Monday, April 29, 2013

By Malene Birger Callinga Dress

I keep a Pinterest board of items that I'd love to add to my closet, but the chances of me doing so are slim to none (late to the game being the #1 reason). Among the ones on my board is this unique embellished tweed shift dress. It was love at first sight the second I saw it on Wendy.
By Malene Birger Callinga Dress
By Malene Birger Callinga Dress
The dress was sold out everywhere I looked, so imagine my elation when limited stock appeared on The Outnet a few months later. I literally squealed out loud, quickly put a hand over my mouth, then looked around to see if any of my co-workers heard. A vain attempt, no less. I knew a trip to the tailor was necessary because the smallest size available didn't look like it would fit based on measurements. I was hoping that the neckline and length will fit ok off the rack and I can just ask for the dress to be slimmed.

Though I didn't have much of a choice, I still wanted to familiarize myself with Danish sizing. This dress comes in sizes DK 32-44. I typically wear the same size or one smaller than the mannequin from Net-A-Porter/The Outnet, so DK 32 or 34 would probably fit me best. The size I bought and am wearing below is DK 38 (equivalent to US 8 according to Net-A-Porter's conversion chart).
By Malene Birger Callinga Dress - pre-alterations
It's kind of hard to spot the differences between pre- and post-alterations (photos above and below, respectively) because the style of the dress wasn't meant to be figure-hugging. The tailor took in about 1-2" along each side, so the difference in the dress felt more obvious when worn -- less billowy from the back being the most noticeable change. By slimming the sides, the armhole opening was also raised slightly (no complaints from me). I'm quite happy with the end results. I paid $105 total ($80 to slim the sides, $25 to retain the pockets). Ouch. If I could do it all over, I'd probably skip keeping the pockets because they sit lower now than before (if my pre-alterations memory serves me correctly), probably due to removing excess fabric.
By Malene Birger Callinga Dress - post-alterations
My favorite part of the dress has to be the black tweed pattern from afar. Doesn't it look like a musical score? Which is surprising because it's been years since I've looked at one.

I was amazed when I saw and held the dress in person. The dress is heavy (3-4 lbs), with much of the weight coming from the gold chain trim, beadings, and sequins. The material itself is thick, but much needed to hold the embellishments in place. DH hated the dress on sight (his horrified expression is what I call his uncanny valley look), but has since come around a bit. Now he calls it my "warrior princess" dress due to the "chainmail." Pshhh, guys. He's also not a fan of my tweed jacket nor brocade dress, so I think he just has an aversion to textured materials in general.

Since the Callinga dress is sold out, if you're interested in similar items:
- By Malene Birger Rasminel dress is pretty much spot on minus the chain trim and in a black/white color scheme. It's on sale for $257 at Les Nouvelles or for full-price at Net-a-Porter
- By Malene Birger Sambiara tweed shorts with the same pattern is $115.01 at The Outnet

I'm embarrassed to say that I get flustered when pronouncing certain brand names. For example, I always pause for too long when I'm about to say Hermes (because I think of the Greek God first) and often times will stutter out "H" instead, lol. I can't seem to find a consensus on a pronunciation for Malene Birger -- can anyone help? It looks like mah-leen bur-jh-er to me. The less I make a fool of myself, the better.

An intricate dress like this speaks for itself, so accessories aren't really needed. I like how the gold, silver, and black embellishments allow for versatile jewelry pairings, if you like to match metal colors. I plan on wearing this dress to a couple summer weddings later on -- should be ok because there's enough pattern against the cream fabric, right? But since I'm impatient, I've already taken the dress out for a casual stroll.
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sunglasses: Walmart aviator (similar)
lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in wink for pink (sold here)
dress: By Malene Birger Callinga (similar)
bracelet: Madewell knot cuff (similar)
clutch: Jenny Yuen Cleo (similar)
shoes: Via Spiga Missy wedges (similar)

24 comments:

  1. Love, love love this on you, Cee. Thanks for sharing the alterations details & costs too!

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  2. Utterly gorgeous. You look amazing. And my husband says the same thing about all my tweed purchases as well, so I guess boys are alike. :)

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    1. Lol, boys will be boys! I remember the first time I wore my tweed jacket around him... he literally shrank away from me!

