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Day to Night: IGIGI’s Mara Dress and Our 5 Top Tips for Finding the Perfect Plus-Sized Versatile Dress

Posted by on September 19, 2013

Every once in a while you slip into a dress and immediately feel awesome. That happened today when I put on the IGIGI Mara dress in Imperial Blue. Whenever I’m at home online shopping, there are a few specific key words that I constantly search for: dresses with pockets, oversized crop tops (child of the 90’s) and dolman sleeves. So I was too excited when I found this gorgeous dress with dolman sleeves on IGIGI’s site and it was *gasp* on sale. The dress is fully lined so it slides perfectly over the body and it has a really interesting knotted drape detail on the side which I had not been expecting, but it is incredibly helpful in hiding my tummy. The draping pulls across the waist and made my body look long and statuesque, which at 5’6” it is decidedly not. I did not feel like this dress needed a wealth of accessories, so I just threw on a layered pewter necklace and a pair of black suede heels.

I wore the Mara dress to a lunch meeting at a friend's country club and I felt perfectly dressed. The heels might have been a bit much, but high heels always give me a huge burst of confidence. 

I wore the Mara dress to a lunch meeting at a friend’s country club and I felt perfectly dressed. The heels might have been a bit much, but high heels always give me a huge burst of confidence. 

Part of what makes this dress so great is its versatility. I wore this dress with a blazer and flats for work and got a lot of compliments on it at the office. The bateau neckline runs right across my collarbone and it makes the dress even more elegant since it adds that whole Audrey Hepburn look to any dress.

The length of this dress is truly knee-length, but the skirt of the dress closes in the front which serves as a slit and adds a little bit of sexiness.

The length of this dress is truly knee-length, but the skirt of the dress closes in the front which serves as a slit and adds a little bit of sexiness.

When looking for a dress that can easily transition from work to day to night I have five details that I always look for:

1. Fabric: Unfortunately, there are very few fabrics that can transition easily for any situation or event. Jersey is one of the only fabrics that is appropriate for both day and night. It’s also wrinkle-free which is a huge bonus for me. Cotton is ideal for day only and materials like rayon and spandex tend to be better for evening looks.

2. Color or pattern: If I’m truly looking for a transitional dress, I rarely choose a patterned dress because I want total variability. However, certain basic patterns like polka-dots and stripes are simple and uniform enough that they are essentially solids and therefore easier to adapt. The simple, but rich royal blue of the Mara dress is good for both day and night and the rich color gives a real vibrancy to my look instead of another little black dress. Solid hued dresses can be just as slimming as an LBD.

3. Neckline: For night, I tend to look for deeper necklines, but a bateau, or boat neckline, is incredibly elegant and creates a frame around the face to draw attention. For day, I would wear my hair down with a bateau and allow my hair to close the frame, but for night I would put my hair up and add a little extra eyeliner to make my eyes the center of attention.

4. Length: Length can be tricky when seeking versatile pieces, but it never hurts to play it safe with a knee-length dress. The layered skirt of the Mara dress gives the visual effect of a slit which will be even more apparent and allow me to show a little extra skin when dancing at night.

5. Comfort: In my mind, if I’m not comfortable in an outfit – it’s not worth it. The jersey fabric, with the dolman sleeves and the flattering draping makes this dress supremely comfortable and I would be able to wear it all day and well into the night.

The Mara dress also comes in "Majesty Purple."

The Mara dress also comes in “Majesty Purple.”

Edith Head once said, “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” I think that the careful draping, but slinky jersey of this dress fits the bill. Where did you find your first “perfect” plus-size dress? Tell me in the comments.

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The LBD From Coco To You: How To Find and Rock The Perfect Little Black Dress

Posted by on September 16, 2013

If I had to pinpoint one dominant color in my wardrobe it would undeniably be black. There was a time when essentially the only colors I ever wore were black, onyx or obsidian, with the occasional silver or gold accent. I even had a mild goth phase in high school complete with the necessary Doc Martens and obsessively applied matte, black lipstick.  Thankfully, I grew out of my color-phobia and now my closet is a veritable treasure trove of patterned, rainbow delights. But, I still find nothing more effortless or chic than the famous little black dress. The IGIGI Veronica Dress has all of the classic elements of a well made LBD with a certain added elegance thanks to thoughtful detailing like a dramatic keyhole neckline and a hidden, mid-skirt slit for an extra injection of glamour.

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When shopping for an LBD, it is important to remember to steer clear of anything too trendy. A little black dress should be timeless, elegant and therefore free from the limits of trends, after all, the little black dress in it’s modern incarnation is attributed to Coco Chanel herself. In fact, the first published fashion image of a little black dress was an illustration of a Chanel dress in an October 1926 issue of Vogue. Vogue called the dress “Chanel’s Ford,” in reference to the reliable and omnipresent Model-T’s that Ford was turning out in the 1920’s:

The Chanel “Ford” the frock that all the world will wear is model 817 of black crepe de chine. The bodice blouses slightly at the front and sides and has a tight bolero at the back. Especially chic is the arrangement of tiny tucks which cross in front. Imported by Saks.”

This revolutionary garment only earned 51 words in Vogue, but it laid the groundwork for a stunning overhaul of the fashion industry. The color black, until the 1920’s, was most commonly associated with nuns, widows and, of course, witches. Now black is thought as much more of a seductive and alluring color thanks to associations with pop culture icons like Betty Boop and the great Edith Piaf. Actually, the true explosion of LBD lust hit in 1961 when Audrey Hepburn sashayed across the screen as Ms. Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. For an extensive record of the LBD check out Amy Holman Edelman’s book “The Little Black Dress” which traces the black dress from John Singer Sargent’s painting, Portrait of Madame X, to the music video of  Robert Palmer’s song “Addicted to Love.”

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Ideally, the perfect little black dress should last from five to ten years. I know, that seems like a long time, but the very nature of the dress means that you should be seeking an economical, practical garment with structure. My ideal little black dress has a simple formula: the dress is made from a comfortable and worry free material like jersey, it has two to three interesting, but not overly trendy details, a thick strap or sleeve so I can easily wear a bra and a knee-length hem so I can go from flats to heels with no worries. Happily, the Veronica Dress hits all of these targets for me perfectly. Obviously fit is an incredibly important issue so make sure that your LBD fits you like a glove. It is definitely worth a trip to the tailor if you are intending for your dress to be a true wardrobe staple.

For more LBD inspo check out IGIGI’s Brooke Dress, the Virginia Dress, the Paola Dress and another personal favorite of mine, the ultra sultry Francesca Dress. Remember that simplicity and versatility are key when choosing your LBD because a good dress of any kind is designed to bring out your true beauty.

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