In or Out: Ellie Kemper in Naeem Khan

Posted on May 04, 2012

It seems the lady stars are tending toward the complicated dresses lately. We just got finished telling January Jones she was wearing the wrong dress for her when this popped up in our view:

Ellie Kemper attends the Naeem Khan Private Dinner at the Chateau Marmont in LA wearing a dress by the designer paired with an Ela M.I.L.C.K. clutch.

Naeem Khan Fall 2012 Collection

Ela M.I.L.C.K. clutch

And you know how it is. When one star does something, it’s a quirk; when two stars do it, it’s a trend.

We like this on her quite a bit. It’s obviously not lacking in visual interest and the little pops of bling bump up the glam factor.

Oh Jesus Christ. We’ve been doing this too long if we can type something like “the little pops of bling bump up the glam factor” without tongues firmly in cheeks. We’ve become Sassy magazine editors inadvertently.

Anyway, the dress. It’s cute. The pattern gets a little weird around the hips and lady area in a not particularly flattering way, but we like the way this dress combines a certain sort of crudeness with modern sophistication. It’s eye-catching and interesting. And who doesn’t want that if they know their picture’s getting taken?


Vote Now!


IN! Glamorous and unique!


OUT! Too distracting. And shouldn’t she put some effort into the hair and makeup?


The Precious Unborn Fawns were quite taken with Scar Jo’s pattern-mixing getup, voting it IN.


[Photo Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images,]

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  • fungstyle

    IN but girlfriend could have used some color on her face. 

    • Jill_3

       Agree with that. IN.

    • StrandedFashionista

      Agreed. I’d also suggest an updo, like on the model. I at first didn’t like the dress- but the more I looked at it the more I liked it. IN.

    • What they said. In.

    • Also agree with both the hair & make up suggestions.  The hair being down distracted from the structural elements of the dress, which are fab. IN!

    • Samantha Irene

      100% Agree.

  • RzYoung

    I really like this. IN

  • Lizoo

    I want the whole skirt situation to shift up about two or three inches, but otherwise I like it.

    • bookish

      My thoughts exactly. Still an IN, but I don’t care for how low the skirt starts.

    • Yes, either shift it up two or three inches, or continue the body hugging silhouette to the knee. The pleats push this dress overboard. Love it from the waist up though!

      • Maggie Muellner

        Yes. I love it until it gets to the skirt – the gathers/pleats look doughy hitting just below the curve of the hip like that. And yes, even on the model. A smooth transition to the flirty skirt would be much more flattering, like a trumpet shape or gored. I think the length would have been OK then

    • Judy_S

      I give it an OUT for that reason. It is such a promising dress that you’d think they could get it right.  At first I thought it had to do with her height but it looks odd on the model, too.

  • lrhoff

    No working for me….way too stiff, and it reminds me of a cement block wall that’s been decorated.

    • Louise Bryan

      I was just thinking it looks like she’s wearing a building.  Not a dress referencing a building, but a real building.

      I give it an Out, but it’s not her fault; it’s all on the dress.

  • Sobaika Mirza

    In – but her makeup + the coloring make her look a bit washed out.

    • SassieCassy

      Exactly Im actually kind of surprised she is pulling off a gray toned dress as well as she is.

  • BazoDee

    OUT -the dress is wearing her -the proportions are off. I don’t think she has enough whatever it is to pull this off. (She gets an A- for effort though)

    • lesmaha

      Thanks for putting your finger on what’s wrong–I do think it’s the proportions. I’m with you on the OUT.

    • AlexisPayne

      Ditto! Out but excellent try!

  • YourLibrarian

    Out. The dress is unflattering, and her makeup is making her look sickly. Love the clutch, though!

  • HobbitGirl

    It’s like Wilma Flintstone’s fashionable city cousin’s dress.

  • G

    Love his “Michelle Obama” clothes.  Hate this.

  • Its a very pretty dress but it quite obviously has a penis like structure moving up towards her face. Am I the only one seeing this ?

    • Sobaika Mirza

      And now I can’t unsee it. Today has been a great day for optical illusions via fashion.

    • Now that you mention it,….yup.

  • lunulaoblongata

    I love the stained glass dress. She is not the kinda girl it was designed for. Out.

  • HomeOfficeGirl

    Tiffany lamps are cool… as lamps.  OUT.

