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Women’s Dresses

It’s almost time to ring in the New Year, but thankfully there’s still time to find the perfect party dress, and we’re talking about that dress to greet 2014 with a stylish bang! And our fabulous frock roundup includes dresses for every budget.

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With Thanksgiving in just a couple days, we have an appetite for beautifully embellished fabrics and hand-finished clothes. The Thread asks Lela Rose to serve us up some insider tips on ladylike dressing.

When it comes to the dress, Lela Rose knows best, so we enlisted the Texas-bred designer to help us curate effortless holiday elegance. Get ready to discover the fine art of donning a dress, one of fashion’s most timeless pieces.

“I love a dress because it is one zip and done. From there, you can play with accessories, necklaces, knits and different shoes to add your own personal style,” says the Parson’s School of Design alum. “I love color for holiday because so many people choose to wear black; color is a great way to stand out.”

Lela Rose Metallic Jacquard Dress

There’s no exact science to selecting the perfect holiday frock, but Rose firmly believes in making your best parts “work” for you and advises selecting a new style in a shape that you love. “One of my go-to dresses is our classic sheath. I love the way it was done this season, with silk-covered jade jewels and the perfect matching shrug to go over it,” says Rose. “I’m always cold, so having sweaters that are easy to wear, but don’t cover up your dress, is a must!”

Lela Rose Embellished-Neck Sheath Dress & Silk Shrug

Since launching her namesake collection in 1998, Rose continually draws inspiration from her past and present surroundings, including her hometown of Dallas, Texas. When constructing the narrative for her fall/winter 2012 (FW12) runway collection, Rose looked to Santiago Calatrava’s Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (pictured). The architectural details of this Dallas landmark became the inspiration for one of the key fabrics in Rose’s FW12 assortment. “The fabric shown in my favorite dress from the fall season was designed based on one of Calatrava’s bridges,” says Rose, who prefers to dress a little quirky by mixing texture and color.

Lela Rose Layered Organza Dress

If you’re looking to undertake a stylistic overhaul for the holidays and possibly into your New Year’s resolutions, Rose suggests stepping out of your comfort zone by working in a new color or print you wouldn’t normally wear. “It’s a festive time of the year, so have fun! I love the lapis blue color of this dress. It works for all different skin tones and coloring, but is new and exciting for the season,” she says. Lacy details should also be on your radar, according to Rose: “This holiday season is all about lace, from cotton guipure to silk Chantilly. Lace is really having a fashion moment right now, so it’s the perfect time to invest in a fantastic piece.” (pictured right)

Lela Rose Ruched Dress & Lace Bustier Dress

Interview by Qianna Smith | Photo credit: Lela Rose shot by Steven Pan

Loving the clean lines and fall-perfect palettes of the Ted Baker London Modern Minimalist collection. Check out the painterly pops of color and sophisticated shapes that go from desk to dinner in no time flat.

‘Pennii’ Print Jersey Sheath Dress

Midi Sheath Dress

Meet Shannon, our Downtown Seattle Store Personal Stylist Manager. We tapped her to share what she and her customers are loving most for summer. Here’s a list of her top 10 favorites.

1. Trouvé Faded Denim Shirt. Denim is still in; wear it as a shirt or leave it open and throw it over a great summer dress.

2. NARS ‘Thakoon’ Nail Polish. I love these bright, fun colors! They are limited-edition, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

3. Tracey Reese Cowl Neck Dress. Yellow is the ‘it’ color. This piece is effortless and breezy—perfect for any special occasion for summer. Need a dress to wear to a wedding? Check!

4. Sequin Small Crystal Station Enamel Bangle. Layer these on to create some chunky accents with all of your lighter pieces. You can wear one or five and create a unique look every time.

5. Ali Ro Short Sleeve Anorak. The perfect summer jacket, it’s lightweight and stylish. Transition into fall by layering a long-sleeve top underneath.

6. Ray-Ban ‘Classic Wayfarer’ 50mm Sunglasses. Who doesn’t adore these updated, casual colors? My favorite is the matte grey brown—they go with everything.

7. DVF ‘Drew Connect-Dia Jacquard’ Shoulder Bag. The perfect combination of function and trend. Get it now and be set for fall.

