Privilege Blog

Cheap(ish) Dress, Not-Cheap Shoes, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:30am

Actor in front of a curtain

Thursday night, I went to the theater. That wasn’t me on the stage. This was, in front of a clothes hanger hanging on my shoe closet. That closet might deserve its own Instagram account except that these days nothing much changes inside it.

This is the navy blue sheath I wore to both my mother’s and my father’s memorial services. Time enough has passed. From that selfsame closet I dug out a pair of slingbacks that hadn’t seen the light of day since I bought them six years ago, and added simple platinum drop bead earrings that are hiding in my hair. A sunburst of crystals, a kitten heel, and no other drama.

A little strict, even sere, but in a good way.

Then I made myself crack up, striking an old-school “blogger pose.” Remember the days?

I realized that San Francisco would be cool, and I put on a MaxMara camel coat that was shorter than my dress but I decided not to care.

Crystal embellished slingback

My shoes, which turned out to be completely ridiculous for a late spring evening in the casual city of San Francisco, made me so very happy. I felt as though I wandered into Chinatown from another era. People have great sweatsuits these days though.

This outfit worked, in my humble opinion, precisely because my too-long hair, and overly-long dress added edge to the more decorous–nay, numbingly polite–navy+sheath+kitten heels. With diamond or pearl studs, I’d be set for a cocktail party at the house of conservative relatives. If I had any these days, that is. Any bigger jewelry, in the context of a mid-market navy sheath, might move past edgy to Woman Who Has Misunderstood The Assignment. That line, in my overactive imagination, is faint but deadly.

If you have a pair of fancy shoes you just don’t wear, you might try this. There are hundreds and hundreds of not-too-expensive sheath dresses out there, in a myriad of colors. As long as the silhouette suits you, and the fabric is decent (my no-longer-available dress is by Black Halo in their Super Loft Woven material, and it feels heavy but soft in the hand), you might get some more fun out of the footwear.

Oh, and if you don’t have this kind of shoe, which, they are kind of dumb but also hard to resist, buy on sale. I sure did. Here are a couple of options but as I say, myriad.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. The world is out there.

Links may generate commissions

30 Responses

  1. You look so beautiful! The outfit is superb, and coats don’t always need to be longer than dresses — both can sing at the same time as long as together they form the song you wish to hear. Love the navy, the camel and the flourish. <3

    On the topic of less-expensive clothing, have you tried (or heard from anyone who has tried) anything from Quince? The prices seem far too good to be true — to the point where I feel foolish asking — but I think the business model is like Grae Cove's, and they ship directly from the country of origin. Any thoughts?

    Your lovely smile brightened my (stormy) day. Thank you for sharing, and I hope you had a wonderful time at the theater! Happy weekend! xoxox

    1. Thank you! And for the coat affirmation. I am very glad I decided not to care:). I haven’t tried Quince, nor do I know anyone personally who has. I do hear good noises about it in influencer-land, but how much they should be trusted is very hard to say. If the return policy is good, and they are a small business with responsible founders, I recommend you give them a try and see how it goes.

  2. Love the phrase “Woman Who Has Misunderstood The Assignment.” There are so many ways of misunderstanding the assignment.

    1. So many ways. It is, in my mind, one of the key High WASP anxieties;) Because if no one was willing to TELL us the assignment, since it would have been vulgar, how could we know? And yet we knew there WAS one.

      1. Must we absorb it from the ether, and be severely judged if we don’t?

    1. Thank you. Pre-pandemic! Yes, an entire aesthetic, isn’t it. So…….extra! Before our perspective was forever changed.

  3. I like your outfit, Lisa.
    Also wanted to answer the question about Quince….I did order two cashmere hoodies in April, one for my daughter’s
    birthday and one for me…The price was $100. each as I recall. They are good quality and I have worn mine many times with the grey overcast spring we are having here on the coast below Santa Barbara.

    1. Cashmere hoodies sound divine — I’m glad to hear that you and your daughter like them. I know I can’t expect the very best cashmere, but good quality and good construction are great signs. Thank you! :)

  4. Thanks for the reminder to wear this genre of shoes. My feet may have forgotten what it feels like outside of wearing Birks or sneakers.

    1. Thank you! And I was SO wary of these shoes but in fact, although I refrained from trotting up and down two flights of stairs, for example, they were pretty comfortable for a couple of blocks of city walking.

  5. I have only ever owned one sheath dress. Even 15 years ago it felt overly formal to me and that I had to contort my body to wear it. But fabulous on you with your elegant minimal curves

    1. You’re right, of course, for some this formula would solve with a fit and flare, or cocoon, or some other silhouette. And thank you:)

  6. as always, you looked fantastic. and i like the dress peeking out from under the coat, style rules be damned.

    1. Well thank you, I say in a pair of boxers and a yoga shirt, thank you so much! And the oracle has spoken:)

  7. Elegant as usual with a hint of chic…alas there will be time when my boxed shoes will see the light of day…. Hopefully when the weather cooperates …… it’s been long pants so far with this cool weather all year!

    1. Thank you, Victoria. I know, you all have had such weird cold weather! We’ve had a cool summer so far too, but up here we kind of like that. For SoCal, for those who have chosen warm and sunny skies, and beach life, no fun!

  8. I love both “Woman Who has Misunderstood the Assignment” [something I also dread, though in my head it’s just “that’s wrong”] and “The world is out there.” So it is. So it is.

  9. I love the way you dressed down the shoes. You and your outfit seem just perfect. And, oh, my inner dread of being “the woman who has misunderstood the assignment”. Often a very faint line indeed.

  10. You have hit a nerve here. Am going to a wedding next month and have a very fine pair of slingbacks to wear (orange) but…have been remembering my beautiful cappuccino coloured silk slingbacks with crystal adornments and am tending towards them as my shoe of choice for the day instead. More splendid and celebratory I think.

    1. Yes, I mean, why not! Unless you have to be out in the rain. I think it’s nice to contribute our sparkly feet to happy celebrations;)

Comments are closed.