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ASK EDDA

Nothing to Wear
updated: Mar 26, 2011, 10:00 AM

Dear Edda,

What is wrong with fashion designers these days? I went shopping for a cocktail dress, and was appalled by the selection. I am middle-aged, not fat or thin - just sort of regular looking. The dresses look like they are either made for skinny hookers or ten-year-olds with lollipops. And if one is fortunate enough to find something that doesn't look ridiculous, there are shoes to contend with. The choice seems to be between ballet flats and four-inch spike heels. I am neither a ballet dancer nor an acrobat.

I am thinking about becoming a recluse and refusing to leave the house. What should I do?

Signed,

Bathrobe Betty

* * *

Dear Bathrobe Betty,

Make sure you have plenty of water and canned goods.

Edda


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Edda Hatte is a loving and sympathetic advice columnist who helps Edhat subscribers navigate through their complicated and stressful lives. Send your questions to askedda@edhat.com.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 158072 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 10:20 AM

Go to Nordstroms and Nordstroms online for some gorgeous, highly wearable and well-priced evening dresses.

 

 SHOREBIRD agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 10:32 AM

Take up knitting. You can still drink cocktails in your bathrobe.

 

 COMMENT 158081 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 10:42 AM

just the idea of a 'cocktail dress' makes me laugh. Drink naked.

 

 COMMENT 158083 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 10:45 AM

Good point SHOREBIRD! And remember, it's always 5 O'clock somewhere in the world...

 

 COMMENT 158087 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 10:59 AM

Try Ross Dress For Less. You can shop in your bathrobe while drinking a cocktail.

 

 COMMENT 158088 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 11:00 AM

087...LOL

 

 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 11:10 AM

Nordstrom Rack in Ventura....

And yeah, Ross. I bought a Calvin Klein simple black cocktail dress for $40 there, fits great, and definitely looks grown up.

 

 COMMENT 158097 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 11:27 AM

Cocktail dress? It sounds sooooo 1960'ish. Little hat with veil. pearls, Chanel No. 5, long black gloves,black satin pumps.purse to match - hey Holly, pass me a Manhattan si vous plait.

 

 COMMENT 158103 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 11:48 AM

Thanks for the giggle, 087! I needed that.

 

 COMMENT 158121 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 01:01 PM

NATASHA - on State Street is the best place - and the women will HELP you find something without being pushy.......seriously.

 

 COMMENT 158128P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 01:33 PM

Nice plug from Natasha. But that's a very specific style that doesn't appeal to most people. Go to LA where you can find real clothes. Or if you have the $, try Wendy Foster so you don't look like you're wearing a wrinkled sack or something from Macy's sale rack.

 

 COMMENT 158142P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 02:53 PM

So what IS a cocktail dress, anyway?

 

 COMMENT 158144P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 02:56 PM

I totally disagree with the writer. This is a good year of style and it's everywhere. You just need to make time and look at all of our department stores here and Ventura or online. Anything goes, as long as you look good in it and know how to put it together.

 

 COMMENT 158146P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 03:04 PM

Cocktail dress? That's what CPA and its executive director were mandating for its cocktail party last week. Ain't nothing like historic preservation. LOL

 

 COMMENT 158147 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 03:09 PM

I have done best recently with dresses purchased online recently. Macy's, Nordstrom and Ralph Lauren online have some very nice things online. I had three weddings with varying levels of formality to attend last year and needed dresses. I am with the OP on the stupid pouffy skirts in style right now and sheaths are everywhere and just don't flatter me.

If you buy from Macy's or Nordstrom, you can return anything you bought online without paying shipping charges. Same for shoes, or else do Zappos. Zappos is my best friend when it comes to shoes.

And one other piece of advice - Spanx. every woman should have them, even if you are rail thin. Everything just looks better.

097 - Cocktail dress does not mean Audrey Hepburn though that is a totally chic look if you can rock it. Every woman should have a LBD - it's as essential as your favorite pair of jeans.

 

 COMMENT 158148 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 03:13 PM

The "little black dress" is ubiquitous when it comes to a cocktail dress. One can never go wrong with this classic and enduring style.

