YLF please be my eyes - academic types especially!

I'm looking for a dress to fit the same niche as this one from last year (first picture). I love the dress from last year but I'm so bored of it. I wore it at least 10 times last summer.

Is this DVF dress too off the wall for summer presentations (second picture below):


I have to look friendly and approachable while being authoritative and in control. It is a delicate balancing act. Is this dress pushing it too far into the "I'm having too much fun on summer vacation" territory?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Velma replied 12 years ago

    Pretty dress. Much depends how short it is on you! The length of last year's dress is fine and flattering, but with hemlines creeping down, you may want something a bit longer this year. Of course, that model might be six feet tall . . . :-)

    I love the blue and white tones in both dresses--so cool and refreshing when it's hot.

  • Diana replied 12 years ago

    I think it's great! You could always add a blazer if you want to tone it down a bit. Given your height, the length should be fine (I'm sure that model is like 10 feet tall anyway).

    I'm imagining it with Dotty already!

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    Diana, I can't really do a blazer in the summer. It is 100 degrees around here!

  • Ana replied 12 years ago

    I can't see the photo that well, because it's kind of small. I think as long as it isn't made of a body-conscious, clingy material and it's longer on you than the model, then it would be great! I love the color and the pretty white (looks like) floral pattern on it.

  • sarah replied 12 years ago

    I think it all depends on how short and rear-end hugging it is IRL. It may be just fine in length, given your lovely petite stature ; ).

  • Isis replied 12 years ago

    Beautiful dress! If it's as long as last year's dress, I think it works.

    But it does not convey "authoritative" to me....I think it is the sleevelessness (which I love).....A blazer would definitely help lend authority....is it too hot even in the AC'd classroom?

    I usually wear one into the lecture, and then take it off when I begin as I get hot.....

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    I'm 5' tall, it's probably knee length on me, if not longer

  • bj1111 replied 12 years ago

    i feel too bare without sleeves in a lecture setting. how about you?

  • Jonesy replied 12 years ago

    If it's at the knee or thereabouts, it could be a winner! Rita, are you an academic? Or maybe in academic administration or something along those lines?

  • Scarlet replied 12 years ago

    The dress is gorgeous! Nobody in my field dresses like this unfortunately. I plan to, someday, as long as the booty isn't too tight. I wouldnt advise you without knowing more about the specifics. Seems to me boundaries can be pretty field specific.

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    Jonesy, I am in higher ed administration. A suit is definitely not appropriate. I have to walk a fine line. Parents have to be confident that they are making the right decision leaving their kids in our hands, while students have to feel comfortable enough to confide in us. I have wide leeway in how I dress for the most part but I know my youthful appearance works both for and against me here.

  • Jonesy replied 12 years ago

    Aah, thought so! That explains why you need to look so polished during the summer months (vs. a faculty member who has a bit more leeway over the summer, as in cut-offs and a baggy t-shirt!).

    You are right about the trickiness of a youthful appearance, and trying to walk that line between looking authoritative and professional, and casual and approachable on the other hand...

  • krishnidoux replied 12 years ago

    What Velma and Isis said.

  • HelenInCanada replied 12 years ago

    It's a lovely dress and would definitely look smashing on you. I think it's perfect for summer and your higher ed environment, as long as it's not as short as it is on the model. A lightweight topper would be ideal - maybe a gauzy cardi or soft cotton jersey blazer (in aircon, of course!) to de-sexify it...?

  • Lisa replied 12 years ago

    I like the new dress (the smaller photo right?). I wonder though, for myself I tire of prints really fast. Would a solid dress be a good replacement? I do find with solids they are easier for me to remix.

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    I like patterns for their camouflaging powers. Sometimes solids show too many of my bumps. But I can see how this particular pattern probably isn't going to be around forever.

  • Carole replied 12 years ago

    Seems like a great substitute for last years dress. My only concern would be the length but sounds like you are confident it will be at least as long. I agree that a solid would seem more authoritative, but if you felt confident and appropriate with last years style, this seems like a logical choice.

  • K. Period. replied 12 years ago

    I'm not an academic, but my hubby and most of our friends are so I know the drill. I think it looks nice. (Actually, I think it is gorgeous!) If it hits at knee length, it should be fine in an academic setting. I like the higher neckline, which I think balances the arm exposure. It looks summer appropriate, especially if paired with professional shoes. A tricky bit for me would be the wide sash. I'd either be bored to death with that design detail after a few wearings or I'd be totally, absolutely in love. Even trickier for me would be the fact that it is silk, so would need to be dry cleaned. Summer wear would mean lots of dry cleaning and lots of time out of the rotation because it was at the dry cleaners. That would kill it for me.

