First World Problems

You may remember that when I went to China last year, I had two custom quipao made. I love, love, love these dresses. So, I naturally jumped at the chance when a travelling acquaintance offered to have another made for me while they were in their native China. I gave her my red and black one and asked for the exact same thing, just with a different color inset. Seriously. That’s what I asked for. Not because I have such specific taste or am hard to please, but clothing and design is a personal choice and I know what I like. Plus, if I have something specific in mind it’s because I like it and I may as well have another one. Plus, as I noted in my original post about these dresses, it doesn’t  take much to take these elegant dresses from classy to restaurant wait staff.  I even wrote in my e-mail, ‘Black satin like this. But, just a different, coordinating fabric. Like a blue, or yellow or possibly purple.”

This is what I got back. She thought it was ‘boring’ to have the same dress so she ‘designed’ this for me.  I realize that some people may like it and this is a matter of taste. It’s just not my style and I hate it for *me*. See? First World Problem. Someone offers to travel to another country, have something made for me, thinks so much of me that she designs something for me and I complain. Yep. I’m a terrible person.

But, my loss is your gain. Again,  realize this may work for other people. But, it just doesn’t  for me. If you’re interested in the dress and will cover postage, I will happily send it to you. Please email me at . It’s sized for me at a 36 bust 26 waist and 38+ hips. It’s bigger on the bottom on me than it should be because I was worried about it being too tight and figured I could take it in myself at home if I needed to. of course, I haven’t gotten around it 🙂 I’ll do a drawing Saturday for the winner. If you’d like to increase your odds, re-tweet or mention this post on your blog (leave a link back to it here or email them to me).

I have to warn you. It’s really shiny / sparkly. The flowers are embroidered on and all those circles are sequins. The braid / trim is shiny silver and the fabric is a acetate like polyester. Just fair warning. A guy in my office asked me why is had ‘mirrors’ on it.  There were a few women at work interested, but I thought I’d offer it here first.

On a more positive note, I scored a very loud but awesome vintage dress over the weekend.

Last year I prematurely stated I was over the maxi dress (and twist tops). Maybe I’m just over making maxi dresses because I can’t wait to wear this one! The seams are unfinished so I sat down to serge them before a good washing. And, (drumroll please) I serged a hole in the side. *DOH*. Luckily, the print is so busy that no one but me will know. Any guesses on the era? I’m assuming the 70s.


  1. 1971 or 72 the year I got married to the wrong person. Big flowers were everywhere and in knits and cotton pique but the good thing is the dyes lasted and the fabric was sturdy so no wonder these have survived the years well and bright. Good luck selling your latest dress. It reminds me of when I asked my brother to buy some Thai silk when he visited there 30 years ago…$150 and 3 lots of fabric…none of them were me so the ended up as linings.

  2. Duuude!

    I understand the whole First World Problem thing, but I also sympathize; the purple one is quite lovely, but so very different from the black and red one that I don’t think I’d be thrilled, either. Especially if I had a secret picture of that same dress with a yellow or green inset. Pow!

    Like you, I’d be pleased to be thought of, and glad someone liked me enough to go out of their way, but still, just disappointed enough to not want to wear the dress.

  3. Nope, not a bad person at all!! I would have had a similar reaction and then realized I am just too type A to allow someone else, other than my mother who knows my taste, to pick clothes for me.

    Love the maxi dress! It will be so much fun to wear.

  4. How funny you blog about first world problems today. My coworker was just calling one of my “dilemia’s” that today. I couldn’t decide if I want to order 10 gross of rhinestones for a skating dress, or if I wanted to use a more expensive place that would let me order by the gross, so I could get 2 colors (5 gross total)- but for the same amount. I wanted 2 colors, but wanted a good price.

    So not an important problem in life, but I debated for DAYS. (I went with 10 gross of one color.)

    I love the dress, but your waist is TINY, so I’m out 🙂

  5. That dress is kind of cute, but I totally hear you on the not-what-I-wanted thing. Growing up in India, tailors used to do this to me – give me what they wanted to sew, not what I’d asked for. Even if I walked in with a sample, and ask them to reproduce it, they’d do something weird and funky. It was infuriating! I’m convinced that’s the real reason I learned to sew as an adult.

  6. Yes, it’s a First World problem, but really … that was rather rude of her.

    My first reaction to the maxi was “late 60’s, early 70’s.” It will be cute on you!

  7. Oh, I love both of the Chinese-style dresses! Unfortunately, the maroon is too big for me so I’ll have to pass. I get the annoyance of not having exactly what you wanted either, although it’s still a very pretty dress. And I often use the “First World problems” expression too — usually in the middle of complaining about something when I realize how whiny I sound!