I don't know when the current Hooker style will end, but it wont be a NY second too soon for me. Not that I wear much beyond a good pair of Nike's. ;-)

 

 COMMENT 158149 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 03:24 PM

White House Black Market in Paseo Nuevo. I have at least 3 LBDs from this place - even though the prices are a little high, they always have great sales and the dresses are flattering.

 

 COMMENT 158160 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 04:53 PM

I've been able to find dresses but I have a hard time with shoes. Designers tend to think that to make a wide shoe they must get their inspiration from the local retirement homes.

 

 COMMENT 158161 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 05:00 PM

google, Nicole Miller little black dress...you'll find plenty online.
Also to a prior poster-Nordstrom has no "S" on the end---just check out the side of the building!

 

 COMMENT 158175P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 06:58 PM

You have to have patience to shop any more, as most of it is hideous. There's always my alternative -- vintage. Just never throw old stuff out, and it eventually comes back into style. This way you can wait out the truly ugly trends.

And, great answer Edda!

 

 COMMENT 158180P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-26 07:37 PM

Aquaholic: nothing but Nikes!!!!?

 

 COMMENT 158202 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 06:52 AM

I agree about wide shoes. Hypothetically a person can lose weight and avoid women's sizes if that is a personal concern but you can't lose weight in your feet. I've had wide feet my whole life and don't care to wear "old lady shoes." Nordstrom was the first to address this issue and now Zappos is a Godsend. I can find anything.

 

 COMMENT 158219 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 09:10 AM

Help! What is Spanx?

 

 COMMENT 158223 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 09:23 AM

It's too bad Well-Heeled is gone. There are no shoe stores in SB??!!??

 

 COMMENT 158232P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 09:37 AM

I agree with you 202, I have wide feet at the front of my foot and skinny, narrow feet in back. It's tough for me to find shoes that fit in the front without sliding off the back. Every once in a while they are shoes that I actually like.

As for dresses and clothing, I can't say anything good about any of our stores in town, even Nordstrom which is like a different chain if you visit the others in LA or SF.

 

 COMMENT 158236P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 09:44 AM

Try shopping for petite sizes. There's very little selection in SB for someone my size. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I shopped in the Macy's on 34th St. in NYC several years ago -- their petite department is an entire floor! Here we "little women" are lucky to get a corner.

 

 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 09:55 AM

Check out thrift and consignment stores; good prices and dresses you might like. The Assistance League Thrift on Veronica Springs Rd. is especially good. High end shoes and clothes at wonderful prices. I don't buy anything new; yard sales and thrift stores for everything but groceries and underwear. When I find designer jeans for $1-$5 I feel I've really scored. Same goes for shoes.

 

 COMMENT 158243 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 10:01 AM

Ok forget lack of imagination! You mall shoppers! No wonder you can't find anything! Cominichi's has real classic wearable beautifully made vintage cocktail dresses in all sizes ---not all sizes in every style, they are each one of a kind, and they must be tryed on to see the exquisite fit. Also a huge selection of all types of shoes. www.cominichis.com
Sorry but it's true!(and if you can come naked, we'll dress you from head to toe for 50% off)
Lol!

 

 COMMENT 158259 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 10:52 AM

@ 087, that is HILARIOUS! HA HA HA!

 

 COMMENT 158268 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 11:27 AM

219 : Spanx is what ya get when you ain't wearin' a cockatiel dress.

It's a shaping garment I believe.

 

 COMMENT 158287 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 12:34 PM

Yes, vintage absolutely. Alternatively, come on up to Paso Robles, where we drink cocktails in denim and cowboy boots.

 

 AGENTSME agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-27 01:33 PM

087 - too funny. But seriously. Norstrom Rack has the best stuff for very low prices. I'm with you on the shoes - There's not much choice out there in town besides the flats and hooker shoes. I did find one brand "Sofft" on Zappos that has some nice looking shoes w/reasonable heels without being Granny. Again, Nordstrom Rack has a great dress and shoe selection (Michael Kors for $17 - yeah babe!) Good luck. You can do it!

 

38% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

 

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