  • I want to slide a pizza into her and cook it.

  • JasmineAM

    I like it

  • In! I absolutely love it. I do agree that she needs a bit more color on her face.

  • twocee

    I think this is another case of girl, this is not your dress.  She just doesn’t look like she’s owning it.  The dress itself is an In.

  • I want it to be a pencil skirt, and then I’d love it unreservedly. Still, IN.

  • IN, though I wish it didn’t have that flounce at the bottom. If it was a pencil skirt type thing, it would look so much better!

  • Monabel

    Church architecture. Not a good thing.

  • belfebe

    OUT.  I love the dress, but not on her.  To me, this is a case of “Girl, this is not your dress.”

    • I so agree. This dress is wearing her. It’s definitely not her dress. OUT.

  • girliecue

    I like it. Yes, it’s busy but the patterns and jewel detail make sense visually, and Ellie is so adorable it’s hard to give her an Out. The makeup is doing her no favors, but she’s IN.

  • Anathema_Device

    I think I want to like this more than I actually like it. It is a cool design, but not particularly flattering to her. The neckline and the dropwaist look a little awkward on her. So, I guess I vote Out, but just barely.

  • colleenjanel

    I love it, but she needs some damn lip color.

  • karena10

    Out.  The dress is too distracting and complicated and not in a flattering way.  Dresses with busy patterns are not necessarily a bad thing, but this pattern does not flatter a woman’s figure.  It doesn’t matter what her hair, make-up or accessories look like – the dress grabs all the attention.

  • AWS

    The dress looks like a Juarez, Mexico, seedy motel bathroom floor tile pattern.   OUT

    • Jean Albus

      I like the dress. It’s like a brick shit house.

  • Rebecca Johnson

    It’s very urban cathedral. I don’t dislike the dress, but she needed to put the work in elsewhere (hair, makeup) to pull this off. The dress is wearing her.

  • In! simply because i think that dress is gorg! the hair and other detailing is a bit weird to me, though. whoever did the photography at this event needs to be fired immediately. these shots are terribly unflattering due to lighting and angles.

  • Sara__B

    The print is strange and full of hidden pictures, and the silhouette is unflattering. Her hair and makeup are underdone. A big OUT for me!

  • Jecca2244

    i think this dress would have looked better if the skirt part was straight and slightly body hugging. slightly. 

  • lordandtaylor

    EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! A little too Mortica Addams in my book. I think she looks stubby.

  • dress_up_doll

    It’s a very interesting dress, but this is one of the rare occasions where I actually like it on the model rather than the lady star. This dress calls for a simple upswept do, bare neckline, interesting earrings and awesome purse. LOVE that clutch!

  • She looked so cute from the waist up, but that dress is not doing any favors to her lower half. OUT. Sorry girl.

  • As solid in for me. I love the whole look.

  • Judy_J

    OUT.  That dress is interesting, but does wonky things to her figure.  The patterns are competing with each other.

  • Nope.  Out.  Sorry.

  • marilyn

    Out.  It is fine until the skirt.  The odd pattern in the lady part area is passable. The flouncy ruffled skirt makes the rest bad.  If it had been a straight skirt, long or short, it would have been fine.  The fabric is very busy, but okay because it has sparkle and 2 colors worked into an intricate pattern.  And the colors are subdued.  That makes you focus on the pattern.  Simple structure in the dress would have been fine.  But adding ‘interest’ in the structure makes it too busy.  Where is the eye supposed to go?  The overall effect is dowdy, which goes with her hair and makeup.

  • janetjb

    Too many “little” things to change before this even okay.

  • In. It’s not perfect, but it is a cute dress and she is making it work. 

  • SpcilK

    Flippin love it -IN. She pulls it off nicely 

  • IN. I like it. I’d wear it. The end.

  • Beardslee

    In because it’s so interesting  and I like the color on her.

  • At first glance I liked it, and I think it looks way better on her than on the model, but the more I look at it the more skeptical I become. The pattern looks like its stitched on felt. And what a pattern, ribs, a penis, cobblestone streets, it’s all too heavy and too much. Agree with the comments that it would have been better without the flounce but still there’s something crafty about this dress and it now reminds me of one the Project Runway entries that I think won. All in all, I have to go with OUT.

