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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

When I graduated from college and entered the working world — a long time ago — I bought into the notion that it was good to stock a wardrobe with basic black. Supposedly, if everything you had looked the same, no one would know how many or how few clothes you had, how often you wore things, or what season they were from.  A distinctive print? Perish the thought! Fashionistas would know that you weren’t keeping up with the times!

Developing an interest in vintage clothes changed my mindset. The best vintage pieces are the most identifiable ones. It’s fun to know what year the clothes are from, especially for people like me, who are interested in history.  And once I got interested in vintage, I lost my fear of buying distinctive current-season clothes. They don’t get old; they just turn into vintage!

In the past week, I’ve worn three different dresses that are in various stages of the aging process. (I actually think of two of them as “new,” but I’m not sure Anna Wintour would agree because the newest is a year old.) I got this Prada lip-print dress in 2012. Here it is after I wore it for my anniversary dinner with MrB that year.

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Click for 2012 post.

I wore it again last Thursday for a dinner at The Radler, a cool German restaurant in Chicago.  I was there to celebrate my stepson’s graduation from Northwestern University. Notice that I carried the same seven-year-old Prada purse as in the above photo.

lips2resizeWhat Wendy Wore in 2014
Dress: Prada (2012)
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti (new! 2014)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Lipstick: Lasting Lust by MAC
Jewelry: My own designs

The graduation ceremony for the entire university took place on Friday. (Stevie Wonder got an honorary degree, as did the legendary actress Cloris Leachman.) I dressed casually to sit outside on the bleachers in the football stadium, so I didn’t bother to take an outfit picture. Besides, no outfit photo could have lived up to this photobomb. I made more of an effort for Saturday’s smaller, indoor ceremony for the music school. (My stepson majored in classical guitar.) The  Jason Wu dress I wore was just purchased last year. The first time I wore it was last June — also when visiting Northwestern.

chicago

Click for 2013 post.

I changed the shoes for this wearing, but not my pose!

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What Wendy Wore in 2014
Dress: Jason Wu (2013)
Shoes: Prada (2011)
Lipstick: So Chaud by MAC

Back in New York, I had another dressy occasion last night: Gerald Loeb Awards for business and financial journalism. MrB presented the lifetime achievement award to James Flanigan of the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, having won that award himself in 2002. The Versace dress I wore last night was probably purchased at the end of MrB’s award year. The first photo I have of it, however, is from 2003.

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Versace dress in 2003.

I decided to wear it last night because I remembered wearing it to the Loeb Awards four years ago.

versace3

The dress in 2010. Click for original post.

It amuses me to wear the same outfits to the same events.

versace 2014What Wendy Wore in 2014
Dress: Versace (2002/2003)
Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti (2014)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Lipstick: Pleasure Bomb by MAC
Jewelry: My own designs

Despite my post-college fears, no one has ever confronted me and said, “Hey, that dress is old!” And if someone did, I would say, “Thank you! So am I!” My fashion advice to all those recent graduates I saw: Don’t be afraid to stand out, and, whenever you buy quality clothes, keep them forever!

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10 Responses to “What Wendy Wore: Dresses Through the Years”

  1. Patti says:

    Fabulous dresses, and good advice!

  2. Melanie says:

    You look great in all these dresses and I’m glad you wear them over and over. Why not? Except for the photo of you with short hair, I wouldn’t know which photos are current and which ones were taken years ago.

    I often buy someone else’s good quality clothes to wear them for the second half of forever.

    • WendyB
      Twitter: WendyBrandes
      says:

      Vintage really changed my attitude towards clothes. Not that I ever was into the disposable kind of thing — we didn’t have fast fashion when I was a kid — but the whole issue of provenance/period became very interesting to me.

  3. I just got rid of an LBD – so boring! I love all your dresses, and am ooh-ing over the new shoes!

  4. AK says:

    Love this. What I see is that you picked prints & shapes you loved, and stayed away from trends that would mark the dresses as very obviously from one era. It also helps that you’re always updating your hair and shoes. Such a great model for those of us trying to be smarter about what we bring into our closets, and for how long.