Tuesday’s TPS Report: Ruffled Silk Wrap Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Neiman Marcus Ruffled Silk Wrap Dress The floral trend is finally getting to us:  we’re loving this dress, exclusively at Neiman Marcus.  Love the mix of the muted, asexual gray with the feminine ruffles and flowers — it’s a great combination and one that works well for the office.  We’d probably keep accessories pretty simple here because it’s such a big print — perhaps some layered silver necklaces and a cuff, and a platform pump in a black, gray, or a skin tone.  The dress is $195 at Neiman Marcus, sizes 4-16.  Ruffled Silk Wrap Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.



  1. “Love the mix of the muted, asexual gray with the feminine ruffles and flowers — it’s a great combination and one that works well for the office.”

    I think this is a nice dress for church and while it works well for some offices, there is no way that a flowery, floaty, ruffled dress is appropriate for all offices or even many offices.

    • I agree. The dress is beautiful for church or a baby shower or maybe an afternoon wedding. I don’t see it working for my office though. Floral and ruffles is not what I want to project at work.

      • I love florals, but this is just WAY too muted for social occasions (for my dark skin tone) and not ‘smart’ enough for the office. So it falls between the cracks for me…

    • anon - chi :

      Agree. This is just too girly and feminine. Not every outfit you wear to work has to project power and authority, but I think this goes too far in the opposite direction, particularly if you already look young.

    • i'm nobody who are you :

      Très Jaclynn Smith for K-Mart, non?

      In the early 1990s?

    • i totally agree, particularly since it looks like there’s some sheerness in the sleeves and the bottom of the skirt (see back view). That plus the big floral print and the floaty and the ruffles . . . Not for work.

  2. I love this and would definitely wear it to the office!

    On a side note, Kat didn’t state that it would work well for all offices. And I think it would work well for many offices. This is actually the exact kind of thing that the majority of my friends and I wear to work.

    • And, I should add, it is exactly the kind of thing that the majority of the female partners and senior associates wear at my work.

      • She said it is appropriate for “the office.” And it is exactly the kind of thing that none of the female partners (including me) and senior associates wear at my work. That’s my entire point — it isn’t appropriate for all offices, even if it might be in yours.

        • Yes, but my point is that “the office” is not equal to “all offices.” No one is suggesting that it’s appropriate for all offices.

          • I totally disagree; I think appropriate for “THE office” does indeed equate to “ALL offices”. Appropriate for “SOME offices” or “MANY offices” = “NOT all offices.”

          • Good for you. I still disagree and actually think it’s silly to suggest that anyone would attempt to say that any one piece is actually appropriate for ALL offices, seeing as it has been acknowledged here time after time that the dress in offices greatly varies.

      • I love to hear that. Not here in my office so much, unfortunately. I do think the gray color scheme offsets the girliness of the style, but I probably couldn’t get away with it here.

    • That is considered VERY appropriate for some of my colleagues in marketing. I still need few months (years) at my company to feel confident to pull off such a girly look (I am 24 and often mistaken to be 15 so it doesn’t help much)

  3. This dress is beautiful. It’s so feminine. I wish I had some place to wear it, but alas I don’t. My new shopping philosophy is that I have to wear what’s in my closet first. If I truly don’t have an appropriate item for an event or work then I can buy it. I’m finding that I buy stuff thinking I’ll wear it to abc or xyz and then it sits in the closet. This dress would be the perfect example. Love it, but don’t have that many places to go that would warrant the purchase. Also, if I don’t wear something by the end of the season or keep ignoring it/won’t wear it for whatever reason, I either remedy an issue (i.e., get a skirt hemmed or buy the right cami to go under a deep v-neck) or send it to Goodwill.

    This has really cut down on my shopping, cleaned out my closet, and helped me to rediscover some wonderful items that I purchased years ago, but are still great. Like the Lily Pulitzer skirt I wore this weekend!

    • Love your philosophy!

      • I recently upgraded my closet with a finite number of Huggable Hangers (which are great, by the way). My new closet rules: (1) no additional hangers – if something comes in something goes out, and (2) everything in the closet has to make me look great or feel great – preferably both.

        Now my closet is roomy without a bunch of crushed clothes that need steaming every wear and lovely to look at each morning. And I’m out of the house much faster everyday.

