Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Reconnaisance Mission!

It's about that time of year again when women around the country are starting to obsess over what they're going to wear to the Romance Writer's of America's Golden Heart and RITA award ceremony at the national conference in Orlando. After all, it is only two months away!

If you're a GH or RITA finalist or you're presenting, chances are you'll be a bit more formal than the rest. When I tell people I've been nominated for another RITA this year, the first question is, "What are you going to wear?"

Two years ago, I was a RITA finalist and wore a long black, mermaidy thing. Loved it. Since I never went to prom, I got my fix that night! This year, I'm looking at long dresses again, but thinking I might go short.

As I glanced through a few pictures online, I realized I tend to immediately dismiss 90% of the styles. Apparently, I have a few rules. No strapless, spaghetti straps or one shoulder styles. Looking like a goddess is good. Looking like an ancient Greek goddess is not. It has to be long enough so that no one starts wondering what happens when I sit and don't cross my legs. It can't be something my mother would wear, but it can't be something my daughter would wear, either. And it can't looked like lingerie. You know, those simple silk things that look more like slips.

Here are a few that tripped my trigger.

Some short:



Some long:


In my dreams:


So what's the first thing you look for in a dress for a special occasion? What will immediately nix a dress for you? And which of the above dresses is your favorite(s)?

And we're keeping track of comments all week long. Every Rider is giving something away to celebrate our anniversary and Michele's going to post a list this weekend!



Michele Hauf said...

I love the second one! And I could see that one on you, Helen. And many of the other ones as well.

I usually look for a dress to cover all the parts I don't need others to notice (which have accumulated over the years). And a color that makes me happy. Red or purple, usually.

Linda Henderson said...

I like numbers 1,4 and 10 with 4 being my favorite. I like the color. I'm sure you will look great whatever you wear.

Virginia C said...

Hi, Helen! Congratulations again on your nomination! Great dress choices!

Short: #3- Great color & swirl : )

Long: #12- Oh, Yeah!

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Pamela Keener said...

My absolute favorite the red dress followed by the first black dress.
I love elegant dresses but nothing over the top that knocks you over or has a danger of popping out if you know what I mean.
Love & Hugs,

Liza said...

I really liked many of the dresses. My favorite short dresses are 1,3, and 4. In the long dresses I love 6,8, and 10. I also love dress #12.

Helen Brenna said...

I went back in and #'d them. Helps to see what everyone's thinking.

Michele, my daughter says purple is the new hot color! I like the longer, flowing hemline on the one you picked. Those saggin' knees, you know!

Helen Brenna said...

Linda, 4 is really interesting, isn't it? Just a little different and I love that deep read.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks Virginia! I think that floucy swirl on #3 would be really flattering. 12 is gorgeous, isn't it? I wore something very similar last year - black with wide shoulder straps. So lucky to find it!

Helen Brenna said...

Hey Pamela. I think you mean 4 - that's the 2nd vote for that one!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Liza. I think #1 is the sexiest dress up there. If I could pull something like that off, I might just do it. Given my years of sexy are waning, I'm wanting to take advantage of them!!

Oh, and you can click on them for close-ups!

MsHellion said...

#5 & 8 are my favorites.

What do I look for in a dress? Something slimming and with great cleavage. Something that will distract from my arms, which aren't slim. Even when they're toned they aren't slim.

What will nix a dress for me? Probably the color purple. And cap sleeves. Hate cap sleeves. Remind me of bad bridesmaid dresses. Come to think of it, so does the purple.

Helen Brenna said...

Hey, MsHellion. It's so interesting to get opinions. Explains why there are soooo many different styles. Cap sleeves make me look like a football player, so I'm there with you on that!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Helen. My favorites are 4, 6, and 7. All the dresses are lovely and I think you would look great in any of them.

Virginia said...

I like all the dresses but I think number 9 is my favorite! I couldn't even tell you when the last time I was in a dress! I usually wear a two piece suit but only when I have to.

MaryC said...

My favorite dress is #2.

Kirsten said...

