When I was fresh out of college and sartorially conservative, I believed the perfect party dress was one in basic, boring black. I think I read some magazine article that said no one can tell if you wear the same dress everywhere if the frock in question is generic enough. After a couple of years, I realized I didn’t care if people noticed how often I wore a particular outfit. I mean, if you don’t have anything better to do than keep track of my wardrobe, knock yourself out.
Since then, I’ve gravitated towards distinctive pieces. For a wedding last weekend, I wore a tartan strapless dress from my friend Zang Toi’s Fall 2008 collection. Here I am wearing the dress — and accompanied by Zang — in 2009 …
… and here’s how the dress looked on Saturday.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Zang Toi (2009)
Shoes: Lagerfeld (1994)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Shawl: Zang Toi
Necklace: My own Queen of Scots design (see what I did there with the tartan dress?)
For a dinner a few nights later, I wore a new Mary Katrantzou dress. The typewriter-keyboard print should make this one pretty memorable.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Mary Katrantzou (2012)
Shoes: Prada (2010)
Rings: My own designs
In the early ’80s, when I was in high school, I took a typing class (using a manual typewriter) because my parents wanted to make sure I could get work as a secretary. A charming pothead named Lou sat in front of me in class. I had a major crush on him. I don’t know what happened to Lou, but I do know that nowadays everyone types with his/her thumbs, so I’m pretty sure typing classes are a thing of the past. I’m still a kick-ass typist though. I’m like Johnny from Airplane, without the glamour.
You can check out other ladies who choose to stand out in Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday post here.
I remember my own typing class on some early computer. It was all about keystrokes and deleting out any unwanted keystrokes. Keystrokes is burned into my mind and I need a dress to represent this. Black and green dot matrix dress!! You look great and I agree. Never buy a boring dress again! On a semi-related note, do very expensive earrings and necklaces have traditional clasps and backs or are they secured some other way?
A chain should have a nice strong lobster claw clasp and I like to use an omega back for heavier earrings that have room for that.
sulky kitten says
My typing experience ended up the same way as my Irish dancing and yoga classes-I was escorted from the room and instructed not to come back. Love those dresses, you look great in red.
I took a skiing lesson once and after 30 minutes threw down the poles and stomped off. No one even had to escort me, I was OUTTA there.
Wendy in Red!
I love that you wore that tartan dress to a wedding! As a MacDonald, I love it when people wear tartan or tradiitonal dress to a wedding. (at my wedding, a lovely friend of my parents wore traditional dress and her husband wore a kilt!) BRAVO!
Love the MK dress…so perfect on you, and perfect for you! More red! Wear more red!
Love red, it goes with my lipstick 😉
FASHION IMPERATIVE says
Wooow, lovely look! The dress is verry pretty!
I too am a kick ass typist. My husband made me learn (when he saw what a mess I was) by buying me “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing”. Seriously, I can talk to you and type at the same time. I’m vain about my typing skillz.
Let’s have a type-off!
déjà pseu says
Ha! My family wanted me to take typing classes for the same reason. And yes, I’m still a kick-ass typist too. I LOVE that typewriter dress, so different and cool.
I have a vague recollection of crying because I didn’t want to be a secretary — I wanted to be a journalist!
Amber of Butane Anvil says
The pattern placement and seaming on your plaid dress, and Mary Queen of Scots necklace, are divinely perfect! And the typewriter dress just about knocks me over. You look amazing!
Your story of Lou is very dear. 🙂
I don’t think I’ve worn the Queen of Scots necklace with the tartan before…overdue!
Zang does beautiful work.
love love love the plaid dress
I was in love with that dress the minute I saw it on Zang’s runway.
Gah, my parents made me take typing, too! And a fat lot of good it did me. Love the new Mary Katrantzou, though!
At least they didn’t force me to take “home ec.”
Susan Partlan says
Raising my hand as another kickass typist!
You’re the best dresser I know. Love the dresses and jewelry and everything pictured here.
Alice Olive says
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. Heh.
That’s one of my favorite movies of all time.
I remember my typing class but no guys I was in an all girls school. I was so determined to be fast with no mistakes because I wanted to be someone’s Exective Asst oh brother please. Love love love your Mary Katrantzou dress!!
I feel bad that you didn’t have a cute stoner to help you pass the time.
Were you using manual typewriters too? Those things were painful.
I want to tap at your chest and make typewriter noises
MrB already did that!
you look fabulous in the tartan number! i love it!!!!
