots (8.5)

I like this one even less. The relaxed style causes it to hang off my shoulders in a funny way.

Maybe I need to try other styling options before completely eliminating this option, and I could also try a size smaller, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Because I don’t wear blazers (or even cardigans) very often, I don’t have a lot of good base layers to choose from. That’s probably part of my issue, but for the time being, I decided to send this back.

VERDICT: I returned this too.

New Daphne topcoat in Italian boiled wool

at J.Crew (6) // fair isle sweater (S) // MOTHER Dazzler (29) // UGG Classic Ultra Mini (8) // Jenny Bird earrings

I’ve been wanting a longer camel-colored wool blend coat. Longer coats are trending, and I was getting tired of the cocoon style I’ve been wearing for the past few years, so I grabbed this one when it went on sale a few weeks back.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the unlined style, but I think because it’s a boiled wool, it doesn’t “catch” on my sweaters when I pull it on, like you would expect. (See above about my issues with layering.)

It’s actually quite comfortable and easy to pull on and off, and so far, it doesn’t create static – another issue I was anticipating.

VERDICT: Keeping! I’ve worn it a few times already. The pictures above are from a casual shopping trip with my daughter, and I wore it to church one Sunday with an animal print blouse.

J. Crew coat (6) // Rails blouse (S) // MOTHER Hustler in Healing Jar (29) (option) // Sam Edelman boots (8) // J. Crew earrings (option) // Madewell necklace

This was just a doctor appointment, or something mundane.

J. Crew coat (6) // Jenni Kayne sweater (S) // MOTHER Dazzler (29) (option) // Vince flats (8) (similar) // Jenny Bird earrings

I believe this was church last Sunday.

J. Crew coat (6) // Rails Harris sweater (S) // Paige Laurel Canyon jeans (29) // Vince boots (8) // Coach bucket bag // old John Hardy hoops // similar pendant

And I just created this outfit for blog photos; I guess I haven’t worn it yet, but I love it. The juxtaposition of the coat and the sneakers is so fresh and fun.

J. Crew coat (6) // Jenni Kayne sweater (S) // MOTHER Dazzler (29) (option) // LØCI sneakers (8) // rag & bone belt – on sale! (more sizes) (M) // similar sunnies

The Greta Ballet Flat in Chocolate Raisin

at Madewell (8) // Nordstrom cardigan (S) // MOTHER Dazzler (29)

So yeah, these ballet flats. I’ve been wanting them since I first started seeing them around town… and by that, I mean on some of my favorite influencers to follow for style inspo.

They typically look best with straight leg jeans, so I tried them with my MOTHER Dazzlers, and I suppose it works, but I just feel like they look juvenile on me.

I typically see them worn with more of a traditional rigid denim with finished hems, so I swapped the MOTHER Dazzler for the AGOLDE Riley… and yeah, no. It just isn’t working.

I think the jeans need to be shorter, so they don’t come so close to the strap on the shoe, but I still just don’t think this is a look that feels authentic to me.

VERDICT: Returned. That said, if you like the look, the leather on these is verrrry soft and comfortable.

LØCI Nine Logo Sneakers

at Bloomingdale’s (8)

I can’t remember where I came across these LØCI sneakers, but the instant I saw them, I was dedicated to trying them.

As People Magazine says: “The “Ø” logo that marks each shoe is subtle, sophisticated, and intriguing.”

Evidently, celebs Olivia Wilde and Eva Longoria made them popular, or at least, made them known. I don’t know if they’re popular, as I haven’t seen anyone I know or follow wearing them.

But that’s also partly why I like them. They aren’t ubiquitous yet, and maybe they won’t ever be, but they have such a great look to them, and they’re supremely comfortable too.

I think it’s fun to wear something cool that is a little under the radar.

I ordered two pairs to try. The ones I really wanted were the black and stone color combination, which are the ones that have received so much attention from celebs.

I wear so much camel and black that I knew they would be super versatile in my wardrobe, and I like how they tie those colors together. But they proved very hard to find. I was super excited to finally locate them at Farfetch, and on sale.

In the meantime, I ordered this white/stone color way at Bloomingdale’s. I actually think this one is more versatile, as the black tab on the other pair is rather stark against the rest of the shoe.

But then when I went to wear my new Rails wool blend jacket over the camel cashmere sweater, I knew I wanted the stone/black pair as well.

VERDICT: I am almost embarrassed to admit it, but I kept both.

I wouldn’t recommend that, honestly, but when I was shooting outfits with Alison and trying to decide which pair to keep, each pair seemed to work best with different outfits.

Well, once I had worn them outside for pictures, I couldn’t return them, so here I am with two pairs of virtually the same shoe. I guess I’ll have to file this one under occupational hazards, along with that black Rails jacket.

Holiday Cocktail Dresses

I really should stop this post here and post the holiday party dresses tomorrow, since I have a few more coming in that I want to photograph. It makes sense to keep them all together, but I’m on a roll, so let’s keep going.

As you may remember, I’m attending my husband’s company holiday party in Chicago in a few weeks, and the dress code is cocktail/black tie optional.