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  3. LOVE this! It is so stunning and the slight alterations really make so much of a difference. What a stunner piece.

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  4. What a gorgeous dress. Love all the sequins and details.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

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  5. What a nice post detailing the whole process. I appreciate you walking us through it. The end result is certainly worth it! The dress is unique and so great on you. Thanks for including several pictures on this post too (always great to see more than one picture from you). :)

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    1. Hey Sue, glad you enjoyed the photos. Most of the time, I don't have many decent photos to choose from. Then from the ok bunch, I'm in the same repetitive pose. Nobody wants to see dozens of photos of me where my foot or hand is slightly different! So as long as one photo is enough to convey my outfit, I deem that a success, lol! I'll try to make more of an effort to take photos from different angles and share more :)

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    2. That would be great. I always enjoy the photos you post especially the ones that are taken outdoors. It's obvious that you give it a lot of thoughts in choosing your background, location and getting the details of the post/picture just right (I am speculating a bit here but hey, they come through to me that way). Perhaps that's why I want to see more of them.

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    3. You give me too much credit! I'm going to ruin your image of me by saying that I don't spend as much time with photos as you think (at least not anymore). In the beginning, I did put in more effort. But as time went by, self photography became easier as I've learned the ins-and-outs of the camera. I also keep a mental list of favorite locations and can pick and choose pretty quickly which ones would suit a particular outfit aesthetically and work better with the lighting at certain times of the day. I suppose the quicker process doesn't mean I don't put as much thought into it, but it just feels that way.

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    4. Nothing wrong with going about it this way (I appreciate your honesty though). It's like the smart kids at school who get good grades without having to work hard. I call it natural talent and doing it the smart way. :)

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  6. That dress is gorgeous, no matter what your husband says ;)

    And the alterations were totally worth it, because it looks amazing on you!

    And I have no idea how to pronounce it. My one and only sponsored post on the blog was for By Malene Birger and for the longest time I spelled it Marlene (though caught it by the time I put up my post), and that's still how I pronounce it, even though I know there's not "r" in there.

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    1. I can already see it. The next time someone asks me about the dress, my instinct will be to blurt out, "MARLENE--OHWAIT, umm... I bought it online."

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  7. I remember this from your Insta - drooled then, drooling now. So pretty!!!

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  8. Amazing dress!! Definitely music notes came to mind! And lol! at what your man thought...reminds me of what I just got done reading in Jean's latest post.

    I see this as being wedding appropriate. You might steel some attention away from the bride in that, though! :p

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    1. I had to read your comment twice! I thought you meant the dress would be too bridal, so a no-no for a guest. But you said it's wedding appropriate, so whew! I definitely don't want to be stealing the spotlight away from the bride though. No worries, I have a few months to come up with ways to wear this dress but stay in the background.

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  9. The dress is beautiful! I thought of the same thing when I first saw like musical notes!

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    1. Nice, glad I wasn't seeing things :)

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  10. I can totally see the difference w/alterations. I see the musical notes, too. A smashing dress!

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    1. Musical notes that look a bit repetitive, but musical notes nonetheless :) Thanks, Gigi!

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  11. Whoa! I totally see the "musical score" now that you pointed it out. The dress looks beautiful after alterations! And I think pockets are totally worth the cost of saving. =)

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    1. I remember thinking pockets should be way less work than slimming the sides, but yet $25 is 1/3 of $80! But what do I know, I'm no seamstress, haha.

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  12. SO unbelievably gorgeous! Alterations make such a difference (but yipes on the cost, I'm guessing it was because of the trim) and it looks perfect on you now :)

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    1. I think so too. The sequins and chain trim was probably a pain in the butt to work with, so I had already steeled myself to pay $$$.

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