Second only to my obsession with gold this season is my new love of purple. I used to dismiss purple as an overly girly, cloying sort of color, but now I've embraced it as a lush, chic way to wear color during the winter. I mean, I love me some black, grey and navy, but purple is ten times more fun and eye-catching. And you know what? It goes great with gold.
Last night, at my friend's annual Secret Santa party, both me and my seriously styling friend Madelyn wore purple, ruffley dresses. Ruffles can be a tough trend to pull off, but I think we did it with panache. Madelyn wore Gap's V-Neck Ruffle Dress in Mauve, now way on-sale (and still available in most sizes!) for $25.99. The ruffle down the front is very festive and flirty, and in person the color is a bit more subdued and mature. A nice contrast, I think. I want to warn, however, that when I tried this dress on in the store it was freaking huge on me, so order a size or two down if you get it online. Seriously, in my experience it runs very, very big (but the small size will make you feel so skinny!).
I wore a dress from last winter's Erin Fetherston for Target collection, which I bought off Ebay on a lark after the clothes left stores. It arrived, I tried it on, and knew, "Damn, I am never going to wear this." It doesn't even look good on this stick-thin model, who is freaking me out with her superfake wig and doll-like expression. It doesn't help that she looks a bit hunched over and this photo is shot from, I think, a lower angle than is flattering. Anyway, when I put on the dress, I looked like a clunky present that's been wrapped far too intricately. So it's hung in my closet for months and months, until one day this fall i decided to solve the problem of the Erin Fetherston ruffle dress-- basically, I needed to make a waist. Belting created weird problems with bits of fabric poking up and coming lose, and a ribbon was far too cheesy. But then I started messing with my cardigans, and found a long, dark grey cardi with three little buttons at the empire waist (so it hangs open below) that I bought at some H&M type Eurotrash store in Luxembourg. The serious, curve-highlighting sweater perfectly tempered the dress's flaws, but I felt a bit too fancy when I wore the outfit to class with boots and tights. However, when I wore it last night, I felt perfectly festive and right at home with the other carefully wrapped gifts.
Moving on from my personal adventures in learning how to dress myself... here's a gown that I would die to own. Designed by Diane Von Furstenburg, who is pretty much the coolest woman alive, the Purple Niki Dress, $649, is glamorous beyond belief. The deep purple is appropriately elegant, and proof that purple isn't just for little girls. The woven halter in front and low back are sexy but not at all trashy, and I can't imagine anyone putting this dress on and not feeling legendarily gorgeous. Sigh. I want it.
Here's a more modern way to wear purple: from Black Halo, the Pleated Mini Dress, $325, is simple but decidedly chic. The color is a little more muted than I usually take my purple, but I love the pleats falling from the belted waist (SO flattering) and the bustier top. The sheer straps are a nice, demure touch, too. I would wear this, in my fantasy world, to the opening of a new exhibit at my city's modern art museum, and then prepare myself to be told that I'm way more interesting to look at than anything in a frame.
I complained that the last dress was too muted, and I have to note that this dress might be too vibrant. The Bella James Violet Rossette Dress, $88, is not for wallflowers. But the eye-catching color and relaxed design make it a bit more casual, so you could wear this to the movies or hanging out with friends. The fabric flower on the shoulder, however, adds a nice touch and elevates the dress beyond similar but generic jersey tank dresses.
So I know that this dress looks like navy in the photo, but the description swears it's actually plum. And, if you squint a little bit, you can see how it might be purple in real life. From Lulu's, the Arm Candy Dress is just $36-- perfect for a college student with a budget and a hot date. The asymmetrically draped front is very fashion-forward, in a classical Greek sort of way, and the ruffled straps add a sense of fun (and let you get away with wearing a regular bra underneath). Factor in the nicely short length, and that's a lot of hotness for $36.
From Modcloth, the Plum Blossom Party Dress, $67.99, has a simple and youthful shape, but done in an awesome brocade fabric. Brocade is one of those fabrics that is only really appropriate in the winter months--it's way too stiff and heavy for summer. But at a Christmas party, brocade looks fabulously festive and shiny. With tights and a cardigan, this dress would go over swimmingly at a family get-together or religious service, but it would also work for a party with friends.