Back to black

Afycollection

 

Black Dress / One Shoulder Dress / LBD / Little Black Dress / Pencil Dress / Prom Dress / Party Dress / 330 / marcellamoda - MD003

marcellamoda

 

laminuinette

 

black pleated long dress/ elegant and minimalist/ urban look and simple/ evening dress

yennodiusstudio

 

simple A line linen dress with your choice of sleeve length made to order listing

linenclothingbyanny

 

custom linen bottle spiral dress made to fit listing

linenclothingbyanny

 

Black Kaftan/Asymmetrical Tunic/ Black Dress/Black Casual Kaftan/ Party Dress/Dress/One Shoulder Dress/F1470

FloAtelier

 

After years of snubbing the color that is all colors in favor of the bright and bold, I absolutely cannot get enough of black (is anyone else ogling Michelle Obama’s style, especially the dress she wore in her latest appearance covered by the media?). Most of the dresses featured in this post are made to order to your measurements with very responsive shop owners. This is great news for petites or anyone hard to fit! Is there a black dress you can’t live without?

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Wanted: the perfect petite jumpsuit

product photo

I think I am the only person on earth that doesn’t own a jumpsuit at this point, and I like that they have finally expanded from ultra casual adult onesies with elasticized hems and drawstring waists to more tailored outfits.

I was reading the reviews for Gap’s Sleeveless TENCEL Culotte Jumpsuit, which is offered in petite and tall and black, white, and a vibrant red-orange, and reserved it in-store in the regular sizing immediately (because they do not carry petite or tall sizing). The reviews describe this as short in the torso, narrow in the bust, and running a little small and short. Normally I would pass just at the sight of the word “tencel”, but reviewers weren’t strongly opposed to the fabric, and some were quite enthusiastic about the overall style and silhouette. Sounded like it had real potential since it seemed to run small.

I tried the regular version of my petite size (the latter which is sometime too large for me). I didn’t mind the tencel-linen blend fabric, and love that it can supposedly be machine washed. I didn’t mind the v-neck. It took me forever to figure out how to get into this thing through the side zip, which was a recurring gripe for a lot of reviewers. You have to unzip it and then step into it from the top, and if you do that, the side zip is actually better than a back zip in that you don’t have to stretch and contort your arms to zip up the zipper all the way.

My main issues with this piece are that the waist sits lower than true waist (more like where a mid-rise jean might hit), there is a lot of fabric in the leg area, and even though I am petite in stature the inseam is quite cropped (like mid to low thigh) in regular sizing and I think that might be a little too trendy to qualify this piece as timeless.

I don’t know if I want to size down to petite sizing because I like the longer inseam of the regular (do I really want a just below-the-knee jumpsuit as pictured in the product photos?), and the looser fit. If this could be taken up at the shoulders, the waist would be in the right place for me, but doing so makes the armhole openings uncomfortably small. Therein lies the main problem. If I saw that I could take this up at the shoulders, I probably would have purchased it.

If I can fit into regular sizing this well, this piece runs surprisingly small relative to typical Gap sizing. You may want to consider sizing up, maybe even more than one size.

I really like the deep v-neck, which wasn’t too deep this time. It is very reminiscent of those 1920s day dresses with straight, shapeless silhouettes. Love. I’m also really loving wider tie-waist belts right now and tailored wide leg trousers. Very 1970s. It’s interesting to me to see these details combined into one outfit. I think it could be very versatile, just not for me. And I agree with another reviewer that it should have a full length pant, or maybe ankle cropped inseam.

It’s wonderful to see a piece with more tailoring. I’m so sick of stretchy, knit, cheaply made everything in twenty versions of the same silhouette each with small differences in details each season.

Speaking of stretchy knits sans tailoring, I tried this Wrap-belt Midi Dress while in store in regular sizing and it hit at the ankle for me in length in regular sizing. I just wasn’t that much of a fan of the skirt hem, and the top half didn’t really fit that well (cut for taller person, large gaping armholes, broad wide shoulders). I won’t be pursuing it in petite sizing.

I also tried the Softspun Midi Skirt in regular sizing. It ran slightly wide in the waist, but hit at a flattering, on-trend length just below the knee. If you need a black pencil skirt at an affordable price or like the idea of a tailored, more formal piece in a casual fabric (so J.Crew), this is a good candidate. I did not care for the gray colorway at all – a very casual color on a casual knit fabric limits the versatility of the pencil skirt silhouette and in my opinion completely defeats the purpose of having a pencil skirt in a knit jersey (that, in black, could be dressed up or down).

Where did you get your most versatile jumpsuit, or are you still on the hunt like me, or are you skipping this trend entirely? How about midi dresses and skirts?

Naturalizer Zahn review

After sitting on the fence for months, I finally went for the Naturalizer Zahn (over the Cyprine, see below) and am glad I did. My hesitations? This type of silhouette can sometimes visually shorten your legs. The cut of the top front of the shoe looked severely straight across the front leg in some photos. I wasn’t sure about the leather upper material, the side cutouts, or the velcro ankle closure. And my last Naturalizer purchase was underwhelming.

In person the leather is beautiful and sleek like other reviewers noted. I don’t mind the velcro (way easier than a buckle) or side cutouts (not gaudy, still sleek) at all. The cut of the top of the shoe is flattering. In fact the entire shoe is flattering – every detail from the heel shape to the almond toe – and feels well made. Excellent value. Comfortable out of the box.

After not owning a black shoe for over five years (hello, bright colors as neutrals, and neutrals as the new black), I may have to keep this one. I like the versatility of this shootie style. It’s easily appropriate across three or more seasons and can transition well from day to night. Business casual office? Yes. Shopping at the mall? Yes. Rock concert? Yes!

The only qualm I have with this shoe is what appears to be a slightly short instep. If I match the curvature of the shoe sole to that of my foot as best I can, my heel hangs slightly over the back of the shoe and the velcro doesn’t fully close. The velcro only fully closes when my foot is as forward as it can be, and then although that’s a better look, my feet don’t make as good contact across the sole. I’m not sure if this is an issue that a breaking in period can fix. It’s possible that as the leather stretches a bit, it will mold to my foot better. Maybe that and a good foot pad will resolve this issue.

I debated endlessly between the Naturalizer Zahn and Cyprine (linked below), and finally went with the Zahn because of the higher heel height. I thought the Cyprine was everything I’ve always been looking for in a shoe (I have been looking for the perfect mule for years!), but I’ve been increasingly conscious about my short stature lately, as I’ve realized that while heels are very flattering on me, most of the shoes I own are flats.

Here are the other Naturalizer styles I have my eye on (and they have a great sale on right now with up to 30% off):

Cyprine
Low block heel minimalist mule in three on trend colorways

Caitlyn
Trendy block heel ankle strap sandal

Samantha
Dorsay style pointy toe flat, one of the best I’ve seen yet available in small sizes

Whitney
Chunky heel round toe pump in deep navy blue suede, covetable for fall

Natalie
Looks like the perfect pointy toe pump!

Adelle
Everyone needs a great red shoe, and this one looks fabulous

Evette
Totally on trend light blue over espadrille platform heel, so perfect for summer weddings and galas

 

Have you tried or purchased any Naturalizer styles lately? What did you think?

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