  • mjude


  • almondemy

    IN. The difference is that 1) this looks adorable and funky and b) I like Ellie Kemper.   I am not proud of my bias.

  • Ozski

    I think the skirt throws it off, wish it was a simpler hem. I envy her remarkable hair though!!!

  • Jessica Rowe

    IN I dig it. I want it.  She’s rockin it.

  • jennifervney


  • sweetestsith

    I think I love it, but would need a straight on angle to be sure. The one full length is really throwing off her proportions. I do require better shoes, something a little more solid and dark. 

  • Take off that horrendous skirt and extend it to a sheath just above the knees.  Then it’s an IN.

    But as is: OUT.

  • MilaXX

    IN. I’ll admit the flounder at the bottom is a little odd, but I like this on her and hair/makeup look good.

  • MoreShoes


  • It reminds me of a medieval cathedral, so IN.

  • She’s a stained glass window that someone forgot to stain.
    I like it!

  • IN! i love her hair and i think she’s rocking that drop waist surprisingly well, especially considering the pattern.

  • Vodeeodoe

    IN. That dress looks great on her; but I think her hair should be up and agree that she needs a little more color on her cute little pixie face. I never thought I would like a dress that is trying to look like a Tiffany lampshade, but sh*t happens.

  • Jessica O’Connell

    I like it, though I would have preferred it without the “little pops of bling.” Really like the bag too. IN.

  • IN.

  • deliadee

    Out, the dress is wrong for her.  Actually, I think the dress is wrong for anyone.  It’s an interesting idea but unflattering on her and on the model.  And she needs some color in her face.

  • RebeccaKW

    Out.  I’m not feeling this.  I WANT to like it.  But I don’t.  The fit seems off, too tight in the hips and it’s smooshing her boobs like a sports bra.  I think it needs to be hemmed.  I can’t really see the shoes, but I think I don’t like them. Makeup is nonexistent.

  • Onika K Morris-Alleyne

    She’s too short for this dress. OUT

  • NurseEllen

    This is an OUT but she gets points for trying…..if only she had fixed her hair, though.

    TLo et al, did you see the big story in the Friday section of the Wall St. Journal this morning?  All about costuming TV shows to convey points of character–how it’s become so important, how expensive it’s become, too.  I kept waiting for them to quote you somewhere but alas I was disappointed.  They should have!

  • ballerinawithagun

    In. The camera angle is throwing the proportions off but I love it. This is definitely the time for the perfectly coordinated shoes and bag.

  • Kayceed

    You know those DIY mosaic kits? That is the first thing that came to mind, so, out.

  • Isana Leshchinskaya

    IN but i would have liked to see some  mod makeup and an updo

  • 3rdsister

    In.  I even think it looks better on Ellie than the model.  I also agree that I would have preferred a different hair style for this look.

  • Joyce VG

    Definitely IN.  But crudeness is a frightening trend to me….

  • In! Lady looks lovely!

  • In, but I think I’d like it better without the dropped waist.

  • sleah_in_norcal

    in.  i love the dress, although the color is bland.  and she definitely needs some lip color, at least.  at first i thought it was print fabric, but it looks like each of those symmetrical patches is individually appliqued.  expensive, i bet.

  • choco

    The neckline looks like its trying to eat her

  • samo_samo

    In…’cause it’s different and fits well.  She’s wearing the dress and not the other way around. I couldn’t help but think “art deco stained glass window”, but I still say IN.

  • ErmengardeGreen

    In: best she’s looked in a while. Like the shoes with it, actually. 

  • carolynmo

    Ooh, this is a fantastic dress. Definitely IN.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    What a weird dress. Not sure if I like it. She wears it as well as possible, though, and the clutch is fab. IN.

  • beebee10


  • Super low skirt is too much for me : somewhat interesting on the  model, weird not in a good way on her. OUT. Patternwas nice though.

  • saanrio

    OUT.  This dress is too much.

  • granddelusion

    It’s too much. And the top/skirt combo looks weird.

  • EEKstl

    IN because she’s wearing it well but I’d have liked the dress a lot better if it were a slim silhouette all the way down, the skirt bothers me.  Okay, just have to dish: Ellie was back home in St. Louis a few weeks ago and she was at the next manicure table from me (this being a big deal as I am in St. Louis and not LA or NYC).  Super cute, nice and looks about 16 without makeup.

