Monday, 18 May 2015

Survival of the Well Dressed


If I was chart my pregnancy in terms of some of the best outfits I wore over a growing bump it would start with last summer at a black tie university reunion dinner in Cambridge.  I was barely two months pregnant and not really showing so most of my wardrobe still fitted me. It was all part of a reunion weekend for our year group that consisted of an afternoon garden party, the black tie dinner and breakfast the next day. We missed the garden party due to London traffic and only just made it in time to hastily get ready for dinner.

It's funny what the impending fashion implications of pregnancy and impending motherhood do to you. You're facing becoming completely spherical over the next nine months, post partum hips that never go back to where they used to be and being covered in various forms of baby goo for the next couple of years.  Suddenly the style stakes are raised in terms of what you choose to wear because you might not ever get to wear it again! Ever! How fatalistic is that? But it certainly got the motivation up to dress well while I could. In the early months I pulled out many garments that either hadn't seen the light of day for a long while or had never been worn to give them what might be their last or only whirl in public.   

This Alexander McQueen ombre fringe flapper dress was a lucky Outnet find that was crying out for an occasion to be worn for far too long.  A runway piece from the Spring 2009 "Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection" collection in which the designer contemplated the survival of the fittest in nature, it's a beautiful dress that will never date which I can pass on to my daughter. I did feel amazing in it and got many compliments all evening.

Survival of the fittest is probably a fitting theme to be running through the seams of one's dress when attending a reunion, whether it be school, college or university. What has happened to everyone after all these years? Reunions can be mixed blessings. They present a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. But there can sometimes unfortunately also be an atmosphere of one-upmanship that permeates these events where attendees are there solely to compare how well they've done since you all parted ways. Who survived to be the fittest?

The ambiance of these events is so dependent on who attends. It's great when wonderful friends you enjoy catching up with turn up (like my gal pals in the photos). But there also might be the ex you never got over or even the one that got away. And then there are those who if you were never to see them again it would be too soon. There is always the equivalent of the playground bully at any age - the types that set out to be nasty to others because they thought it would get them further along in life. Let me ask you - why would you want to be anything else but your sparkling best self at a reunion with any of them. Surely you'd never want to dress badly for the occasion whether the dress code was black tie or otherwise? You might not have survived to be the fittest but at least you can strive to be best dressed.

I know some people loathe them but I just love black tie events.  Where else can you go to town and get dressed up these days?  And if you're going to a reunion at a swish Cambridge college it's a nice thing to do.  As students we had the opportunity to dine at hall weekly dressed in black tie and gowns so returning to dine there again dressed in black tie is a nostalgic reminder of those fun times.

The definition of black tie is now relaxed enough that we can get away with the ease of a knee length cocktail number such as what my girlfriends and I pictured opted for in the end.  Even so there are still always those who never seem to have got the memo that there is a dress code.  I never understand the women who turn up at black tie events on the under dressed side as the men are always going to look incredibly well dressed and dapper in their tuxedos.  I mean come on ladies!  Do you want the lads to outdo you??

Or maybe it is my girlfriends and I who didn't get the memo? Maybe dressing up is just not the done thing anymore? What with all the norm core aesthetic taking over fashion of late it does seem that dressing up has fallen out of fashion as calling attention to oneself or trying to stand out is deemed passé by the trendsetters.  Well I for one am glad I rose to a formal dress code. I had a great time reuniting with my old friends and for making an effort to dress our best we were able to share the satisfaction that our outfits put that of the year group bully's to shame! So you can keep your norm core American tourist outfits with the fugly shoes that stop you from standing out for yourselves hipsters!  I'm sticking to my stilettos!

And with that said I'll be linking up to Visible Monday over at Not Yet Dead Style.

Ombre fringe dress: Alexander McQueen; Pink suede shoes: Alexander McQueen; Vintage style marquisite earrings: Butler and Wilson; Peacock feather print clutch: bridesmaid gift from my sister
Mr V's tuxedo: Gieves and Hawkes

Monday, 11 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day

I apologise for disappearing for a while.  It's been months since I've posted or visited anyone's blogs and I wouldn't be surprised if people thought I'd dropped off the end of the blogosphere.  Well, I kind of did and have come back to provide an explanation as to why.  If you missed the albeit late announcement via my Instagram feed  (see photos above) I became a mother in March this year to a beautiful little girl.  Yep indeed, there is now a Baby V!

I wasn't trying to be mysterious about it all I promise.  I was just three months pregnant when we went to Sicily (my last post) which was our last holiday together as a couple.  I had actually planned to post all my photos from Sicily and then chart the bump growing on the blog, to share maternity outfits and tell tales of the trials and tribulations of dressing a bump as my pregnancy progressed.

However on getting back from Sicily I was put on a project at work that required working all hours that God sent right up until I took maternity leave - we're talking months of late nights and weekends toiling! That along with endless medical appointments, getting a nursery ready and having to teach my dance classes up until I was almost ready to pop.  So any regular bump watching let alone blogging was all but impossible.

Before we knew it she'd arrived!  Since then I've barely been able to spend more than five minutes at a computer.  She keeps us up late and super busy all day and we can't remember what we did with our spare time before she came along, but we also now can't imagine our lives without her.

There are some maternity outfits photographed and stored.  Maybe one day I'll manage a post on them all when I find a rare quiet moment like I have tonight.

