As an adult, I have found that it’s hard to buy clothing that doesn’t make me look like a teenager, and in turn, find grown-up places to shop. I realize this is a nice problem to have. It’s nice that people generally think I’m younger than I am (which is 35). But having a timeless look is also a dilemma when seeking fashion. The stress of it all hit me particularly hard earlier this year, in the middle of spring, when one look at my closet revealed that I needed not only more clothes, but more dresses. Good, simple dresses! Could I find some adult dresses to offset my incredible youth?
I somewhat succeeded but couldn’t help buying a set of youthful dresses through a bounty of ASOS hauls in May and June.
Here’s a sampling of what I came away with first:
My goal was simple: to build a collection of dresses I could throw on mindlessly and adorn with accessories if necessary. For some reason, I had a craving for white this season and threw the white dress above ($19) into my shopping cart. While the striped smock with frilly sleeves ($32) didn’t scream adult, I bought it ’cause it was cute and reversible (the other side is a V-neck).
I went HAM from there and bought a tank dress ($14) in black and white, a halter dress ($29), a sundress, a slip dress ($45) and more dresses I won’t list.
Here a dress, there a dress, everywhere a dress dress!
EVERYTHING WAS COMING UP DRESSES!
You might notice the first picture above is not a dress, but rather a drop-crotch jumpsuit—or what I prefer to call a onesie, which is my No. 2 medium of comfort, next to dresses, in the summer. That onesie makes me feel like I’m a baby taking her first steps into a grown-and-sexy function with alcohol.
That wasn’t all.
One day in June, I popped into an Aritzia store and spotted a rack of these dresses for $78 each (the price has dropped since then); I bought two, in the color pictured below and in mustard. The dress, in motion, feels as if a soft bunny is caressing my skin with every stride. It has pockets, which I discovered only after wearing the dress for half a day and then screamed. I’ve heard pockets are feminist.
Not that I ever utilize pockets on a dress, come to think of it. This soft fabric, especially, sags if you fill the pockets with anything heavy, like an iPhone.
But I guess pockets are theoretically useful. This is the dress that makes me look least like I need to be carded.
That wasn’t the end. Next, I turned to my feet.
A long time ago, I owned a great, cushioned, gold-thonged pair of sea-green snakeskin Dolce Vita sandals. When they broke, I sang “Another Sad Love Song.” (That’s not true, but it was the saddest day.)
By then, the sandals were discontinued. There was no way to replace them. I proceeded to subject my feet and toes to a series of degrading thin sandals worn more for style than comfort, most of which were cheap, a pain to walk in, and eventually fell apart.
This summer, I embraced another idea that perhaps I’d been running away from my whole life.
Prior to wearing Birkenstocks, a brand I knew little about until a few years ago, such orthopedic shoes were like a death knoll to me. Birkenstock? Sounds like the family name of an Ethan guy with three summer homes. (Ethan Birkenstock) I imagined wearing them while making a cameo on Golden Girls. But that was short-sighted.
A revolution began around 2017, when I spent almost every summer day in a pair of black patent-leather-strapped Birkenstocks (in this style) that made me feel very white as a person philosophically. I wore them again all last summer, too, to the point that the in-soles have darkened from use (I assume this is normal?). These shoes were so comfortable that I wondered why I wasn’t buying more of them in various styles. I wanted more thick soles.
Naturally, I bought three sandals in one day:
1) A second pair of Birkenstocks (see above) ($99.95)
2) Chaco sandals from Urban Outfitters (solely because of Jezebel writer Esther Wang’s recommendation), in a brown color called brass ($105)
3) Teva Terra Fi Lite ($85) sandals for rainy days. These are “made for the adventure of your choosing,” and the adventure I choose is sitting at my desk.
*Headline is hyperbole