  • Elyse Klova

    This needed different hair and different makeup, but I like the dress. Still an out for me though.

  • funkypeanut

    She looks like a very sad stained glass window on a rainy day.

  • in.  my first thought was that she really looks lovely, despite a really weird dress.  congrats to her.  (who is she, again?)

  • BigWhiteGrannyPanties

    IN, it’s different. And not slutty. 

  • IN, but I absolutely agree with your comments about how it pulls a little bit oddly in the hip area.  Perfect assessment.

  • veronkimo

    I’m not feeling this. Her skin looks ghostly and pale. That color is not doing her any favors. Her make-up is not doing her any favors. I’m going to say OUT because she just looks really sick. Sorry, Hun!

  • OUT. I’d like the dress a lot if it didn’t have that weird dust ruffle on the bottom. But even without  the bottom flounce, I think it’s too much dress for this girl. 

  • ThaliaMenninger

    The dress that makes it wearer look like she’s being walled up in a tower stone by stone. That’s a NO for me. It looks awkward and uncomfortable and weird in all the wrong places.

  • IN!  While certain details might not be flattering, the dress makes up for it by being striking.

  • ChristySchiff

    In.  Looks terrific.

  • butterflysunita

    I was on the fence with this one because I love the dress but she is so not carrying it off.  Yes, a bit more glamour with the hair and makeup would have helped.  Still, I say IN.  

  • bittykitty

    i love the dress! She absolutely needed to do something else with her hair and makeup to do justice to the dress. I don’t think an ankle-strap shoe was the way to go, either. Maybe this is what jj was trying to wear and she accidentally wore the eye roller-coaster instead.

  • altalinda

    Out.  I think that the way if flares at her thighs is unflattering.

  • Sunshine16

    If only that dress was a sheath, I’d be all over it.  As it is, meh.  I guess it’s an IN, if only because it’s unique

  • JackieOBlue

    I’ll give her an IN even though I am not loving the skirt on this dress.

  • Bozhi

    In.  And after going back and forth about it, I like the shoe choice.

  • amber_julene

    Death mask makeup,but otherwise: IN.

  • jw_ny


    That 1st shot she’s seriously distorted at her lower half, so I can’t tell for sure how bad the bottom portion really looks on her.  The close up shots from the flounce up actually look quite nice, although I don’t think this is a good color on her and she could use a bit more color on her lip.  I like the jewels and the pattern, think it all looks much better in person.

    Not sure about the shoes…leaning toward dislike.  

  • It’s great that she’s trying something a little different, but when that something says ‘sad crotch’ it’s an automatic OUT.

  • I like it! IN from me. 

  • charlotte

    Wearing a castle doesn’t make you a princess.

  • lilazander

    IN, I love the pattern on the dress, but the length is weird. What is wring with the weird length these days? Not every gal can pull off the half-calf length, an I think it looks too overvhelming in this case. The rest is fine to me.

  • In

  • In. 

  • Glammie

    Would like it a lot better if the foofy skirt weren’t happening and it were just a sheath, so two-thirds of an in, which I guess makes it an IN–sort of.

  • Lina_bee

    Dress IN. Hair and makeup OUT. I would love this if it were on someone else.

  • demidaemon

    I like everything but the skirt. I think with the pattern and bling, this could have benefitted from a simpler silhouette. Still, she looks 4/5s of the way good, so it’s an IN.

  • unbornfawn

    I like the dress. The fit is good. There is just something not working for me, is it too much dress for her or perhaps she doesn’t have the inner diva to pull this dress off. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Because I like the dress and it fits well I’m giving her an IN

  • ChiKat67

    IN.  The dress is so distracting (in a good way) that I don’t even mind the DYI makeup and matchy shoes.

  • IN

  • ChaquitaPhilly

    IN. Great dress. I’m getting an early 1930’s vibe from it. Maybe a costume for “SHE” (who must be obeyed).
    But, dear, could you comb your hair.

  • Very definitely an IN. In fact, if her hair and makeup had a bit more polish, I would think it would be eligible for a WERQ.

  • IN

  • Jessi03

    OUT.  Not a dress for humans.  I don’t know what that’s supposed to do to her figure, but it’s not cute.  I DO think the dress itself is cute, though.  Hanger appeal?