I'm loving these dresses! If I had to pick one (and price wasn't an issue) I'd take the purple one. Nr. 3 cause it's cute/fun and swirly at the bottom. I think it would give me that happy feeling and inspire me to spinn some rounds in front of the mirror.
I would advice to go for a shorter dress so you can see some fabulous shoes.

Cindy Gerard said...

Helen - you'd look great in any one of those dresses. They're all fabulous.
#10 trips my trigger - for me, not for you :o) Well, yes, for you but I want it so you can't have it - are we clear?

I'm not up for an award this year but I'm seriously hoping I get to present the RS award (being last year's winner I should get dibs on that, right???) because I want to give it to Kylie, our very own Rider!!

Good luck Helen - on picking out a dress and on winning.
Riders Rule with you, Kylie, Christie, Betina and Kathleen all leading the RITA pack! Woo Woo

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks, Crystal! I think you're the first person to pick #7. You have to enlarge that one to see the detail, but it's very unique!

Helen Brenna said...

Virginia, I'm not crazy about dresses either, but there's something about RITA award night ...

And thanks for your input MaryC!

Helen Brenna said...

Kirsten, you hit on a limiting factor for me ... price! It's impossible for me to justify spending $300-400 on a dress I'll wear once. And some of these are that expensive. Now that I think about it, though, that's another reason to go short - more versatile!

Twirly is always good!

Helen Brenna said...

Okay, Cindy, I'll let you have #10. All these pics came from the Nordstrom website. There were some I loved from Macy's, too, but I couldn't copy the pics here in a decent size.

I hope you get to present, too, and to Kylie!!

Riders do rule!

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, that'd be a fun blog. Us Rider's could pick our fave dress and our followers have to match the dress with the Rider. Sounds like fun!

lois greiman said...

I love #7.

Best of luck, Helen. And congrats to all the finals. Always exciting.

Karyn Gerrard said...

I love number 8, black, elegant, classy, even has a look of 'Old Hollywood' about it!

Best of luck to you!

catslady said...

I think I would like myself in #2 but most of the dresses are beautiful except #13 lol. I like the bright colors or even the basic black or white. I also look for comfort. If I have to be sucking my stomach in the entire night, forget it lol.

Helen Brenna said...

Lois, I can see you in #7!

Karen, I almost put #8 in the "In my Dreams" category. But I guess this one is exactly what they make those spandex tummy tuckers for, right? lol

Catslady - a lot of people have picked #2. It looks pretty AND comfortable.

Helen Brenna said...

Correction - Karyn - sorry!

jeanette8042 said...

I always look for dresses that are cut for my body type and are in a color I like like black or dark blue. I'm loving dress #1.

LSUReader said...

Helen--My favorite dress is #3. For a long dress, I'd go with #7. Isn't this fun? You've done all the hard work--writing, editing, rewriting, touring, etc. and now you get to kick up your heels and find a great dress. Congrats on the nomination.

Anna Dougherty said...

I like #2, #3 and #7.

The first two dresses look comfortable and elegant, plus the color is fabulous.

The last one is just awesome looking and it seems like a dress that I wouldn't hate to wear.

runner10 said...

I love dress #4. Love the color and style.
Color is the first thing that catches my eye. I hardly ever wear a dress this sophisticated anymore.

Leanne said...

Helen, what a FUN post! My fave pics are 1,3,4,5,8. Ooh lala. What words frighten me when I'm dress shopping? BANDAID dress. PENCIL skirt (I am NOT shaped like a pencil). SNUG-FITTING. What words excite me when I'm dress shopping? SALE, CLEARANCE, A-LINE, FLATTERING, PINK. haha GREAT post!

Helen Brenna said...

Jeannette, I usually gravitate toward darker colors, too. Have to make myself try on the reds and green and whites.

Thanks, LSU. This is definitely a fun part of this process!

With Anna's vote, I'm seeing some favorites developing.

Runner - Other than the RITAs I never have an excuse to wear these kinds of dresses. I'm taking it while I can!

Helen Brenna said...

