What’s a pissed-off middle-aged warrior princess supposed to do for a holiday party? You know what is expected: the holiday outfit. The slightly-dressier-than-usual dress, something that makes you unable to let your stomach pooch out, in a fancier fabric than usual. I will admit that this Resistor is rarely invited to dressy holiday events and has stacks and racks of dressy gear rarely hauled out. But it’s fun to consider how one might tiptoe between the societal expectations of a standard holiday outfit for a middle-aged woman, and wearing something that tells others something’s just a wee bit off in your mood this year of 2016. You are ready to party, but you are also ready to make phone calls, write letters, and send money to groups like Planned Parenthood. So you don’t want to trot out this old goodie of a holiday outfit. This “Velvet Wrap Dress” from Boden (on sale for $206.40) is fine but dreary: standard cut, bracelet-length sleeves, a v-neck made for a fancier necklace than usual, and high heels. Not fun and not at all what a warrior middle-aged woman wants when …
… you feel like showing up like this. You are not happy about this November, about this December, about January 20th. You are pissed, outraged and ready to roll.
So what to wear?
The A-line Indications brand sweater dress from Kohls (under $100) is funky, easy to wear, and has an odd medieval/skeleton look. While the model had the classic demure posture even she gave in and wore a bold silver finger ring with it. The lines of this dress are wholly standard, with a slightly boxy bodice (all the cheaper to make) and an a-line skirt, but the pattern can by played up, and suddenly you have an edgier outfit. Fine, you want holiday cheer? The inexpensive shield pendant from etsy dealer denise5960 in Canada comes complete with lion, shield, and in the middle, an angry grimacing “warrior” (no chain, $35.00). The shoes strike a slightly medieval feel with those three straps, and the detailing hits the grey on black skeleton pattern just right. The shoes are Earth Serano from Nordstrom in black leather (they also come in prune, which is its own edgy reference) and are, ahem, under $200.
And here’s a more typical fancy outfit you could saunter out in. First, this dress is not your standard sweet party frock. The shape is a bracelet-sleeved sheath, but most importantly for our warrior princess, the right side is ruched from the armpit down to about mid-thigh. That ruching will make almost every figure look pretty freaking great (the dress comes in plus and misses). The floral pattern sprays out from the ruching seam line across the body and runs off-center (the back of the dress make this obvious). It’s a pooch-hiding flowerly bloodbath of a demurely styled dress.
Pair this with some kick-ass shoes. And for goodness sakes, be daring. These work because they are in black suede and have a heel — sheath dresses look pretty miserable in a flat heel — and that bold ankle cuff and the wrapped heel are pretty kick-you cool (shoes Corso Como’s Bonsai, again from Nordstrom and $150.00). Add a necklace and bracelet out for blood. The necklace, offered by Etsy vintage dealer Tymegoesbyvintage, is supposedly from the 1960s, and is made of black and grey beads. The bracelet appears to be stretch and made of hundreds of wire loops around elastic strings.
And you are set to go, a middle-aged warrior princess disguised as your typical holiday-partying sweet suburban gal.
Update: I puzzled over the daring pattern of that Kohls sweater dress, and realized it is a knock-off of no one less than Alexander McQueen label, designed under Sarah Burton. The original dress, just under $2,000, is on offer at Bergdorf Goodman; the Kohls dress on sale for $31.00 isn’t a perfect match, but I understand now why the Kohls dress caught my eye. The pattern is cruder, blown up in scale, and arranged vertically rather than horizontally, but the cut, the interesting floral/medieval patterning? even the cut are similar.