    • It is so easy to fall into the habit of buying something new every time you have an event. Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style book talks about that a little – you end up with a disjointed, overstuffed wardrobe and you don’t know what you have. So true. I am trying your tactics now, too, and discovering that parts of my wardrobe need to go, certain things need updates, etc, but at least it is more cohesive!

  4. What’s nice about this dress is that the pattern is in shades of one color. Even though it is a floral print (which can sometimes be overwhelming, but not here), it’s nice not to have random pink/green/insert_bright_color accents that hurt your eyes.

    Also, the shoes go very well with the dress (but not so sure about their work appropriateness).

    • Actually, there is color in the dress. Go look at it close up on the NM website and you’ll see there’s color in the flowers.

      • Huh, you’re right (blush). I usually don’t click on the links because they’re blocked. But it’s still a muted dress.

  5. This dress is very “meh” for me. I feel like I seen it, and seen it, and seen it…
    But, the shoes are cute. If I still wore heels, I’d be tempted.

  6. s in Chicago :

    I think the print work well… on an ottoman.

  7. I like this a lot, but it is too floaty for *my* office…better for a social occasion.

  8. This is a pretty dress. I like its cap sleeves and muted floral print. That being said, the neckline is too low for me to wear to work (check out some of the other pictures on the Neiman Marcus website), and I think the ruffles on the bodice/neckline would preclude wearing it with a cardigan or jacket.

    I see this as a summer wedding/summer party dress, not a work dress. YMMV.

  9. I like the shoes. I think these might be they (them? damn):


    too high for work, and too pricey, but cute.

  10. Ha! I’m enjoying this analysis. I wouldn’t wear this to work, but I tend to wear more structured clothing to work. Structure = authority (to me). I could see this working in some workplaces though…

    On an unrelated note, I am loving the silver linings I ordered after last week’s post! My feet feel fresher, if that makes any sense.

  11. As a tangent…
    I saw this women – otherwise professionally dressed and apprently on her way to work – this morning staggering around in the World Financial Center in NYC this morning wearing shoes like this, but in pepto pink leather: http://www.bluefly.com/Yves-Saint-Laurent-bordeaux-suede-Gaby-platform-pumps/cat870096/307618101/detail.fly

    She could barely walk in them, but even if she could have, they looked ABSURD. People were openly laughing as she went by. Why would anyone do this!?!?!

    • I blame Sex and the City. That show made women think it’s a good idea to hobble around in super-high heels

    • As a related tangent, what is up with women in NYC wearing full length lacy skirts to work? I don’t get it – yesterday, I saw a woman wearing a black blazer, with a full length black sheer lacy skirt with a full length solid black skirt beneath it. Today, I saw another woman wear a brightly colored printed top with a full length black sheer lacy skirt with a KNEE LENGTH black solid skirt beneath (yes, you could *clearly* see her legs through the lace skirt). They were both in the their mid-40s. Is there some high-school goth trend going on in the professional attire arena that I’m not aware of?

      • I think those women were going to more “creative” fields than ours — no issue from me on goth-y skirts & blazers, just has to be in the right setting.

    • Wow – that is ridiculous! But wasn’t there a “famous” (on Abovethelaw at least) US Attorney who wore 4″ pink (or was it red?) heels for court? The guys thought it was awesome and apparently she could walk (and won her cases, though it helps to have the government behind you)…

      • I think you could likely get away with even 4 inch red heels — but I think the “walk” part of your comment is super key!

        I hardly ever notice when someone wears really high heels, provided that they can walk graciously & with seeming ease in them. But you’re hobling or sticking out your tush all out of balance in your heels, then either leave them at home or learn to walk properly. This is one of those issues that almost makes me wish we still had finishing schools!

        As a caveat, I do also think this is one of those things that’s easier to pull off as you’re older. A 40 something attorney in nice 4 inch heels & a great suit looks more appropriate to me than a just out of law school, young looking attorney who (unfortunately) can end up looking like she’s just playing dress up. I think it’s slightly unfair, but I think of it as a rare perk of aging that as you get older & more established, you get more leeway for what you can get away with vis a vis your work wardrobe.

