A post royal wedding post: what to wear to a Summer wedding.

May 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s that time of year.  No doubt wedding invitations are flying through your letter box and you’re asking yourself, what the hell am I going to wear??

When requested to attend a Summer wedding – often outdoors – what to wear poses many questions; is the colour ok? Will the weather hold out? Is my skirt too short? You get the gist.  Last week I heard a very well to do gentleman confess to his wife that no one would be looking at her anyway so she needn’t bother spending much time deliberating over her outfit.  I could have knocked his living daylights out, especially since he proclaimed as such while wearing a socks & sandals combo (the ultimate crime), a move that will get you copious amounts of unwanted attention!  This post is dedicated to his wife, because YES people will be looking at you and wouldn’t you want to look your best?

After royal wedding frenzy, which I thought was fantastic by the way, most women will be caught up in the excitement.  My flatmates and I enjoyed a tea party fit for the Queen with cucumber sandwiches (minus the crusts), scones and lots and lots of bubbly.  I thought Kate (for I can’t quite get used to calling her Catherine) in Alexander McQueen looked classically stunning with a satisfying touch of vintage charm.  I was none to impressed with Philip  Treacy’s baroque antler creations worn by sisters Beatrice and Eugenie, and secretly hoped they might have battled it out at some point during the days events.  Aside from the royal wedding guests, whom the world watched shimmy down the altar there is a serious lack of unique inspiration.  When it comes to weddings, from the guests point of view, there is little help and more often than not you might end up somewhere between the high school prom and Cheltenham races.

It’s worth deciding what to wear at least a week in advance.  If you are lucky enough to utilize something in your existing wardrobe – great, but do try on the complete outfit so you know it still fits and doesn’t need a specialist clean!  Last Summer I had three weddings all within a few weeks of each other.  I had ONE dress and smashed my own ‘cost per wear’ record, simply changing my hairstyle or bag for each wedding.

The invitation may give some indication as to the dress code.  White tie requires the women to wear long dresses, with black tie length of dress is optional although it should be ‘dressy’ and formal dress will require a cocktail or long dress.  Smart-casual does not mean jeans!!  You may laugh but I have seen it!  I also witnessed a Father of the Groom change from a kilt & shirt into jeans and a white ‘wife-beater’ vest – I won’t forget it. If there is no formal request in terms of attire try to gauge the dress-code from the formality and quality of the invite.  If in doubt, ask!  Remember this is a VERY special occasion so it is always better to dress-up rather than to dress-down.    In terms of hair & make-up my advice would be to avoid tacky up-dos and heavy make-up at all costs!  Natural is best.   If you don’t wear skirts or dresses there is nothing wrong with wearing trousers.  I’ve selected a few different dresses here, here, here with corresponding hats, fascinators, bags & shoes.  Choose something which doesn’t make such a statement that you’ll never want to wear it again, keep accessories simple and heels low(ish).  Floral prints in pastel shades are a must for Summer weddings.  Add a wide chiffon bow to a classic floral printed shift dress if you’re strapped for cash and make your own wrist corsage.

There are a few rules that MUST be followed:

  • Tradition dictates that guests should NEVER wear white or cream unless requested.
  • If you decide to wear black, make sure you add a splash of colour in ‘acceptance’ of the wedding.
  • Avoid short skirts and too much cleavage – Gypsy weddings are NOT the norm.
  • Don’t ignore the dress-code, it has been given for a reason!
  • NEVER upstage the bride, subtlety is the key.
I hope you enjoy my mish-mash of inspirational styles below.

Don’t forget the confetti…

Remember to sign the guestbook…

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A Rough Guide To Vintage Shopping

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

This morning I caught up with Lily Allen’s quest for anonymity under a pile of (rather expensive) clothes.  She and her party animal sister, Sarah Owen, are setting up shop together with the help of my favourite fashion consultant, Mary Portas.  The unique concept is that while couture pieces from the likes of YSL, Ossie Clark and Dior are for sale at sky-high prices, shoppers with more flash than cash will be able to hire items at a subsidised rate.

I love vintage clothing for it’s one of a kind appeal and the feeling of being transported back to the decade you’re wearing.  My personal favourite vintage is 20’s, I love the glamour surrounding each piece and imagine myself in a smoky jazz club dancing the Charleston.  But back to 2011,  it’s not always easy if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  I have decided to compile a very quick guide to vintage shopping, by each decade, in the hope that you might find something beautiful.

If you are looking for a glamorous 1920’s ensemble, look for beaded dresses, feathers and fur.  This look is best kept for evening when you can go all out and have fun accessorising with layers and layers of pearls, pretty headbands, beaded clutch bags and a decadent fur stole.  Wear with round toe Mary Jane’s and shimmy the night away like Mr Bojangles.  30’s pieces are glamorous again but longer in length and made with sumptuous fabrics.  Look for cute hats and tailored riding jackets to wear with jeans for daytime. If you enjoy ladylike trends seek out 1940’s tea dresses and wear with pearls.  1950’s vintage dressing is all about creating womanly curves with figure hugging items such as pencil skirts and ¾ length fitted cropped jackets.  Accessorie with pretty neck-scarves and clutch bags.  Vintage prints are absolutely beautiful especially 60’s retro prints which are bold, bright and colourful.  Offset these prints with mini shapes (skirts and dresses) or pretty blouses.  Accessorise with plain, narrow, patent belts, classic knee-high boots or a statement chunky bracelet.   70’s hippie styles have unstructured and draped silhouettes, while the colours are often soft and muted which makes them great for your summer wardrobe.  This decade has been a major source of inspiration for designers this season and the high street has gone mad for hippie chic, so as well as hunting down original pieces why not seek a peep of what Phillip Green’s team have to offer.  Again, with 70’s dressing KEEP IT SIMPLE; think middle eastern touches with tan bag/shoe combos.  80’s dressing can be difficult, if you lived through the 80’s as a teenager it is more than likely that this is a decade you’d wish to completely forget about, fashion wise.  If you love the style look for shoulder pads and glitzy fabrics adorned with sequins and shimmer.  And that’s as far as vintage goes, I don’t think the 90’s qualify just yet!  So you’ll just have to wait a few years before scousers, Adidas poppers and lycra become vintage…

1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s

When shopping for vintage goods there are a few things to keep in mind.  More often than not a size 10 back in the day is more like a size 6 these days.  The average woman in Britain is more like a curvy size 14 now.  So when you’re looking at the finest vintage piece, YOU MUST TRY ON.  Vintage shops don’t have favourable returns policies so you may find yourself stuck with something you won’t ever wear.  When considering how much a garment costs think about the quality and condition.  LOOK AT THE LABEL, You may be surprised to find most vintage clothes are made closer to home or are even home-made.  Think of the time and care which may have gone into making one of those garments and remember anything made from wool, silk or cashmere is definitely worthy of a higher price tag.      Most importantly HAVE FUN!  Make a day of it with a friend or even better your mum, who will act as a walking encyclopaedia for vintage dressing in the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s and maybe even as far back as the 50’s!  Plan a vintage shopping route map before you leave and schedule time for afternoon tea of course.  Happy shopping!

If you haven’t seen it already, catch up with Lily and Sarah here.

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