My birthday is Sunday, but my birthday party isn't for several more weeks. Lawyer Guy is throwing my a cocktail party at a restaurant downtown, and I wanted to wait to have it until the semester was over and I could actually relax and enjoy being with my family and friends without stressing about papers to grade and/or write.
So I haven't actually bought a dress yet or done any intensive shopping. I've got a few criteria in mind, though. The lucky chosen dress must be: cocktail length; sparkly (either sequined or beaded); a color other than black (nearly every cocktail dress I own is black and I want to branch out already!); and ideally a little bit sexy. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few likely prospects:
Prospect #1: Antik Batik Jessica dress:
This dress is gorgeous. I stumbled upon it when I stopped into a shop on the Upper East Side before my thyroid-checking appointment with my doctor a few weeks ago. It fits perfectly, is sparkly and fancy but lady-like at the same time, and I love it.
There are significant drawbacks, however. For starters, the dress is about $200 more than what I had anticipated spending. LG would NOT be pleased to see that credit card bill. But I could get past this if not for the second drawback: the color. It's an off-white/ivory shade, which is beautiful and looks great on me, but is severely limiting in terms of the kinds of events I could wear the dress to. As in, the wedding I have to attend in Florida in late June. If I'm going to spend this much money on a dress, I want to get a lot of use out of it. And an off-white dress--even a short, obviously non-wedding off-white dress--just isn't going to allow for that.
Prospect #2: Alice + Olivia Maggie Dress
This dress is super cute and a much better price. But I haven't tried it on yet, and it appears to be sold out on the Alice + Olivia website and at Bloomingdale's. I'm not sure how I'd get it if I chose it.
Prospect #3: Alice + Olivia Beaded Tank
Another cute, sparkly dress from Alice + Olivia in my price range, but this one is still available (so I could presumably try it on). Again, though, there's a problem with the off-white color. I'll have to see it in the flesh (the cloth?) to decide if it looks more sparkly-silver or more creamy-white.
Prospect #4: Tory Burch Rannon Dress
I must confess, I'm a huge Tory Burch junkie (and Lilly Pulitzer and J. Crew-- I'm basically your walking nightmare of a stereotypical Junior Leaguer). I already have this year's summer T Burch sample sale marked in my date book (June 22nd!), and I never come away with less than six things. I own three of her dresses already, although they're all tailored linen shifts rather than sparkly plunging-v cocktail dresses. But they fit me like a dream-- I think the form they use to fit my size must be to my exact measurements or something. So this dress is totally appealing. And it's not off-white!
Prospect #5 (and beyond): Rent the Runway
I don't have pictures for my final options because I'm considering a rather unorthodox approach. I joined Rent the Runway a few weeks ago. It's a new site that allows members (membership is free) to rent designer dresses for a few days, rather than purchasing them. If I did this, I could wear a much pricier dress than I feel comfortable buying (and a cursory search showed some very pretty ones). But the rental fee is around $100 or $200, which seems like an awful lot to spend for a dress you wear once and don't get to keep. Like I said before, I'm all about buying semi-expensive clothes and then wearing them into the ground. So I probably won't choose this option, but felt it was worth mentioning just in case.
Let me know what you think about my prospects! I may end up buying none of these dresses after shopping and trying them on, but whatever I get will be along these lines.