Thank you!It can also be worn with a striped sweater under it – http://wendybrandes.com/blog/2009/04/san-francisco-treat/
Megan Mae says
Basic computer class (word/powerpoint/etc) is still required in college!
You always look fabulous. I’d rather make a statement and be known for it than be boring and bland. You’re never boring, Wendy!
You always stand out yourself!
The Style Crone says
You must have turned heads at the wedding in that beautiful tartan dress. I took typing classes in the 50’s in high school, and I never type with my thumbs.
No texting, Judith?! But how do you communicate with your daughter? 🙂
Lynne DeVenny (@ExpertParalegal) says
My parents wanted me to take typing classes so I could be a secretary, too! What lofty ambitions 😮 Of course, now I keyboard every day, so go, typing classes!
I was forced to learn to text if I wanted to communicate with my teen daughter. I’ve got to say, I’ve got that thumb thing down well enough to take notes using my iPhone.
I know, lofty ambitions, right? There weren’t too many boys in the class preparing to be secretaries…just Lou, trying to graduate.
Lynne DeVenny (@ExpertParalegal) says
P.S. I forgot to say you look amazing in both dresses!
The typewriter dress! Amazing! We all had to do typing at school, the subject was called “Keyboard Skills”. Perhaps they thought “Typing” was too 1950s. I totally type with like 3 fingers at the most so it was obviously wasted on me. I’m fast though. Also, I watched that clip…hilarious! I had to Google the movie, never heard of it before. I have obviously been living under a rock.
Oh, you HAVE to rent it. It is a classic!
Here’s some info about “Hobo with a Shotgun”
A train pulls into the station – it’s the end of the line. A hobo jumps from a freight car hoping for a fresh start in a new city. Instead, he finds himself trapped in an urban hell. This is a world where criminals rule the streets and Drake, the city’s crime boss, reigns supreme alongside his sadistic murderous sons, Slick & Ivan. Amidst the chaos, the hobo comes across a pawn shop window displaying a secondhand lawn mower. He dreams of making the city a beautiful place and starting a new life for himself. But as the brutality continues to rage around him, he notices a shotgun hanging above the lawn mower… Quickly, he realizes the only way to make a difference in this town is with that gun in his hand and two shells in its chamber…
Also I can ask questions of my cube-mate who went to see it, if you’d like a personal response to the movie, WendyB. I do remember that he liked it. He likes lots and lots of movies.
Okay…I might actually have to see this.
And how is it possible that Tarantino is not already remaking it???
I recently discovered your blog and I’m hooked 😉 I remember specifically avoiding ‘keyboarding’ in high school because I NEVER wanted to be a secretary. HA! I FINALLY learned how to touch-type with a crappy free program a few years ago.
I feel like kids must come out of the womb knowing how to type now, thanks to computers being everywhere!
I love the typewriter dress. I had parents with the same concerns…and they gently tried to discourage the writing career I had in mind. Grading freshmen essays…ever after.
What’s up with the parental units, man?!
Whoa! Two amazing dresses! You look stunning.
These comments and your replies have tickled me. 🙂
So many women being prepared for secretarial duties, eh?
I love your keyboard dress… so cool!
Thanks, I couldn’t pass it up!
Patti @ NotDeadYet Style says
Gah, I remember typing class, and we didn’t have a *single* guy in it, pothead or no. Love, love the red dresses, you look gaw-geous. Thanks for sharing the fab with Visible Monday.
Tamera Beardsley says
My dear i loved seeing your dress styled both ways..you look absolutely gorgeous as always!
I got a D in typing class. The keys were blanked out and I also sed the finger to hit the B key. I hated it. I swore I would never have a job that required typing. Never say never!
Wendy, you have such wonderful style and such a striking beauty. You look amazing in red!
I love this typewriter dress! So amazing. You look so gorgeous, Wendy!
“But Bill never asks for a second cup of coffee at home…” or something to that effect. Love that movie! Okay, I’m just wondering if any cheeky fellas said their name was “ZeM/” and tried to type it out on your dress…
Remember the lady speaking jive?
Only MrB tried to type on me!
I love both those dresses–because they are memorable. I also love that you are wearing those Lagerfeld shoes. I’ve seen them in quite a few outfit posts.
Back in high school, my mom made my brother and me take a typing class . . . in summer school! Harsh! The teacher was Mrs. Scobie. It was the very early ’80s. Can you guess what cliché joke we made of her name?
Mrs. Scobe Wan Kenobi.
Oh lawd! LOL.