I can't promise I'll be back soon but I will be back eventually.  In the meantime I hope you are all well and fighting the good fight stylewise.  If you're a mother out there, a very very Happy Mother's Day to you!

P.S. If you want to keep in touch via social media you can find me on Instagram here: veshoevius where I'm more active these days - I can at least get to my mobile more often than a laptop!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Postcards from Sicily

Hello there or should I say ciao! First of all please accept my apologies for disappearing offline for so long! Since we arrived back from our two week sojourn to Sicily back in September I have unfortunately been well and truly sucked back into the London rat race.  I've been beyond busy - totally snowed under at work while trying to arrange flat redecorating projects and choreographing new dances for my flamenco students. It's been a struggle just to find time to check my personal email! There have also been some personal developments closer to heart and home, some wonderful, some very upsetting, which have required my utmost attention, so all in all blogging has been all but impossible.

I hope to rectify that in the near future but until then I thought I would send some belated Sicilian postcards to you all. Sicily was beyond wonderful!  If you missed all the fun on my instagram then here is a taste of what Mr V. and I got up to while we were there. We did a road trip from Palermo to Catania along the south west to south east coast and loved every minute.  We were totally charmed by this amazing island and hope to return one day to explore more of it.  No doubt you'll be hearing more from me about our escapades there soon.  In the meantime I hope you are all well!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Mirror Mirror

As I face the task of packing tonight for two weeks in Sicily I thought I'd do a roundup of my Spanish holiday wardrobe.  Here's where the outfit of the day selfie can actually come in handy for some outfit planning and packing for the next holiday!

The flat we usually rent in Spain is in a large traditional casa de vecinos and in the passageway leading to the flat hangs a beautiful, large, gilt framed, full length antique mirror.  I used it whilst we were there to take a selfie a day to record what I was wearing, the main aim being to avoid outfit repeating.  It was also to have a record for the next holiday of what worked, what didn't and what got worn so I can take some different things and outfit ideas for the next holiday.

I posted on rediscovering the versatility of this floral striped skirt here - it worked well with both white tops I packed and both a high wedge white espadrille and a flat dusky rose lace espadrille.

Although I do love these silky Hermione de Paula printed pyjama pants for the elaborate print of fishes and coral and for the fact that they are super duper comfortable, they do make my hips look unduly large.  I tried them with flats for the beach but even switching up to wedge heels for an  evening at the feria with a cropped jacket and some bold jewellery didn't seem to get the relaxed flowing boho look I was hoping for with these trousers. I'm wondering what I could do to style them better.  Suggestions welcome!

This silk floral printed trouser suit also by Hermione de Paula is a definite holiday success and always get thrown into the suitcase en route to a hot destination. I've worn it before on holiday and I'll certainly be wearing it again.  If anything is likely to come with me on the next holiday and be exempt from the no outfit repeating rule it is this outfit.

These were the other three feria oufits worn here, here and here and I was generally happy with each.  Who would have thought a white corset top would turn out to be such a versatile piece? But it made it into three separate outfits and is probably going to end up going back in the bag the next time I go on holiday.

Whilst in Spain I also got a couple of new flamenco costumes made. This is a picture of the fitting with the tailor who has had made most of my costumes. The fabric is a sheer devoré fabric in a deep brown velvet with highlights of rose, pink and olive, and is overlaid over a nude lining.  The finished costume is still waiting for me to collect over in Spain as it wasn't ready before I left.

And this is the pièce de résistance! A new bata de cola with black openwork lace overlaid over a coffee coloured lining.  Both fabrics for the costumes were picked out by the tailor with whom I went fabric shopping in the local stores.  At first I just wanted a plain black bata but the tailor convinced me to go with this combination instead and I have to say I'm very pleased with the end result.  Can't wait to do a show with this beauty!

So what to pack for Sicily? Home of Dolce & Gabbana and their Sicilian widow aesthetic.  It's so tempting just to throw lots of black lace and pencil skirts in the suitcase and revel in dressing the part, except that it is going to be quite hot weather while we're there.  Ah decisions, decisions!  At any rate will be sharing snaps of our trip on our return and catching up with you all then.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Last Night of Feria


I know I keep going on about my last holiday but it's the only time I get to wear anything interesting and zany - like these silk print palazzo trousers I wore on the last night of feria.  They're not the most flattering choice as the ultra loose fit tends to make my hips look big.  But they are cool and comfortable on a hot summer's night in Spain, as well as forgiving on the waistline after a week of eating fried fish and drinking sherry!  And nobody's summer wardrobe is complete without a pair of zany trousers.  I also love that they have coral, seaweed and tropical fish in the colourful print.

I spend my working weeks having to look elegant and serious all the time, and I don't often feel inspired to post my work outfits as I find it boring to do so.  On holiday I like to relax and have fun in boho gear which tends to be more me regardless if boho happens to be in or out.  Anyone else suffer from this work/leisure split in fashion personality?  Anyhow been posting so long about Spain that I am now already on the eve of my next holiday.  Planning what to pack this week for two weeks in Sicily! Can't wait!
Silk printed trousers: Hermione de Paula; Broderie anglaise top: old Warehouse; Broderie anglaise Jacket: old Kate Moss for Topshop; Bag: gift from Mum; Espadrilles: bought in Spain; Necklace and earrings: Bijoux Brigette


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