I tried on a bunch of dresses last week and pretty much hated how I felt in all of them. They were my go-to sheath style, and because it’s going to be Chicago in December, most had sleeves.


The feedback from you all was immensely helpful, and I realized I need to break outside of my comfort zone a little bit and try some different fabrics and silhouettes. Satin fabrics and drapey, more fluid silhouettes are more current, as are one shoulder styles and midi lengths.

So! I set out to try some new styles, and here’s some of what I found. Unfortunately, I misjudged sizing on many of them, and pictures were unhelpful (or downright indecent, lol!) But I photographed the ones I could.

Xscape Evenings Ruffle Off the Shoulder Velvet Cocktail Dress

at Nordstrom (8) // Talbots slingback pumps

This dress still has my typical sheath silhouette, but the big ruffle is fun and dramatic, and the off-the-shoulder style is different for me.

I never wear off-the-shoulder styles because I have a visceral reaction to the idea of wearing a strapless bra that hearkens back to the day that I wore a 32G. I also assumed the horizontal line across my clavicle would make my already square shoulders look wider, but one of you suggested this dress, so I thought I would give it a try. What do I have to lose?

The good news is, I can confirm that strapless bras are waaaaaay more comfortable when you wear a 34D. And the off-the-shoudler thing doesn’t look as bad as I expected, but something about this dress just looks off to me.

I feel like it ages me, and also makes me look like I’m trying to wear something that’s too young for me, all at the same time.

VERDICT: It went back.

Eliza J. Velvet One Shoulder Dress

at Bloomingdale’s (8) // old Stuart Weitzman heels

I really wish I’d taken time to put on makeup for these pictures, but it was getting dark, and I was trying to hurry. ANYWAY. This one is too small, so it isn’t fully zipped, but I like it a lot better than the off-the-shoulder style.

The one-shoulder look is way more modern and sophisticated, and I like the simpler lines, and that side slit, as well. I feel like this one is a contender, what say you???

VERDICT: Returned and re-ordered in a size 10.

Norma Kamali xRevolve Strapless Midi Dress in Red

at Revolve (M) // Talbots kitten heels c/o

This dress is another Susie Wright recommendation. She has the black and wears it a myriad of ways, but I’ve never cared for strapless dresses on me, and I’ve pretty much given up wearing anything this body-conscious.

That said, it looks amazing on her, and I was getting desperate to find something for this event. The comments on last week’s post about finding a simple, but elegant style resonated with me, and this seemed to fit the bill, so I figured, what do I have to lose? Plus, I was just curious.

All that to say, I was quite surprised when I actually liked how I looked in this dress! It does feel a little nekkid with nothing on my shoulders, and the red seems a bit much in combination with that, but I love the elegant simplicity and the way it fits, so I decided to give the black a try. (I had ordered both.)

Norma Kamali Strapless Midi Dress

at Revolve (M) // on sale at Bloomingdale’s (M) // Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps

I like the black even better, but I still wasn’t sure I wanted something va-va-voom, and I still felt kind of bare, so I decided to style it how I might actually wear it and see how I felt.

The only way to pull off this simple dress for a black tie optional affair is to accessorize the heck out of it, so I went to my dresser to see what I could find, and I grabbed these old J.Crew earrings and this LOFT necklace, and then I added a bracelet. I also grabbed my sparkle clutch.

These don’t necessarily work go together, but I just wanted to see how it would look with dressy accessories.

Also, I sort of like these cranberry suede pumps with it, but I’m not sure that’s what I want for this event. I also tried my Stuart Weitzman strappy heels that I’m wearing with the dress above, but I didn’t get a picture with those, for whatever reason.

VERDICT: I’m unsure. This dress is so far out of my typical comfort zone, I cannot believe I’m even considering it, but it just feels right to me somehow. I’m curious to hear what you all think.

Aidan Mattox Scuba-Crepe Illusion Dress

at Bloomingdale’s (8) // old Stuart Weitzman heels

This is another dress you all suggested, and I really like it. It’s different from the rest, and probably different from anything I’ll see at the event, but I kind of like that. And it still has that structured sheath style that I like so much. It could be a contender, as well.

After this try-on sesh, I texted pictures to my husband of the three contenders, and he immediately said he liked the strapless. Go figure!

Now, maybe it’s because it is the only one I had accessorized appropriately, but when I showed the same pictures to my daughter, she agreed with him, so that one may be the winner.

But why stop there? Two more dresses came in yesterday…

Vince Camuto Embellished Cap Sleeve Sheath Dress

at Nordstrom (8) // gold Sam Edelman heels – on sale!

I actually like this one a lot too. It’s still a sheath, but the fabric is really fun, and I like the way the sleeves are cut, creating a bit of a diagonal line that helps de-emphasize my shoulders.

The best part about this one is, I can wear a regular bra, and it has a lot of structure. I know I won’t feel the least bit self-conscious about wearing something strapless and body-con. Also, it won’t require nearly as much accessorizing, and I already have gold shoes.

If I had tried this dress in the last batch, I doubt I would have looked any further. But now that I have options that are more modern, and maybe more sophisticated/elegant, I’m unsure.

