Thursday, 2 August 2012

One Dress, Four Outfits

Top of my ermahgerd-I-want-this-so-badly list for summer is this pretty, pretty blue floral dress from Topshop (£60).  It’s basically my dream outfit. Buuut living life as an unemployed undergrad student whose next loan instalment doesn’t come until mid-September, I have to justify it to myself. And I’m doing that the way I always do: by telling myself I can wear this dress for everything. But you know what? This time it’s actually true. This is the perfect dress for wearing to lots of different occasions in different ways. That makes it a brilliant investment and therefore a totally justifiable purchase, right? Right? Exactly.

Let me show you how.

You will need:

1. A dress sort of like this dress. It should probably fall somewhere between mid-thigh and mid-calf, in a colour or cute print. A top and pretty skirt would also work.
2. Some places to wear it to. This is actually the hard part for me.

To a scary work meeting

Office, £60
Whistles, now £9
            You CAN wear adorable dresses and still look professional, you just have to accessorise them well, and probably also wear tights. Smart, understated earrings will draw attention to your competent, reassuring and beautiful face (yes, you have one of those). These silver and blue drops from Whistles will make you look tremendously grown up; matching tones (but not colours) between your outfit and jewellery is a fast way to seem put together (bonus: sale!).  Choose a blazer or suit jacket and a sensible but pretty mid-height heel like these from Office for a simple, stylish work look. Try either in a pinkish-nude or cream for a summery, slightly more casual look, or pick both in black to show you mean srs bsns.

To your cousin’s garden wedding

Nine West, £110
            This is a perfect summer wedding dress, because it sits neatly on the line between fancy and casual. To avoid heel sinking into grass issues, wear shoes with thicker heels. The cute yellow of this peeptoe pair will complement the blue dress (because I know you know your colour wheel) as well as holding up on damp grass. A set of pearl earrings, necklace and bracelet (real or fake) will say that you are classy and sophisticated. Take a cream or buttercup yellow cardigan or light jacket with you in case it gets cool. If you’re a nail painter, a contrasting shade like Lancome Vernis in Love Midnight Rose (a rich purple) or Rose Boudoir (a deep fuchsia) will add visual interest and keep the look young, while a fascinator or hat will make you look appropriately fancy. I love this one from Philip Treacy, and its colour picks up the secondary colour in the print perfectly, but I won’t even bother telling you how much it costs.

Oh, alright. It's £2,250 from Harrods. Perhaps you could make your own?

On a romantic picnic

Whimsy! ASOS, £20
Zara, £25.99
 A pretty floral dress is perfect for skipping merrily through a park in the sunshine, hand in hand with your best guy or gal. Go for a fun, whimsical look with a pair of eye-catching sunglasses and some studded flats like these Zara slippers. These brilliant, unique earrings from Asos will give you all the eccentric Manic Pixie Dream Girl charm you could wish for. Carry a holdall big enough for a blanket and a bottle of prosecco. Go light on make up; just wear enough mascara that you can bat your eyelashes at your lover effectively as you ask if you can have the last of the smoked salmon.

Bar crawl for your best friend's birthday

             Because the shape of this dress is pretty demure and the print is so light and pretty, you can sex it up infinitely and still look like a classy gal. A fitted little black leather (or leather-look) biker jacket will get you feeling like a Bad Grrrl and play off the good-girliness of the dress. Pick a bold contrasting shade like berry red for your accessories. Using only a few strong colours will keep your outfit looking clean and striking, not overdone. 
Topshop, £55
Mango, £59.99
Target, $29.99
ASOS, now £10.50
These Target heels have all the sexiness of red shoes, but the darker shade, curved heel shape and thin strap keep them sophisticated, not trashy. (Seriously, people of America, how do you not spend ALL your money in Target?) This Mango envelope clutch picks up the deep red;  if you hate carrying a bag in your hand and you’re crafty,

 you could MacGyver a strap from a long, sturdy necklace chain. Wear a dramatic cocktail ring and another pair of exciting jewelled Asos earrings, which pick up the colours of the outfit perfectly (on sale, too!). Finish with a vampy make up look of false eyelashes and an attention grabbing berry red lipstick like Too Faced Sex Kitten or Rimmel Diva Red, because you know, it’s not only ‘50s secretaries and housewives who get to match their lipstick to their accessories. 

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