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Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 1, The Effortless Ankle Dress | Manolo for the Big Girl

Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 1, The Effortless Ankle Dress

I remember when this blog was first born someone asked me for a bit of fashion advice and since we had about twelve readers, I had the time to think it out and give her my learned counsel.

I suggested linen.

WELL, you would’ve thought that I’d suggested she go out and wear the carefully tanned hides of third-graders! She was gracious about it of course, I’ve got incredibly gracious readers, but giminy crickets, it gave me the post traumz for years.

Linen is sort of like long division, in that it sounds hard and scary but when you actually do it you go “oh, that’s it?”

Yes, linen wrinkles and crumples –though better treatments actually make linen a lot less wrinkly now than just a few years ago– but it’s a sophisticated crumple.  It’s relaxed and yet juuust a little formal, so it’s got a very lazy-weekend-on-the-private-island feel to it.

I think I’ve mentioned this dress before:

long linen dress

I love this dress. I want to marry this dress (actually, I have the white one and it would be a very pretty casual beach wedding dress) in fact, I’m deeply tempted to just buy a half dozen of these to add to the two I have at home and just make this my summer uniform, jazzing it up with shrugs and cardis and whatnot.

This is a true ankle-length dress, so for those of you who don’t like showing any leg at all –or for folks like me who keep less-than-rigorous waxing schedules– this is a big winner.  Plus there’s something so chic about an ankle-length linen dress. It couldn’t be easier to wear, looks fab on, and if you get the white one and iron it, you’ll get mad props for being the girl who wears floor-length white linen.

How to wear it:

–with big dangly earrings, flat metallic sandals and a fun wrap

–with a thin belt and an armful of colorful bangles

–with a 90 cm foulard tied on the diagonal around your waist, gypsy style

–with a man’s tailored shirt open and tied at the waist, Hamptons-style

The dress is garment washed, machine washable (makes it even softer, actually) and lined.

18 Responses to “Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 1, The Effortless Ankle Dress”

  1. paperkingdoms April 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m looking forward to your other linen pieces. I so wanted that dress to work on me, but it is fundamentally not the same shape as I am.

  2. theDiva April 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Plummy darling, what do you think of that dress with a wedge espadrille? I’ve been looking for cool-ish dresses to wear on my trip to New Orleans, and really don’t want to walk around town in sandals (at my advanced age, I need better arch support.)

  3. Lisa April 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I want to marry this dress. And I love linen. Can’t wait!!!

  4. Plumcake April 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I think I’d prefer it with a flat, but there’s nothing really WRONG with a wedge espadrille, provided it’s got the same easy feel to it. I’m having a huge espadrille moment right now anyway.

  5. theDiva April 12, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Cool, I’m ready to go out on a limb and try something new. I may even need to get a hat to wear with it.

  6. Jennie April 12, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    How do you think it would fit on a retangular shaped gal? I read the size info (generic and for all their clothes, not that dress specificly) and the waist looked like it was nipped in.

  7. Plumcake April 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Jennie, It’s a little nipped in but not much. It falls pretty much straight on me. There’s certainly no defined waist.

  8. harri p. April 12, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    I love linen. It’s my favorite fabric. I wear it all spring and summer and into the fall, actually.

  9. Plumcake April 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    I love it too Harri, and of course come winter it’s All Bombazine All The Time.

  10. Mrsbug April 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I love linen so props for suggesting it. However, I am height-challenged and I always feel like an ankle length skirt makes me look stumpy.

  11. Plumcake April 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Mrs Bug, if the ankle-length thing doesn’t suit you stay tuned for the rest of the week. You’ll definitely find something up your charmingly short alley.

  12. Broad April 13, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    I bought this dress in white last year when it was on hella sale last year, and I plan on making much better use of it this season. The first time I wore it, it looked all matronly, but I’ve got some better jackets and accessories for it this year.

  13. Bush Piglet April 13, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    Curses! They dont ship to Australia. We dont all wear bikinis and flip flops down here.

  14. Siobhan April 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    I know a lot of people who are leery of linen, on the wrinkle basis, and it just does not compute. Here you are, finally getting an excuse to look chic and wrinkled!

    The difference is (and this is critical) – the wrinkles have to be created by movement, not by your linen sitting in your dryer for two days or wadded up at the bottom of your closet.

    You know those lovely long horizontal wrinkles you get on linen pants right around your hip/bendy lap area? Probably one of the chicest things ever.

  15. Plumcake April 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Siobhan, you are 100% correct. Plus, as I’ve noted earlier, linen wrinkles in a different way than say, cotton shirting or satin. Trop chic. Apropos of nothing but your name, have you heard the song “Siobhan” by the amazing Welsh band (and Friends of Plumcake) Here Be Dragons? My favorite of their failed relationships songs is Rhiannon for obvious reasons, but Siobhan is much more fun and less bittersweet.

  16. Jana April 15, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    I love this dress and missed out on it last year. I am, however, always wary of Spiegel products. I am one of the vertically challenged, and their dresses always seem to want to put my waist somewhere around my low hip region. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether the same is true about this dress? I am entirely on board with the length, just not an unfortunate fit.

  17. Plumcake April 15, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    Jana, I’m long and high waisted and inasmuch as there’s a waist to this dress –it’s curved in, but there’s not a set waist– it hits me where it ought to. That being said, you will definitely have to get it hemmed. It’s pretty darn close to ankle length on me and I’m quite tall. Still, it’s a great quality dress, so it’d be worth the expense.