Banana Republic Treccia Hammered Satin Dress

at Banana Republic (S) // gold Sam Edelman heels – on sale!

I love this one, in theory. It’s definitely got a more modern vibe, and I’m trying to keep my personal style goals in mind here: modern, polished, and understated.

This one fits the bill, and the color is stunning, and also somewhat unexpected for the holidays. But I really don’t feel like it flatters me the way the others do.

So that’s what I have so far! Believe it or not, there are a few more coming. I know, I am certifiable. But I also hope it’s be a helpful resource for you all. I’ve already had some of you message me and say you purchased some of the dresses that didn’t work for me, so I figure this project is part personal, part blog research.

I am happy to be your guinea pig because you give back so much in the way of feedback and advice. Last week, you all really helped me clarify what I didn’t like about the dresses I tried and what I need to look for.

As I always say, I’m not a style expert; I’m an everyday woman who likes to shop, trying to figure it out like everyone else. I’m just crazy enough to put it all online!

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122 Responses

  1. The black and gold dress is the one! Shows of your long legs and it’s perfect for your skin tone!! As soon as I saw this one I knew it was the one!!! It’s perfect for you! Stunningly perfect!!

  2. My favorites are the one shoulder Eliza J and the Aidan Mattox Scuba-Crepe Illusion Dress. The latter one may be more versatile and not a “wear one time” type dress if you have another event to attend. The one shoulder dress is very striking and you could wear some statement earrings along with your great clutches to accessorize–it looks more holiday due to the velvet to me.
    The strapless black is good too and would be versatile for other events if you like the strapless part.

  3. It’s the black strapless one for sure. It may be out of your typical comfort zone, but pictures don’t lie. You look perfect for this type of event.

  4. The black/gold and the black strapless are definitely your two contenders! You look amazing in both. I prefer the black/gold because your legs look so long in it and the tone is pretty against your skin. However, if you like both and your husband loves the strapless, I’d go with that!

  5. I love the black strapless dress on you, it’s very flattering. Lovely length on you and you have the shoulders and arms to carry the style off . Best so far in my opinion!

  6. The sleeveless black looks amazing, is a classic, you can’t go wrong with it. But, wow, that black and gold… stunning!!

  7. The embellished gold is perfect! Trust me, I can no longer wear fitted dresses like that! You are rocking that dress! Do it as long as you can, Sister! You will miss dresses like this when you get older!

  8. Okay Jo-Lynne, you looks equally beautiful in the Norma Kamala black dress as you do in the Vince Canute gold/black dress.
    Thanks for sharing and trying on so many dresses.

  9. Try the Juliette with more of a narrow leg pant, a nice tee, and simple ballet flats or classic heels open back/open toe looks nice. The wider leg pant does make it feel like too much fabric. It is a beautiful piece. Definitely size down.

    Glad to see you feature items other than jeans, sneakers, and basic tops.

    I think you look best in narrow leg pants and longer jackets, sweaters/tops. Boot cut pants with heels and a more fitted top seem like a good balance, too!

  10. I love the Norma black strapless dress and the black and gold.. my only worry would be at an event that might be large in numbers could someone else show up with the same dress ? pattern dresses can be much easier to notice in duplicates than perhaps a plain black🤷‍♀️just my thoughts! But you rock them both!

  11. I like the Eliza J the best. The others are pretty too. The strapless is very nice as well ( I follow Susie too and love that dress) but if you aren’t truly comfortable with it the strapless then maybe forgo it? Also the BR dress is a beautiful color–wonder if an XS might work? Good luck! Oh, thank you for trying the Juliette cardigan. I was tempted to try it as well but will not–I agree with you, too much fabric or something! Might be nice for someone else. Thanks again for all you do!

    1. Yeah I was thinking I might need to size down in the BR dress. I like it and I LOVE the color, but I think I prefer the vibe of the black one shoulder and strapless dresses. Feels more authentic to me.

  12. I like the one-shoulder and the black and gold. I think the black and gold has the edge. It really is lovely with your complexion.

  13. I loooove the black/gold Vince Camuto one on you! The pattern is so different and it in terms of fit it looks like it was made for you!

  14. I agree with most of the comments that the Norma Kamali and the Vince Camuto are the winners. The only thing I have to add is that I have a couple of Kamali dresses that I’ve had for at least 7 years and have worn repeatedly to various events and functions. Her styles are timeless and versatile- and easy care. I also have a shimmery Vince Camuto dress that I love but don’t find occasion to wear it nearly as often.

  15. I like the black and gold dress the best. It makes your legs look really long and the cap sleeve highlights your upper half. The strapless dress looks nice but I feel like even with the accessories, the strapless style makes your shoulders look a little more broad than they are. But in the end, you know what you’ll feel comfortable in and that’s the important part. Have fun!