  • TSkot

    Too much going on in that dress for anybody.  And yeah, her hair’s a mess.  OUT

  • OUT. Not her dress length at all. Love the silhouette.

  • Also – the collar is doing strange things on her. On the model it’s almost a bateau. Hmmm. Big shoulders vs. small shoulders maybe?

  • Beth G

    In…  wish it had a different neckline.

  • harleydear

    In. And I like her new hair color.

  • lovelyivy

    OUT- I think that such a dramatic dress needed hair/accessories and makeup that matched. It could also just be a look that doesn’t suit her in particular- I think on someone who had more of a capital-P Presence this could have worked, but the looks overwhelms this nice lady.

  • benjamin478

    IN> Pretty damn stylish

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    were i someone who cried over other people’s clothing this dress would have that effect on me. it’s so doublefab but comes w/ so many issues that its fabulosity gets erased little by little by little by little as if it were–hmmmm….. who did that? went to someone like rauschenberg & erased his drawing? no, it was de kooning. but i still cant remember the name of the eraseur. anyway.

    the kitty teeth over the cat box [if you everlovin will] will soon become the only thing you see, chomping down, whence you have located them. they just dont go away.

    [not that theyre actually fangs. more like rocky horror. i dare you not to see that mouth now.]

    but & strangely equally: when you drop that stoopid hem to pre-knee length? destroys the line of the dress. & i liked this dress & i liked it a lot, even w/ its oystercracker size rhinestones & bits of bubbly bling that i would ordinarily hate. but between these two things [& more! i guarantee there is!] it’s just ruined in my tired eyes. so sad.

  • In, mostly because it’s her colors.

  • In, mostly because it’s her colors.

  • BobStPaul

    Horrible.  Out.

  • librarygrrl64

    IN! 🙂

  • rawrgrowlrawr

    Her head looks HUGE.

  • In, if only for the fact that this dress is incredibly visually interesting. It makes me want to look a second and third time. It’s also a good color for her.
    Coulda used better makeup, though.

  • tired_mommy

    IN–kind of reminiscent of a Tiffany’s lamp, but in. Especially since she’s at a dinner for the designer.

  • Bill Curtis

    Too much like the Chrysler Building dress that Roger DeBris wore in The Producers.

  • j_anson

    IN! Although I do think attempting to match her makeup to her dress when her dress was, ultimately, mold-colored was a mistake.

  • OUT.  I’m pretty sure only Cate Blanchett could carry off this dress.

  • PeaceBang

    I love it from the waist up so much I’m going with IN. That dress is serving up Art Nouveau-inspired realness, and I think she’s carrying it off.

  • formerlyAnon

    It’s a close, close call but out. And I may be totally wrong, since in ordinary social intercourse one (or at least, this one) rarely steps back from a stationary person and considers their look uninfluenced by movement, facial expression and warmth of manner.

    I GREATLY like the dress, but since it does unfortunate things on both the real, if celebrity, woman and the idealized-for-the purpose-of-showing-off-clothing model, I could be wrong about that, as well.It just makes her proportions look off, and it’s not just in the hips and loins, it’s also up at that dreadfully high neckline whose highest point appears to be directly under her chin.

  • sleepycat

    a walking lizard dress OUT

  • IN.

  • Wish the make-up was turned up more, but overall, IN. Love the clutch too, almost looks like ostrich from a glance.

  • kimmeister

    It looks better on her than the model, but it’s just not a good dress.  The semicircle on her hips ruins it.

  • SapphoPoet

    IN. Love it. But wear a touch of make up next time. 

  • I wish we could get a decent picture of the dress that didn’t make her legs look so short.   As it is, I can’t tell if the length is flattering or not.

  • QuincyTKatz

    OUT – the dress is wearing her, not the other way ’round

  • IN! She looks great. I wouldn’t have thought she could pull off something so complicated but she’s working it.

  • CatherineRhodes

    OUT. Lipstick and some jewelery would have brought it in.


    OUT.  Kind of a cool dress, but no effort on hair and makeup.  🙁  Also, the fit is pretty wonky on her, that side shot shows it seems to be smashing her girls down in an unflattering and probably uncomfortable way.  