        • Anonymous :

          Well, this woman looked to be a 40-something, and it was all wrong (would have been wrong on any age). Yes, the inability to walk in them made it silly, but I was also bothered by the platform. The chunkiness of it all (coupled with the pink pepto color) made it look like the shoes were too big for her. Now that I think about it, it reminds me a little of the Pam/Jim wedding scene from The Office, where Kevin wears tissue boxes for shoes down the aisle…

        • I completely agree that the ability to walk properly in the heels is what’s most important. I see women in 4″ heels who can walk well and they never get strange looks.

    • Those heels are not actually that high – 4 3/4 with a 3/4 platform means they’d feel like about 4 inches. That’s too high for me, but I do know women who wear 4-inch heels and rock it. If she was teetering around and could barely walk, she wasn’t used to the shoes and she should have practiced by walking around her house before wearing them out in public. I wear 3 1/2 inch heels at times and it does take practice – and they are definitely not what I’d call “practical” – but I don’t think a 4-inch heel is unreasonable. I would wager that in NYC there are a fair number of women walking around in heels that high and higher – you just don’t notice it because they’re more confident with their ability to walk in them.

    • divaliscious11 :

      Are you opposed to the height, the color, her inability to walk in them or some combination of of all three? Can’t see wearing pepto pink, and no one hould wear shoes they can’t walk in, but if you can walk in 4 in heels, go for it. The shoes, in the burgundy, are gorgeous.

  12. Sorry, but ugly dress IMO. Whats with all the grapewine and bunch grapes on the body?

    • Agreed, I’m glad I’m not the only person not to have liked it. I don’t like the shape or the color, either. It looks kind of ratty to me, like a dress my mom got for me to wear to church when I was a kid that hung in my closet for a decade.

  13. Not a fan of this dress, the print looks matronly to me. I could see an older woman going to church wearing this. I wouldn’t wear this to work.

    • I thought the same thing until I looked at the other pictures on the NM website. When I looked at it close up I changed my mind.

      • Yeah, the other pics on NM website did me in, too. The dress is just sort of ‘off’ – seems at once too ruffly and too matronly/churchlady. Pass.

  14. Wow. I’m normally a fan, but this is terrible and very matronly. It’s screaming out for orthopedic shoes and nude support hose.

    I would be openly mocked if I wore this to the office.

  15. Me no likey……

  16. aunt becky :

    looks like someone at NM hopped in the time machine and robbed the “full house” wardrobe closet….

  17. Thread-jack; I need some advice. I’m wearing this suit to an interview on Thurs: http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=454479&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results

    Adding black patent leather Cole Haan pumps, probably very sheer pantyhose since the interviewer is an older woman. What would you put under this? Camisole? But I’m worried about sweating on the suit jacket itself. Haven’t had much luck finding a low enough tshirt and anything that peeks through, clashes with the collar. BTW, although the 3/4 sleeves look a little off on the model, they look just right on me b/c I have proportionately shorter arms.

    The interview is internal (boss knows, recommended me) so I may also come dressed to work in my usual more casual outfits and change before going upstairs. Not sure how to play that out, since anyone seeing me in a suit will likely guess exactly what’s going on (and I’m looking out for people wearing suits, to suss out the competition!!).

    • The whole changing idea seems odd to me. I’d wear a fancy t-shirt with the skirt and then put the jacket on when you go to the interview.

      Is the point that you don’t want your shirt to stick out because of the collar on the jacket? if so, you could try leaving the jacket open so it’s not such a big deal if a tee sticks out.

  18. thread hijack…. How do we feel about electric blue blazers? When I see one I think about that show from the 80’s, Designing Women. But apparently it’s a trend among female attorneys/judges? Any of you Corporettes out there wearing this look? How do you keep it from looking dated?

    Sorry to say I had to read about it on Above the Law:

    • They’re VERY popular in my area. I have actually been looking for one but every one I’ve tried on is TOO bright for me. I would love to find one in a softer/more muted “electric” blue, like the one on Sotomayor.

  19. On anyone under 5’8″ or over 120 lbs, this is a grandma dress. Looks great on the model, I have a hard time seeing it work on anyone in real life.

  20. A beautiful dress, but it says social-occasion to me, not professional attire.

  21. Ditto Sharon’s (#57) comment – Regardless of age, size, or geographical locale, not for the office or business occasion (ever!) and other than an afternoon wedding or very dressy special occasion luncheon, definitely for after 5 unless with a jacket.