  16. IMO you look STUNNING in the strapless, both colors! That said, I think you’re wrong about it needing to be heavily accessorized– quite the opposite, actually, I think simplicity is your friend for that one. Sleek, pulled-back hair, simple makeup with one striking focus (heavy top liner/mascara OR a red lip), nude sandals, one or two bold bracelets, no necklace. But as beautiful as that would be, I’m sensing that’s not a look you would be comfortable with. The Aidan Mattox scuba dress is SO beautiful and elegant, current without being edgy– it would be easy to wear, and I think you would likely feel very comfortable wearing it. But the winner for you, IMO, is the Vince Camuto gold minidress– not something we’ve typically seen you in, especially with the short length, but WOW! You are glowing in that one! I think you would feel fun, fashion forward, and very special wearing that for a dressy evening out 🙂

    1. I tried the strapless without a necklace and it felt really naked. Paul agreed it looks better with one. I found a better option but not sure what earrings to pair with it. I’m also not one to do the slicked back hair thing but maybe a super sleek straight style? I could even clip one side back. That would be different and fun.

  17. personally I just “say no” to mary janes – with a nearly size 10 shoe I need NOTHING to make my feet look bigger ha.

    Now on the cocktail dress – – – I still love the top row middle long sleeve goldy one with different shoes but of the new ones I really think the one shoulder looks awesome on you and actually I like the teal one you felt didn’t make you look your best because you have great legs and that color is great on you. Can’t wait to see which you pick or what you end up wearing I should say 🙂

  18. I think you would likely choose the Vince Camuto dress because that is your comfort zone but since you mentioned stepping out a bit…I would consider the Eliza one shoulder dress! Looks wonderful on you!

  19. WOW!! The Black and Gold is my vote, You look absolutely STUNNING!! The Black strapless is pretty too but something about the Vince Camuto makes you look over the top BEAUTIFUL!

  20. The Norma strapless in black. I’d add a shimmery shawl & wow jewelry. The Vince sheath is a definite contender too. Both are stunning!

  21. Ok, what’s with the lining peeking out below the hem of the black/gold one? That bothers me. But I LOVE the one-shoulder and the black strapless! You rock both!

    1. Oh yeah, in my rush to get this posted and get out the door this morning, I forgot to mention that that dress is too small and also the one shoulder black dress is too small. Neither were zipped quite all the way up. So I have ordered the 10 in both. I don’t think the lining will show in the right size.

  22. Great choices! Depending on the vibe of the event I’d go one shoulder if a little more formal and the Vince Camuto if a little more festive. Worried you won’t feel comfortable in the strapless

  23. The Vince black and gold looks FABULOUS! Just the right amount of festive, fresh, sexy, polished and sophisticated. I feel like you wouldn’t be self conscious or futzing with it during the event, and could just fully enjoy the evening. The strapless and off shoulder dresses look great on you too, but is this event one you really want to go so out of your comfort zone (with a dress that’s overtly more sexy). I’m not a fan of the Aidan Mattox scuba dress. Something about the length and lace overlay just seems like a nighty to me.

  24. I love the camel sweater blazer with those jeans. So updated. Just get your base layers you like. I don’t like blouses to mess with either. Makes me crazy. Just get your right size you like, but I don’t mind the size you posted. You really should keep it. In the camel color.
    As for the dress for your event. I don’t like the strapless. The first thing I saw was your uneven tan on your chest. I don’t think you’ll feel comfortable so bare on a Winter night in Chicago. Plus I think everyone will be in black. The red isn’t as flattering with your fair skin. My favorite is the gold and black with those beautiful sandals. You have the legs for it and it looks great on you. My 2 nd choice is the Eliza J. Look no further. Go with the black and gold one.

      1. lol. Great idea. Never thought of that. The more I look at the dresses I like the teal one too. It’s just classy and different in a neat way. Love the color on you. Did you decide your choice yet? You really look good in all of them.

  25. My vote goes for the black and gold mini dress—it looks equally stunning and comfortable! The 2 strapless also look great, but that one seems very you, and comfort counts… I recently wore a strapless dress to a black-tie optional wedding—got a great strapless minimizer bra, fashion tape, etc & then ended up never taking off the little shrug I wore over it. Even though my daughter said the dress looked great, I realized at 60+ I felt a bit too bare in it once I got to the event… Just my 2 cents!

  26. I love the Vince Camuto capped sleeve dress on you. It looks more effortless. And more you. The strapless dress that Susie Wright always wears looks good, but you don’t look comfortable. And she ALWAYS wears a jacket with hers.

  27. I love the velvet one shoulder, the black strapless & the gold & black. If you want one you could wear anytime of the year, the strapless is it. I do love the other 2 as standouts. You look great in all three.
    The crew coat cardigan also did not work for me. I’m 6 feet tall but it just sort of hung off me. I love it on others but can’t quite nail the body shape it works better on? Curvier? Shorter?

  28. I like the gold dress the best. The sweater blazer looks too big on you. I like the school boy sweater blazer from JCrew factory. They are more structured and not so much fabric. If you don’t like blazers don’t wear them. I don’t think you’re not on trend if you don’t wear them. I like the dark jeans better than the other jeans. The frayed boot cut jeans look too casual for the nice coat and boots. In my opinion it just seems off. As far as Mary Jane shoes go I wore them when I was under 12 and that’s enough. My 12 year old granddaughter wouldn’t wear them even when she was 10. I just don’t understand grown women wearing them with socks now.