    Also, check this picture on shopbop--it looks like there could be some odd draping.

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    that shopbop picture is making me want it more - I love that wide waist sash. I have two Ann Taylor dresses on the way. If they don't work, this one is next on the list.

  • Lisa replied 12 years ago

    Rita- "patterns for their camouflaging powers" that is brilliant! I need to add mroe patterns to my closet!

  • Cctherine replied 12 years ago

    I am an academic...my .02....

    I love the prints on the dress. I do agree that it needs to be knee-grazing to be office worthy. What about a short sleeved jacket or feather weight cardigan? I think sleeveless is always dicey territory, especially for people needing to convey authority.

  • Makrame replied 12 years ago

    I keep coming back to this post because I like both dresses, and also because I am having trouble deciding what I think. I know that for me, this dress would not be something I would wear to interact with students, but then I have my own strange ideas about what is and is not appropriate that may not match anyone else's. I do think that sleeveless is a bit risky but last year's dress looks very nice and quite appropriate on you. If it were me, I would tend towards adding a light weight cardigan (short-sleeved, perhaps) or a very light-weight jacket.

    I also noticed that my husband, who is an academic as well and fairly stylish, tends to be even more conservative when it comes to the way I dress to interact with students. I asked him recently whether I should wear a tie-neck blouse (with a bit of a v-neck opening, so perhaps slightly revealing but not overly so) to class and his response was "Not a good idea, something more conservative-looking would be better". So I am also wondering how our colleagues (or, as you mentioned, parents of prospective students), who may not be as savvy fashion-wise as YLFabers, react to the way we dress.

    Anyway, I think with your dainty figure and your height you will probably look great and work-appropriate in this dress but I can see why you felt the need to ask this question.

  • rachylou replied 12 years ago

    I think it's very pretty and strikes a balance between friendly and stiff. No dangling earrings or sandals though. I think you have to go the gold button earring route. How do you feel about a short-sleeved blazer? Sleeveless is not always appreciated in formal environments. I'm a little torn about a short sleeved blazer, because I think it could be too cutesy; I wouldn't do white if I did one.

  • rae replied 12 years ago

    I love the new dress. I'm assuming it will be similar in length to your current one and not short like it is on the model.

    Hm, print as camo... Maybe this is why I like my printed skirts so much! I'm going to explore this theory for sure!

  • Scarlet replied 12 years ago

    Based on what you said about your job, I would go for it!

  • Meredith1953 replied 12 years ago

    Beautiful print and color! I think sheath dresses are so flattering. As long as this is knee length I think you have a winner. Sleeveless is a little tricky when trying to look professional. Can you wear a little elbow or 3/4 length jacket? This would just be an example (see below).

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    The Ann Taylor dresses were really ho-hum. I found out that this dress is 22" from waist to hem -- that could be practically midi for me!! Any suggestions on DVF sizing? I have never tried one of these pieces before. I am a 4P in Ann Taylor/Gap.

  • Angie replied 12 years ago

    Try a size 4 in DVF too.

  • modgrl replied 12 years ago

    Thanks Angie!!

  • Jem replied 12 years ago

    I love that dress, I can't wait to see it on you!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 12 years ago

    I can't believe I missed this post! The dress is gorgeous Rita - it has similarities to your "old" dress, which you loved so I think it will be a winner. The length sounds decent and there's nothing too exposed to label it unprofessional.

  • MsLuna replied 12 years ago

    @modgrl The dress looks amazing! You mentioned that it gets hot there - how is it in your academic institution? Is there A/C? If so, putting on a linen or cotton blazer would work with that! Or perhaps a lightweight cardigan as well!

    Also, how tall are you? if you veer to the shorter side, you can get away with an inch above the knee. It's a proportions game :)

  • CocoLion replied 12 years ago

    Beautiful dress. Can't wait to see it on you.

  • K. Period. replied 12 years ago

    Okay, I've done my best to play devil's advocate. If you get that dress, you have to immediately, without delay, post pictures! And forgive me if, upon seeing it on you, I immediately place my order for one. I am absolutely in love with it! (You can tell, can't you, since I stalked it and tracked it to stylebop. Love love love.). I totally want you to buy it.

  • bella replied 12 years ago

    I think it's perfect, go for it!

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