Pencil skirt - LOL - No pencils around here, either, Leanne!

Sales and clearances are lovely - especially when you may only wear the thing once. I'll bet pink looks GREAT on you. Me? Not so much. Unless I have a killer tan, and I haven't had one of those since ... well, my 20s!!

robynl said...

I love #7 for style but the purple one is my fav color.

I need a dress that doesn't accentuate the middle of me.

ForestJane said...

Can you deduct the price of the dress on your income tax as a business expense?

I'd be tempted to get (or make) a black skirt. Then you could pair it each year (because you would have to plan on winning every year) with a different expensive blouse in either black or jewel tones in fabrics like silk, satin, etc.

Helen Brenna said...

Robynl, I think #s 9 and 10 help draw in the waist. I've tried on a couple that gather like #9 and was pleasantly surprised by how they hid my tummy.

ForestJane, that's a good idea. Will have to check into that!

georganna said...

I liked #3 and #9. Good luck dress hunting!

s7anna said...

Those are some great dresses...One of my biggest challenge is finding a dress that will nicely handle my big bum, my tummy plus my boobs...tall order I know...but it's got to check off all my needs to make the cut.

I would definitely try out #3 as well as #7 as potential winners.


KylieBrant said...

Some fantastic dresses there, Helen! I tend to look for something that covers up my flabby arms, LOL. Am trying to be frugal and stick with the dress I wore to son #3's wedding a couple years ago.

Keri Ford said...

#1 and #4

I dont' think I have individual parts about dresses I don't like, it depends on the whole thing for me.

oh wait, I don't like anything that runches or patterns horizontally across my waist or hips. No need to emphasize!

Betina said...

Number 8 is my fave. . . or maybe it's just that I love that chic, composed looks-- or maybe that I wished I looked like her!!!

I also really liked #'s 4 and 5. the short red numbers. Caliente!!!

Jane said...

My favorites are number 1 and 8. I tend to only choose black dresses because I think they're more flattering for my body. I think I need to be more adventurous and pick a dress of a different color.

karenk said...

i love the red short dress, #4

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

traveler said...

Love the choices but #3, #4 and #5 are delightful and classic. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Helen Brenna said...

Seems like there some consensus here, huh?

I tend to gravitate toward black dresses, too. There's a reason they're so popular. They are flattering. I think if I could find a dress the color of #4, though, I could be persuaded out of my comfort zone!

Laurie said...

Long- I liked #9.I just wouldn't pick the white color...too bridal. I like the straps, the waist is slimming. It's elegant!

I like #4 for a short dress. I'd prefer it in a royal blue color especially with really dark or blond hair.

Is it dressy enough?

I have cankles so I need a long dress or an uneven bottom hem.

No slits for me.

Almost all of the dresses have a V neck style...if that works for you go for it!!

MJFredrick said...

Oh, I love Number 2!

Helen Brenna said...

Laurie, #9 came in navy, too, which I preferred, but I couldn't copy the pic in the right size with that color, so ... I think it would be a very flattering style.

Yeah, I think 4 is dressy enough, but you're right. The finalist and presenters do dress up more. I'm just not sure I want to go long. I see everything from long formals to pantsuits at the RITA.

Funny, that you noticed that they're all V-necks! I didn't realize I'd done that. Probably another one of my rules that I didn't even realize I had. It's that cleavage thing. Since I finally, for the first time in my life, have some, gotta flaunt it!!

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks MJF!

Anonymous said...

i say color an dstyle
those look great
wtg winners


Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews said...

I like #8 and #11 because black is one of my favorite colors and you usually can never go wrong with a black dress.

Helen Brenna said...

I'm going on a real reconnaissance mission tomorrow with a friend. MOA here I come! Should be fun.

donnas said...

I look for something that will help flatter me and hide some flaws.

However, I love #7. Dont think I could get away with it, but I love it.

Corinne said...

My favorite is number 9! Maybe in black rather than white, but I like the style, it's just perfect!
Actually I like sleeveless dresses, but no strapless! No way! Too dangerous!