  29. As a corporate event veteran, go with the Vince black and gold. It looks wonderful on you, will be easy to accessorize and in general is the best look of the bunch! The kamali is too plain, the scuba too young and fussy. The rest are blah or not flattering enough. Go with your instincts.

  30. I LOVE the Vince black and gold!! I feel like it’s more unique than the other typical black dresses AND it looks like it was made for your body! Honestly, you look fabulous in most of the dresses, but the Vince dress is just so different and you’ll definitely stand out (in a good way)! My 2 cents 😉

  31. I love the Vince Camuto Embellished Cap Sleeve Sheath Dress!!!! As soon as I opened my email and saw the picture – I thought – that must be the dress Jo-Lynne picked! If not – you’re over thinking and stressing for not – this is the dress!

  32. The strapless black dress is so classic looking with your assessories! You will turn heads with it! I would like to see it hemmed to the top of your calf (no knee showing) for the perfect body contour. It truly is stunning on you. Same with the black dress you wore to a wedding last summer(?)

      1. If you decide on that one but don’t have time to get it hemmed, you could try an iron on hem tape. I wouldn’t use it on delicate fabric but a thicker velvet like that shouldn’t be a problem.

  33. I love the black one shoulder dress absolutely the best. I would add long elegant earrings almost to your shoulders, and a sparkly cuff bracelet along with your sparkly evening bag as your only accessories. Invest in a new pair of beautiful shoes that don’t have 4” heels so you can enjoy the event with your husband. Wear your faux fur jacket, of course. Happy holidays!

  34. The Vince Camuto Embellished Cap Sleeve Dress:

    its modern and fresh, different from the ordinary, comfortable, and its YOU!

  35. Aidan Maddox scuba dress or cap sleeved embellished Vince Camuto. Enough are stunners, amd you look amazing in them without seven trying.

  36. I’m not really a fan of the Aadon Madox….I think its actually just a bit too much. I like the understated, simple but classic.
    My vote goes to either the velvet one shoulder, or the black strapless fully accessorized!. The cranberry pumps with the strapless are perfect.
    The Juliette Cardigan is beautiful but I think you are just approaching it wrong…it does need to be a smaller size….I went down two full sizes in it. Its not so much a cardigan as a coat/cardigan so needs to be worn as such. I prefer mine when I wear it with that in mind, with a scarf or something and as part of my outfit…not just as an afterthought to throw on to keep warm. The length of it requires a bit of a heel, not sneakers (in my opinion). I purchased it on the advice of Susie Wright who does an amazing job of styling it….albeit she is petite and I am not lol. My favourite way to wear it is with a somewhat tonal matching of a cashmere type top under it with a camel and navy scarf I purchased in Germany this summer and navy or dark jeans…..I get compliments every time I wear it this way. Its heavy looking so I feel a lighter weight scarf of some sort lightens it up a bit…and yes, I’m aware scarves have to be used carefully these days…but sometimes you get the right combo and it works perfectly.

    1. ok…to add to the Juliette…a tonal top and white jeans looks really good with it too…sometimes a lighter bottom than dark as in navy as I stated above works better with it.

      After reading the other comments I’ve been swayed and also agree that the Black & Gold dress really is beautiful on you. Glitzy but still simple and classic. Also agree that the strapless needs accessorizing but not too much. Earrings and bracelet and a sparkly clutch…no to a necklace.
      I would also consider wearing your hear up for these dresses…nothing to fancy but you could really pull that look off with your dark hair and it would really elevate any of the dresses.


  37. Velvet one shoulder is my favorite on you. The shorter ones not so much even though you have amazing legs! Loved the black sweater, white blouse and jeans on you. Will definitely copy that look.

  38. Great post! I also vote for the Vince Camuto black/gold dress! If I had your legs, I would wear it also!! I think you’ll be more comfortable in that than the strapless one. And it will stand out (in a good way) in a sea of all black.
    As for the mary jane’s, I personally think they are awkward (unless you’re 10)! Another blogger I follow wears them alot, but she’s in her late 30’s and is as thin as can be! All trends are certainly not for everyone!!!

  39. Well I am clearly in the minority but I love the Aidan Mattox dress on you! I think it is perfect for the occasion. It is youthful without being too young, shows off your figure, and yet is comfortably covering. Plus it would not require much in the accessory department. The black strapless looks amazing on you but if it were me I would worry all night about it accidently slipping down. I would never feel comfortable in it. The black and gold looks fabulous on you too and it’s clearly the popular winner in the comments. But something about it feels like the dresses I have seen women wearing to my husband’s office holiday parties for years. It doesn’t feel as fresh to me personally. Overall this set of dresses is so much better and now you have some terrific options!

    1. I feel the same about the black and gold. Something about it is holding me back. I want more elegant and understated for this event. The strapless really doesn’t budge. It’s very well made and feels comfortable but it also feels very body-con for my age – even with good shapewear it seems to highlight more lumps and bumps than I’d like. Oddly, the strapless part is of lesser concern to me. I also found a shimmery scarf I like with it. But the one shoulder is also still an option.