  • newtonGOTbeaned

    IN. But she should give it to January Jones. 

  • kingderella

    uh what? OUT.

    i like the dress on the model, but its clearly not an easy one to pull off. i think kemper here is looking a little silly.

    maybe on someone with more ‘elfin’ features? kinda getting a middle earth vibe off the dress. hey, wasnt margaery on game of thrones wearing something like that last episode?

  • jcolli69

    Yea Ellie! You rock that fancy, complicated dress! I would’ve gone for more reddish/orange tones for makeup but, the overall look is fab 🙂

  • Jangle57

    The top half of the dress is fine but below the waist, it’s just a big old mess – OUT

  • bellafigura1

    Wow, exciting, I’m never in the minority!  OUT.  Horrible.  She looks like the Chrysler Building. And that clutch is awful.

  • Sophie Collier

    IN.  I really like the sort of weird Art Deco vibe it gives off.  Agree about the odd skirt bit but still, an IN.

  • It looks like a stained glass window that had all the class knocked out. 

  • quiltrx

    In, because I love the dress.  But it’s not HER dress.  You need some real shoulders to carry this dress.

  • guest2visits

    This only works a little on the model. But it’s strange and awkward looking on Ellie. I love her shoes.

  • Sweetvegan

    In. Not “IN!!!”  Just “in.”

  • ccm800

    O-U-T! Those are the craziest proportions and the graphic just adds to it. Looks like a chess rook on acid. HIDEOUS! 

  • crash1212

    Nope. Not working for me at all. OUT. Might’ve worked without that weird skirt and lord I HATE that clutch. Also don’t like the pale lip…now I’m all cranky.

  • DCSheehan

    In. She’s selling it.

  • pookiesmom

    She looks like a cobblestone sidewalk, and I don’t think that silhouette (particularly the poofy bottom that starts at mid-thigh) is flattering on ANYONE. That said, I think she actually looks better in the dress than the model…

    But that’s not saying much. OUT.

  • fashionablylate

    IN, it’s a cool dress and it looks better on her than on the model.

  • this would’ve been a knockout if that ruffle was more body-conscious. but then the dress also would’ve been more mainstream and seen before. still, IN.

  • Oh, gurrrrrl, no. That neckline is elegant on the model, but with loose hair obscuring it, it just becomes frumpy. And it’s not just doing weird things to her waist – it’s making her entire torso and arms look disproportionate.

    OUT. Good on her for trying, though.

  • Lisa

    Noooo, no no no no.  OUT.

  • In.

  • Tamara Hogan

    The dress looks better on her than on the runway model. IN. A pop of color on the lips would have gone a long way.

  • TieDye64

    I dunno. I just find the dress a bit ugly, so I’d have to give this an OUT. And what is with the corpse makeup?

  • GTrain


  • LambeeBaby

    In! I think it has an art deco feel. Very cool.

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL


  • IN. It’s interesting in a  good way.

  • bitterk

    IN.  Nothing wrong with intricate designs if done well.

  • PrunellaV

    Her waist looks about 4 feet long. OUT.

  • RutGot

    In because I really like dress but it is wearing her a bit too much for comfort.

  • Char Crop

    OUT! Looks like part of the inside of the Taj Mahal!

  • Aly Light


  • OneTwoThreeFashion

    I actualy like it a lot! Very interesting dress. It woudl have been best if she had her hair up though. 

  • Malinda Nevitt

    I like this. In!

  • I’m torn. It is surprising that this works at all, and she definitely looks a lot better than I’ve seen her in other pictures, but its still unflattering in a lot of ways. I like the color, embellishments, and neckline on her, but from the waist down it is kind of a mess. It’s just so heavy and stiff and it doesn’t look like she can move. I have to say OUT because it still seems like the dress is wearing her. 

  • CheriCPat

    Out.  Great dress, doesn’t fit her.  She forgot she has hair.  The clutch is too heavy.  Love the shoes.

  • In!

  • Out. She looks like a faux Tiffany lampshade.

  • LilyPad

    IN! I love the neckline and hem on her, and the pattern is very unique and flattering. I think the detail through the torso accentuates the waist. This is one of those rare dresses that manages to be sophisticated, edgy, and lady-like all at once.

  • In, though I’m not a fan of the proportions of the skirt, I love the top. Love love.