    That maxi dress is cute, and I agree that the serger mishap won’t be noticeable in the pattern (it never is, except to us sewists anyway).

  8. I would be annoyed about the dress too, especially since you gave such specific instructions. It will be cute on the right person (not me!).

  9. Love your vintage dress! I think early 70’s – my Mum had an orange/black swirly print one very similar, it had a tie belt with tassels!

  10. I’ll pass on the dress too – it’s a bit much for me as well. I do like the print on the maxi dress, though – very cool. I’d have to shorten it though. I’m not a fan of the super-long dresses. I think they look too silly on my short self.

  11. I love the retro maxi dress you found this weekend, super cute. I am sorry you didnt get what you asked for, you gotta love it when YOU are so loved!
    I love the dress and think it would be very beautiful on!
    Have a wonderful day… Now don’t you think it’s time to plan that trip for yourself… have two or three dresses made while you are there… AND we would have another adventure to follow!

  12. Gotta love presumptuous friends! 🙂

    That dress reminds me of the patio dresses my mother and aunts wore in the 70s! Love it!

  13. I think that maxi dress is 73 or 74 maybe. And I love the purple dress, but my waist is like 29″ now. It would, however, fit my second daughter!

  14. I feel your pain – I asked for some BLUE fabric, they brought back GREEN, because the green was ‘more you’. Really? and I didn’t even know it so I asked for blue? That’s a very 1st world problem but I understand your whine. The flowered dress screams 1972-ish to me. When I was in high school. I would have worn it in a heartbeat. Still would

  15. You are not a bad person. Any sensible person would be annoyed that her request was dismissed as “boring”. And you get extra good person points for giving the dress away- but no, thanks.

  16. Shame about your dress. Just a thought if noone wants your dress, why not dye it black? Your vintage maxi is loudly and glorously 70s!

  17. Sooooo does she know that you are giving it away or will she expect to see you wearing her creation at work one day!?!

  18. Oh, Cidell, can we please see you in it? I shouldn’t have been so amused by this post as you didn’t get what you wanted. I hope your maroon dress finds a suitable new home.

  19. I think it’s hilarious that someone chose to outrightly ignore your very specific requests and do what they thought was fit! Dude, just bring back the dress requested. Sadly, I am nowhere near a 26 inch waist.

  20. I love your new ‘custom’ dress. Would love to see what it looks like on you. It definitely seems more dressy than your original one.

    BTW, great vintage find!

  21. Honestly, I don’t think you should feel bad about your annoyance/disappointment over the dress. I HATE when people do something like this to me. I don’t think we need to denigrate ourselves over it either by referring to it as a ‘first-world problem’ or anxieties of excess; that kind of thing. You asked for something specific, and your friend (or whoever it was) totally disregared the fact that you had put careful thought and consideration into your request. I don’t think that’s thinking of you so much as it was them thinking of themselves, believing they have better taste for you than you do. Pretty nervey in my opinion. And then you’re supposed to be grateful to them afterwards!

    I may be a little overly sensitive to this right now, as I’m getting married at the end of the summer and am already being plagued with people either changing things on the registry or telling us that we need more of such-and-such a big and expensive thing because people want to spend a lot on a single thing they think we’ll keep forever, when what we really need are new towels, sheets, etc. Bah!

    Ok, my rant is finished now.

    Very fun and funky vintage find!! I hope you can wear it really soon – and post a picture of you in it!

  22. The dress will look great on you with your curves, I would love to have one.

  23. I know what you mean about the dress but the flowered maxi dress is definitely from he early 70’s I remember I was in junior high and flower power was in as well as maxi dresses

  24. Your black dress is elegant and classic. The red substitute is in the worst possible taste.. over-embellished, with poor colour and fabric choices; the piped bolero is a child’s design. I also detect that it’s been badly taken in along the princess seam lines, indicating an amateurish cutter.
    Moreover, it’s arrogant behaviour to second-guess such a request. I wouldn’t worry about it as a “first-world problem.” I’ve lived in China for twenty years and seen some pretty picky bickering at the tailor’s shops in my time.

  25. Oh my. that purple or plum or maroon or whatever dress in not only not the same, it is not, um, right. I don’t mean it’s ugly or anything, it’s just not… right. Not for the you I’ve come to know by looking at your blog every day for a couple of months.

    I do like the floral late sixties (or possibly early seventies, but I think ’68 or ’69) dress. If the hole you serged is near the bottom it would look really cute at the top of the knee. When I wore similar dresses, of course, they were above mid-thigh, but hey! I was 18, cute, and tiny in those days! Also kinda stoopid, gimme a break!

  26. I am Chinese and I LOVE my cheongsams. But I would have avoided the purple hot mess with a gazillion-foot pole. Epic fail. You are so right to give it away.

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