Thursday, February 22, 2007

High-end souvenir dresses. Unforgettable indeed.
I believe the first one to be a Greek souvenir skirt and blouse, though it resembles Mexican-style tourist ensembles. This outfit is in splendid form, and the embroidery, though machine done, is first rate showing Minoan priests and other Greek emblems. But what puts this over the top is the matching bag. This is unusual, but it ain’t cheap at $259.00. B 38, W 32. This set has the advantage of being stunning but not outlandish. You could wear it to one of those events where you gotta look decent but can’t overdo it. By that I mean someone’s wedding.

I can’t tell you how often I’m told: don’t upstage the bride. How the hell could I possibly do that? Unless I wore a wedding dress, which of course I would never do (not even if I was getting married). No matter how much I explain that no one will be looking at me (that I am not getting married, that I’m just there to bring a gift, say mazel tov, dance the hora (or shimmy to bhangra), have an hors d’oeuvre or two) I’m shouted down: don’t outshine the bride. Then I promise to wear a decent frock and not pile birdcages and a faux aviary into my coiffure. I promise to carry a proper handbag, rather than a dented vintage watering can that rattles with my spare change or any of my usual frippery.
Then I’m told that you cannot wear black to a wedding. Puh-leez! If I’m not supposed to stand out, then black seems like the best solution. Not all black, but something with some levity. Something exactly like this dress. Plus the best thing about someone’s wedding is that you don’t have to dance with your purse on your shoulder. You could leave this lovely bag at the table without fearing that someone will pinch it. (At Indian weddings, thankfully, everyone goes all out glamorous and no one seems to worry about stealing the bride’s thunder.)

Is $259 too high? It sure is steep. The most I’ve ever paid for a dress is $30, so I’m not really the best person to judge. I’m going to ask for the advice of a very expensive consultant: Mom, what do you think on the pricing of this one?

This next number is in many ways thematically similar. Beautiful hand-painted Mexican-themed dress plus beadwork that really pops. This dress has a current bid of $99.00. B 40, W 28.

Though this dress is thrilling, even I think it’s a bit much for daytime. Unless you are singing back up for El Vez. Or you happen to be a statuette of a Catholic saint on your feast day.
For evening I’d wear it proudly. But without the gold scarf, that makes it too costumey, too Patsy Cline. With the wrong accessories you could look like the opening act. But maybe you are the opening act, as I often am. (Always the opener, never the headliner, sigh.)
I’d wear this dress with a black silk clutch evening bag and black ballet flats. Nothing else. Unless I was going to sing corridos with Astrid Hadad. Then I’d be underdressed.

Do check out Ms. Hadad’s website (though is has too many Flash plug-ins). Not only is she a terrific performer, but she has ferocious style. She has a dress covered with plush hearts and eyes that light up. In an interview she said that she wanted the hearts to light up and the eyes to cry. But in rehearsal she was electrocuted, so she had to cut the tears.


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