“You won’t see yourself coming and going.” That’s what my late business partner used to say when she was selling one-of-a-kind or limited-edition jewelry. Before I went into business with her, I was her customer, and I was a sucker for that line. After all, I used this as my official “statement” in my high-school yearbook:
“UNIQUE (yoo-NEEK) adj. 1. Being the only one of its kind; sole. 2. Being without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled. Imitation is suicide, so stop killing yourselves.”
How pretentious! But, as yearbook editor, I wouldn’t allow myself to write, “Fuck you, Mahwah High School!” so I had to be obnoxious in a slightly more subtle way.
Naturally, I got into vintage dresses in the early 2000s after I realized they were likely to be yoo-NEEK and keep me out of “who wore it best” contests — with one or two exceptions. Accordingly, this spring, I tried to ignore a yo͞oˈbikwətəs pink, orange and black-striped Prada dress, even though I love pink and orange together.
Fourteen-year-old actress Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit beat everyone to the punch by wearing the evening gown version of the dress to the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January.
When I spotted the short version of the dress in Bergdorf Goodman, I figured I’d try it on to get it out of my system. My love of Prada accessories is notorious, but the low-sex-appeal clothes have never spoken to me till this season. I hoped the dress would be as unpretty in person as it was pretty in pictures, but the dress didn’t oblige. I consulted MrB, who once saw me rip off a dress after a sales associate tried to clinch the deal by telling me Beyonce had worn it. MrB doesn’t spend a lot of time brooding about Elle’s cover photos, so he said something that amounted to “Wear what you want,” which, of course, is something a true genius would say.
I got the dress and decided I’d wear it to my grandmother’s 95th birthday party last weekend in Florida, where, I was confident, no Hollywood stars would be wearing my outfit. I packed gold shoes (previously seen here). Gold goes with everything, right?
It turned out that gold goes with everything except this dress. I hated the combination. I felt like a tasteful version of J-Woww from Jersey Shore. Like, if you held a gun on J-Woww and forced her to cover up her tittays in the striped dress, she’d be desperate to trash it up, so she’d pick these shoes and pray that they’d give her that special touch of “hooker.” MrB, being a saint, didn’t want me to suffer from an undesirable shoe situation, so he found a Neiman Marcus 10 minutes away from the dinner location. I ran to the sale rack, plucked out a pair of wedges and ran out with them on my feet (after paying). MrB had never seen me buy anything so quickly. The trick was I had been looking for a pair of dressy black wedges, but I hadn’t found anything I liked. With fall clothes and shoes hitting the stores, I had given up hope of finding any summer shoes. I always find what I need when I have no hope.
What Wendy Wore to Grandma’s Birthday Party
Dress: Prada (2011)
Shoes: Prada (2011)
Earrings: My own Cleopatra design
Lip color: So Chaud by MAC
I feel good about this look despite the dress’s ubiquity. In fact, I think that if I had a world-class photographer, professional hair and makeup, a steamer, a fierce pose and massive amounts of Photoshop, I might even look “comedy hot.” (Pop-star hot is out of the question.) But I still have a bone to pick with Hailee Steinfeld. You’re only 14, child! You don’t deserve Prada yet. Get yourself some nice Gunne Sax frocks, like the ones I wore at your age. Kids these day!