  40. This was so fun to almost be sitting on your bed while you tried these on and we commented about each dress. I agree with you about strapless and feeling comfortable, wanting to look age-appropriate but not matronly. Some of your contenders were “OK” but when you tried on the Vince Camuto gold and black with the cap sleeves the angels started singing!! This is the one! And the strappy sandals are perfect. Add your faux fur jacket and you will be the beautiful and happy!! That’s my two cents 😀

  41. I like gold one with the strappy heels. It really shows off your legs. You have nice legs so play them up. Plus, it has cap sleeves and it will be really cold in Chicago. And, the best part is no strapless bra or spanx.

  42. Love the black and gold with your gold sandals. Looks made for you! If you don’t wear it for this party, buy it anyway for the next occasion. Maybe NEW YEARS EVE?

  43. I love seeing all the dresses! I don’t wear many in the holidays—you have given me something to think about.
    I love the one shoulder dress on you is stunning— that symmetrical design is slimming and modern. That being said the strapless dresses are also close contenders.
    Thanks for showing us all the selections and your ideas as you pare down the options.

  44. Vince Camuto allll the way!!! You have great legs so show them off and you won’t be self conscious about feeling so bare. You will have a great night if you are comfortable.. The Vince dress is perfect for a company party classy and sassy all in one😉

  45. Jo-Lynne, you look gorgeous in most of the cocktail dresses. I’m just chiming in because if I understand right, this is a work related event, and unless I missed it I haven’t seen any discussion about what’s appropriate for work cocktail attire vs. social cocktail attire. Only you/your husband know his corporate culture, but having planned/attended quite a few corporate cocktail attire events (although none so glamorous as this thing in Chicago sounds, and most in the 1990s, so a long time ago), I’m feeling leery of the dresses that show a lot of skin, any cleavage at all, or are rather short. I can already tell you almost 100% you will be one of the best dressed there in any of the dresses you’ve showed us so far. Would it be a good idea to try to find out what kind of direction some of the other women are going to go with their attire? You want to look fabulous, but you don’t want to stand out too much at most work events, if you know what I mean. You will have no problem looking fab!!!

  46. The black one shoulder or black strapless have my vote! You look amazing in the black and gold as well but I like the formality of the longer dresses especially for a work related event! But if comfort is key and you don’t want to be fussing with undergarments, the black and gold is the way to go.

  47. My fave on you is the black velvet off shoulder with slit skirt. It’s edgy, sexy and looks great. Did you husband see that one? IMHO, The black or red strapless looks like a tube dress and is too long for your pretty legs.

    1. I tried it on for him last night. The larger size I needed came in. He is between that and the strapless. The one shoulder was doing something funky in the back, he said. And the size up is almost too big. It’s like I’m in between sizes. I also don’t love the length on me – at least, from the back. I would love bo bring it up to right below the knee. But I’m running out of time. 🤪

  48. My favorites are the velvet Eliza J and the black Norma Kamali. You look amazing in both! I don’t think I would wear something far out of my comfort zone, though, I feel awkward enough at those sort of events as it is without feeling fully confident and comfortable that my dress is “me”.

  49. Wow much better cocktail dress options this time! The Eliza J one shoulder velvet is my favorite, but I also like the strapless one. I agree that I’d do black instead of red, but I might try bringing in some color with shoes and jewelry. Maybe a garnet necklace and earrings with those dark red heels you’re wearing? Or even a bright red shoe and ruby heels? I actually think the teal dress flatters you but doesn’t seem dressy enough. More like a church dress than party dress. And I love the black and gold sequin, but it feels like New Year’s Eve. But I’m glad you have several strong contenders now and can’t wait see the last few!

  50. The black and gold! It looks stunning on you and also looks comfortable. All the others have been seen before and you’d be constantly pulling up the tops and adjusting and those looks are getting bleh! The teal dress looks cheap, and looks like it would wrinkle badly. It also reminds me of bad Project Runway project and looks like it was never finished.
    Go BLACK and GOLD!

  51. Oh wow, these dress options are great–much better than the last group. I’d pick the Camuto black and gold sheath, for sure! Looks stunning on you and will be so much more interesting than the sea of traditional black cocktail dresses. The Eliza J is beautiful/elegant (a bit conservative?) and the black Kamali is va-va-voom (not surprised your husband likes it) but you have the legs for the shorter dress, so I say show them off. That one is the stand-out!

  52. I absolutely love the Eliza J dress on you! As soon as I saw it I said , YES! That looks great on you, know it’s the wrong size but so pretty. Can’t wait to see what else you have coming. So far this one is the one I would pick. Thanks for the Try-on haul, I really get soo much inspiration from them! I will be keeping an eye on those low heel boots. Love the look of them with the jeans. Hope you have a wonderful time hosting tomorrow.🌲

  53. Personally, i think the collarless sweater blazers look so much better with scarves. I sure wish scarves would come back in style. (Not that it stops me from wearing them!))