8. Superga ‘Cotu’ Sneakers. These are all the rage right now! Cool, classic and comfortable for everyday ventures. Choose a basic or go bold with a fun fashion color for summer and pair them with your printed bottoms!

9. Splendid Print Short. What a great way to transition into summer while staying on trend with printed bottoms. I love this pattern, because it’s subtle and easy to wear with so many things—great with a denim shirt and Superga sneakers to complete the look!

10. Johnathan Adler Gothic Rose’ iPhone Case. Our phones need updating too. I just bought this and LOVE it.

Hope everyone has a great and sunny summer!
—Shannon

Looking for even more recommendations for a perfect summer wardrobe? Contact Shannon or a Personal Stylist at a store near you to make a complimentary appointment.

The trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby starting Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio was just released this week. Now, a 7-month wait until it opens. Jeepers creepers.

We already know we’ll be seeing it, because we can’t stop staring at the costumes—all that classic glamour and flapper-chic. We also couldn’t stop wishing this movie had been out back during high school American literature class.

Image © 2012 Warner Bros. Ent.

The trailer got us thinking: What would we wear to a Great Gatsby party? We did a little online window shopping and found a handful of Art Deco- and Roaring Twenties-inspired pieces for putting on the Ritz. We’re sure Daisy and Gatsby would think these are the bee’s knees.

Sunny days are here again (even in Seattle)! Check out our list for the season’s top 10 essentials for easy summer style. How does your own list stack up?

We ran across Alyson at her blog, Crushing on Clothes and loved seeing her mix of aquas and the casual styling of this Willow & Clay asymmetrical hem dress—perfect for a sunny stroll around the University of Washington campus here in Seattle.

She’s hitting all the right trends with her bright pops of color,  high/low hemline and a light-and-airy look for spring. So cute!

Shop similar styles:

High/Low Hemlines | Bright Jewelry | Pop of Color Handbags

Shop our Editor’s Picks to recreate this look:

Willow & Clay Asymmetrical Hem Dress

Alexis Bittar Medium Tapered Bangle (Nordstrom Exclusive)

Jimmy Choo Riki Shopper

Here’s a time-saver: A shirtdress can morph from polished to casual in seconds. Check out our four ways for working this staple—seen here in spring’s happiest shade—both in and out of the office.

Sleek simplicity. Let the dress do the talking and adorn with simple but beautiful accessories. [Pictured: Nordstrom Bangles, Nordstrom Scallop Statement Necklace, Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Shirtdress]

Business chic. Power up your look with a crisp white blazer (another of our favorite pieces right now) and neutral heels. Keep things interesting with a brilliant bag. [Pictured: Cole Haan Slingback Pump, Theory Double Breasted Jacket, Elliot Lucca Tote, Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Shirtdress]

Night out. Go glam with metallic extras. Instead of color, think exotic texture and shine. [Pictured: Via Spiga Python Belt, Enzo Angiolini Sandal, Vince Camuto Clutch, Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Shirtdress]

Wherever weekend. Add textured everything—a craft bag and easy-walking flat, even your belt. We love the thrown-together ease. [Pictured: Fina Firenze Stretch Belt, Hinge ‘Tanner’ Sandal, Steven by Steve Madden Tote, Persol Sunglasses, Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Shirtdress]

The much-anticipated Diane von Furstenberg and Current/Elliott denim collaboration is now available at Nordstrom (let’s talk printed denim pants, printed denim skirt, denim wrap dress…it’s jeanius!).

Also worthy of note: “Writer’s Block”, directed by Gia Coppola, takes us inside the life of a young Hollywood screenwriter, who happens to have a most enviable DVF wardrobe.

This season’s bright hues and bold stripes have your editors waxing nostalgic for the mild, sub-tropical climate and color-washed public spaces of Valparaiso, Chile.

Our inspiration: Local lore in Valparaiso (Valpo, if you’re in the know) says that boat painters used to place excess buckets on the docks, leaving townspeople free to coat their city with the saturated pigments. And speaking of saturated, what could be better for exploring one of Chile’s most vibrant places—or any warm-weather destination—than this Splendid stripe maxi dress. It’s flirty, cheery and ready when you are to paint the town red—or whatever color suits your fancy.

Jeff Powell