Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marni Dress and Redress

The front and back of my briefly owned Marni dress. H&M photo. 

Did you hear the hubbub when Marni launched its collaboration collection with H&M in March? It was reported on the Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and numerous fashion blogs. I read all of it and the more I read, the more excited and curious I got. Marni is headquartered in Milan and designs quirky, funky luxury ready-to-wear and accessories for women and men. Then I watched the Sophia Coppola directed video shot in lush, exotic Morocco with languorous pretty people wearing the Marni/H&M off-beat prints and chunky accessories backed by the soundtrack of Bryan Ferry's "Avalon", I was a goner.

But not so gone that I was going to wait hours in line at the Powell Street H&M on opening day and scrabble with the hoards for some little scrap or plastic bit of Marni. The collection sold out quickly in San Francisco. And I wasn't confident enough about the sizing to order on Ebay, so I let my desire to have a Marni designed item go.

But then two weeks ago I was in H&M on Post Street and this one Marni dress (pictured above) was stuck on a rack with random blouses so I scooped it up and marched to the dressing room to give it a try. Quirky it was, made of a stiff polished cotton with a different print on the front and back. And a smocky shape. And very long tight sleeves. And a drawstring neck. It felt a little straightjackety when I first put it on. But hey! I could shorten the sleeves. Maybe shorten the long tie in the back. And if I had the right belt, the right chunky shoes, maybe leggings, I could make it work! And it was "only" $99 for a Marni! And it was the last one left! It was meant to be mine. So I bought it.

Feeling unsure, I looked the dress up online and found a few style bloggers modeling the dress. It looked interesting and worldly cool on them. I could do it too! I was in deep denial that they were also six feet tall, beautiful and could make a burlap sack look good.

At home, I tried it on for Matt adding a belt, platform sandals, leggings, tjuzing up the sleeves, adjusting and readjusting the neckline. No matter what I did, it looked awful. Seeing the dress through Matt's objective eyes, all my misty visions of looking romantically exotic and like I just got back from lounging on a divan in Morocco disappeared and I saw the dress for what it was on me. A bad fit in a loud print. Matt called it a sad dress. There's not too much worse than that. Back to H&M I went with dress and receipt and got my money back.

Another case of letting advertising, wishful thinking and my imagination blind me to what is truly right for my style. I feel the need to go on a clothes cleanse diet. Purge my closet and my vision of all except styles that look good and feel good on me and not me trying to be someone other than who I am. And trust in knowing that being oneself is what elegance and style is really about.


  1. And making this kind of mistake is exactly how you learn who you are. You would never have known.

  2. Amen to that last paragraph.

  3. My friend Mary came to visit and the other night when we were going out she put on a sort of fabulous tunic and I looked at it and said, Is that Marni? I knew based on having seen just the two garments in your blog. The tunic looked great on her; was definitely her style. I couldn't have pulled it off.

  4. Tipsy, I read your comment with a pang of envy. I sure would like to pull off that casual chic boho style. But it's not me. My boho envy is something I keep bumping up against. Perhaps I could explore my personal boho, maybe with just an accessory like a gauzy print scarf.
    P.S. The photo is front and back of the same dress. Makes it even odder! I'll edit the caption to make that clear.

  5. Hi! Found your blog through our mutual fabulous friend, Tina. I, too, am a lover of all things Marni and missed out on the H&M sale, as well. Luckily, I am about 30 minutes away from the Marni outlet. Yes...there's an outlet in Southern California. :) I have great respect for your willingness to try something new even though it didn't work out.