  54. I tried the J Crew Juliette several times, sizing down to a xs. It’s still a lot of fabric and very boxy. Not a fan.

    For formal dresses….wow, the black & gold is a stunner! You look amazing in it!

    The black strapless looks good on you too, but even accessorized I feel like it’s a dress we’ve all seen before and you will be lost in a sea of all black dresses. It’s nice, but the Vince dress is young & fresh!

  55. I know that you want Paul to love the dress that you wear to his office party and I don’t blame you. Right now I thank the the Eliza J and the Vince Camuto dresses look fabulous on you. From my experiences attending corporate parties where black tie was optional, I know that we want to be very comfortable and confident in the dress and shoes that we wear. Good luck!

  56. The black and gold dress gets my vote! Your legs look stunning and those are the perfect shoes. 2nd choice would be the one shoulder. Although the strapless looks nice, I feel like it important to be totally confident/comfortable in your outfit, especially at a work event. Personally, I’ve never worn a strapless dress to an event without regretting it and feeling self conscious.

  57. LOVE the strapless…both colors. Think elegant. Filling the space with the necklace breaks up the negative space that “bare feeling” you are having… but NOT with those earrings. They are way too big and draw your eye up in kind of weird way. Talk about your shoulders, they are perfect for strapless.
    A straight line that then goes into your curves.

    The Vince dress is also a really nice choice. The fabric is fun and festive , the style suits you so well. Really cute.

    Either way you can’t go wrong…it just depends on what you feel is this party vibe. Fun & festive, or elegant & reserved. The strapless, you look immediately to your face, the Vince you see the dress

    1. I think you sum it up well with the different party vibes. I feel this is more conservative/elegant. I think that’s why I keep feeling drawn to the black dresses rather than the shorter black and gold one.

  58. OMG the Vince Camuto blk and gold dress struck me as hands down #1. Your legs are an asset and this dress emphasizes legs and covers areas in a way that makes you feel comfortable. [Shoulder shrug] makes sense and looks fabulous and modern.

  59. Love the Black Strapless and the Black-and-Gold!
    Both look beautiful on you……. Hubby is the tie-breaker here!
    I have your same body type and size and just ordered BOTH!
    Thank you for everything you do! You’ve made me a fashion junky who’s become great friends with all the UPS delivery guys 😎

  60. Okay this is the 3rd time I’ve tried to leave a comment here. Ugh- ever since you made blog changes I can’t seem to read on my phone without a hundred pop-up ads covering the text and then all your commentary and pictures is in a skinny column and it’s hard to see. Then when I’m typing, if I scroll back up to look at a picture I get bumped out completely. So, I’m now trying once more to see if I could get this comment to stick without the blog closing out on me.

  61. My favorites on you are the Pisarro beaded for a dress with sleeves, the Elija J one shoulder velvet, and the Aidan Mattox scuba crepe. All three are elegant and modern and yet sexy on you. The strapless is beautiful on you too, but seems to emphasize your shoulders and neck. The Vince Camuto is great on you too, but reminds me of the prom dresses the high school girls wear here in the Chicago suburbs where I live ( maybe it’s the fact that it’s so short and tight .. if you get another size that may be helpful).
    Whatever you decide though will be perfect for you and your comfort level.

    1. If the sleeves bother you on the Pisarro beaded dress could they be removed? ( some commenters stated 3/4 sleeves look matronly..I don’t but think so, but others do). I love that color on you and the dress fits you beautifully. Just a thought.

  62. I think your best choices are either the one shoulder dress or the gold/black dress. The one shoulder is a striking neckline on you. The gold/black is a very flattering color combination for you.

    You look great in the strapless dress – but do you feel as confident and assured in that one? It could be a great dress to purchase and wear at a different event 🙂

  63. Love love love the Vince Camuto cap sleeve. You look great, comfortable, dressy, yet fun, not stiff. Personally I would want it an inch or so longer, but if you can sit comfortably and it doesn’t ride up when walking/dancing, it’s my favorite. Bonus it doesn’t need a ton of accessories to dress it up.

  64. The gold and black, and either of the strapless dresses are the best ones imo. I think you just need to decide on the vibe you want to project at this event. Do you want to be elegant and sophisticated? Or fun and flirty? The strapless for elegant and sophisticated, and the gold/black for fun and flirty. If you go with the strapless, you absolutely cannot wear those pumps though. If you choose the red, the gold shoes would be great. With the black strapless, your Stuart weitzman strappy sandals. Plus simple accessories but very elevated — diamonds ideally. Maybe a pop of red with the black dress if you have a ruby ring or something like that. Looking forward to seeing what you choose!

  65. As good as the strapless black dress looks, you look more comfortable and confident in the black and gold dress which is stunning on you! Maybe something to consider when you look ahead to spending a whole evening in an outfit. Another thing to consider is how much you’re going to be outside and what kind of coat you’re going to need (no idea if you’re going to be out in the cold at all or just going from a warm car into the party). Either dress would be a fantastic choice. Maybe try both of them on with the exact shoes, accessories, bras and topper you’d be wearing that evening.

  66. I love the Vince Camuto sheath on you! It’s perfect with your coloring and looks fabulous on you with your great legs!

