Aw, what a crappy situation. This may have been suggested already (I only skimmed a page or two of the replies), but what about adding a panel of color to the neckline and/or replacing the sash with a colored one?
I like the lace shrug idea. In addition to the one on Knitty, there's a cute one in the book "Lace Style" that may be a bit simpler/less time-consuming to make. I think it's called "Little Silk Shrug" or something like that. Or, if there aren't any knitters around, I bet you could find a beautiful one (or some other great accessory) on Etsy.