Saturday, January 16, 2016

What I made to wear to the French Laundry

Spoiler alert: I didn't wear this outfit (insert sad face).

When I found out we had gotten highly-sought after reservations to the French Laundry, I immediately knew I wanted to wear something me-made.  After all, I was so proud of having worn a complete handmade outfit to Quince for my birthday.  But other than men having to wear a jacket, there isn't a lot of guidelines for what to wear to a 3-Michelin star restaurant.  So, I decided to try my hand at sequins...sequins are always fancy, right?

The fabric I selected online wasn't what I expected in person, and holding the length up to my body, I immediately saw the 70s (and not in a good way).  So my uncertainty of the taste-level of the fabric planted the seed of doubt into my mind.  My initial style plan was a simple A-line type dress.  Well, the dress length only accentuated the 70s-ishness of the outfit, so I scraped that idea and went with a simple top and navy slim pant outfit idea.
Sewing sequined fabric sucks.  We all know you have to remove the paillettes from the seam allowance, but you really do actually have to remove all the paillettes from the seam allowances. That took significantly longer than sewing the top.  The linear arrangement of square paillettes made matters so much worse (diagonal seams and darts were impossible).  I couldn't take it anymore, so I finished the neck, sleeve, and hem allowance with shimmery gold HugSnug.  I felt like this was a good solution, but the seed in my mind was growing and growing ("my garment is slap together!", kept running through my mind).  But, I figured with the right accessories, it might still be okay.  On to the pants!
I used the Amazing Fit slim pant pattern (Simplicity 1696) and this fabric from Mood for a pair of chic slim pants.  They turned out okay--not perfect.  But hey, I have these fab velvet heels to fancy it all up!
Our dinner reservations were at 5:30, and we were staying a 5 minute walk to the restaurant.  I dressed in my outfit but at 5:17, I got too nervous to wear a "handmade pants outfit" to the French Laundry and I quickly threw on my Plan B.  Plan B is NOT homemade, but designed by one of my favorites, Byron Lars (with the same awesome shoes):  

Between my uncertainty of the outfit, the grandeur of the restaurant's reputation, and the fact that I feel much more confident, stylish, and myself in a dress, I chickened out!  However, after seeing what other folks were wearing, I felt sad and disappointed that I didn't wear my own outfit.  It would have been perfectly appropriate, and even pretty cute, I think.  And much more comfortable.   By the end of the 8 course meal (and 7 desserts), I felt (and probably looked) like a stuffed sausage.  

So...unfortunately, the memory of our lovely experience at the amazing French Laundry now has a tinge of disappointment in myself for being a wuss.  Ugh.  We'll just have to go back again so I can supplant that memory with a new one (in which I proudly wear something homemade and tell the server that I don't like lamb!).  


  1. The top and pants are both gorgeous - I hope you find many other opportunities to wear them. The dress is stunning as well!

  2. The outfit you made is amazing but that dress looks sooo good on you.

  3. You do look great in both, hope you enjoyed yourself (my son worked for Thomas Keller in NYC)

  4. You do look great in both, hope you enjoyed yourself (my son worked for Thomas Keller in NYC)

  5. That dress is beautiful (I have a Bryon Lars dress too, and I love it!), but I really like the outfit you made, and I dunno about French Laundry, but Chez Panisse in Berkeley is actually pretty casual - I mean, dressy, but not fancy. It's California, I'm pretty sure 20% of the male population doesn't even own a proper shirt and tie.

  6. The sequin top is great and I hope you wear it to another dinner. And as you noticed - people are casual in CA, so anything goes. Glad you had a great dinner, I so want to go there one of these days.

  7. This would look gorgeous. I really like this colour on you. Great dress. I really like the styling here too.
    Raw Silk Fabric by the yard