  67. The hustler with the low heeled boots is my jam, I haven’t bought any full length boot cut/flares this season and not regretting it. I love shoes too much to hide them 🙂 If you go strapless I would level up to something more structured, lined, and with zip.

  68. I really loved the dresses by Eliza J and Norma Kamali in black on you. They looked stunning in that order. But for me, the Aidan Mattox was the winner because it was elegant and beautiful on you but the little touches of the embroidery/embellishments, the flouncewith the cut out area, the length all elevated it to a super unique and very classy look. Just beautiful. Also was it a dark navy or black? It looks navy which is beautiful.

  69. The Vince Camuto black and gold dress and the Black strapless Norma Kamali with all the bling are your two best looks. Each dress gives off a different vibe. Both show your advantages. Outstanding choices! I hope you feel comfortable in either one because you look great! Go girl!

  70. My favorite dresses are the one-shoulder Eliza J (so classy and it looks good on you just like I thought it would), and the gold/black Vince Camuto (beautiful fabric and great style). The strapless black is very flattering too, but can you dance in it? Would you run the risk of a wardrobe malfuntion?
    I like the Mary Jane’s and love that whole outfit you styled with them (the white tank, cardigan sweater and Agolde jeans -perfection IMO. I almost ordered that same pair on BF, but a friend who works for Madewell told me they offer no support so I definitely couldn’t wear them to work. I ordered the Vince ones from Nordstrom but haven’t tried them on yet (I have a tower of boxes in my home office at the moment!) I have and LOVE the JCrew Juliette cardigan in black- XS. You have to size way down in that one. I think the black looked wonderful on you over the white blouse and jeans. The camel Juliette looked way too big on you, but honestly (don’t hate me) I think the camel button up coat you ended up keeping looks too big on you too. It hides your figure. Do you have a link to the camel colored scarf you’re wearing with the long black coat and jeans?
    Lastly, how did I not notice your hair before?! Girl! It is SO long now! Wow, those vitamins you’re taking are working! Lovely and youthful. 🙂
    So I’m leaving this comment on my laptop because it’s become impossible to read your great blog on my iPhone. The pop-up ads are much too distracting and that skinny column on the left is difficult to read, but when I pinch to enlarge I get bumped out of the blog completely. Has anyone else had trouble? Sorry to complain…..Still love your blog.

    1. I am so sorry the blog is still being wonky for you. I do not understand. No one else seems to be having that issue anymore. (That I’m aware of.) My new design is going up in a couple months. Hopefully that will reset it and we can iron out the kinks.

      1. I seem to be the only one complaining (but my husband says that just comes naturally to me 😜…I’m just a little bit outspoken 😏). Fingers crossed things return to normal on my phone after your final changes and roll out. I know you’ve worked hard on it. I just love the convenience of reading and shopping from my phone. But I’m not going away!

        1. I had this problem on another blog a while back. A fellow reader told me a setting to change to fix it. Unfortunately I don’t remember what it was, but maybe your phone tech ppl could tell you? It is hard to explain that weird column on the left so you might need to take a screenshot. Also I had several apps act funny when I downloaded the most recent iOS update. Apps customer service finally figured it out but took three calls. Good luck!

  71. The black and gold dress is smashing! Also like the green shorter one, in fact if you could keep both as they would be so nice to have for other possible events as well. My pick for your Chicago trip would be either the one shoulder velvet dress or the black sleeveless dress and you could carry a wrap to put on just in case. They are both so classy and those Stuart Weitzman heels look great with both if you can tolerate them for a long period, I know I couldn’t. Those wine pumps also look really pretty with the sleeveless dress. You look stunning in all of them!
    Great post!

  72. I love your try-on posts. Your comments are so helpful. My favorite cocktail dress on you is the one-shoulder. Perfect flattering length.

  73. I love the velvet one shoulder on you. The combo of the velvet and the satin is giving me modern feminine tuxedo vibes. I feel like the strapless may be too bare for a work event-maybe keep that for a special night out with Paul? I recently saw a younger influencer talking about the modern way to do sequins, and she dismissed an allover sequined dress in favor of a sequin skirt paired with satin-that has really stuck with me. This round of dresses was so much better than the first. You definitely have some good options!

  74. I went to a Christmas party last night and was really wishing I had the faux fur coat from gap. I would have ordered it but I wouldn’t have arrived in time. Love all the dresses on you. Don’t understand grown women wearing the ballet slippers. I know they’re in style though.

  75. I live in Chicago and have attended many formal (finance) work events. You look great in everything. The black sequined dress from your first try on would be great. I also love the gold and black Vince dress or the BR green satin one. Honestly, don’t over think it and go with something you feel good in. We’re a conservative city dress wise and less is definitely more here.

  76. Thank you for such a great post! I am glad I am not the only one who can’t make the J Crew cardigan/sweater blazers work right. Can you recommend some full length denim options that are at a lower price point? I did try the Gap ones you mentioned in a recent post and I felt as if they were falling down in an hour. I am at a loss for jeans. I’d like maybe full length for the winter. Appreciate any help!

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