Choosing outfits to wear to weddings can be such a minefield. The rules change for every country, across cultures, between climates and whether the tone of the wedding is formal or informal. It can also be expensive! After reading a post by Courtney on her blog Those Graces, where she showed how quickly the budget can be blown in accessorising an outfit for a wedding, I resolved not to fall into the same trap in the run up to my brother's wedding. I mean a flight to Australia is budget unfriendly in itself!
Such lofty notions of self restraint are all the more difficult to live up to when you come from a family in which the women love to shop for clothes and for whom there is nothing like a family wedding to provide the perfect excuse to acquire a new outfit. My mother was talking about and shopping for her outfit at least ten months in advance! I even brought five jacket options with me for her and she ended up with a choice of two outfits for the day. Prior to leaving England my sister sent me strict instructions via my father to keep the Saturday after I arrived free to go shopping with her for a new dress, upping the ante immediately from her previous convictions that she would be shopping her own wardrobe for the event. All this before I have even touched down on Australian soil!
The tendency for the womenfolk of my family to launch into shopping overdrive at the mere whiff of a wedding invitation may also have something to do with the sheer number of weddings they have to attend and that they would rather die than be seen wearing the same outfit again to a different wedding in front of the same crowd!
The problem I sometimes find with shopping from my wardrobe is that I can end up with quite an eclectic mix of items thrown together which can either be startlingly original or haphazardly ill thought out. The beauty of going out to buy a new outfit from scratch is that you can find a head to toe look which is the result of a focused effort, although perhaps at the risk of looking a bit too contrived.
So how did I fare on the wardrobe versus new purchases? I'm proud to say I managed to wear a dress that I haven't worn before! This nude pink strapless ruched number from the Kate Moss for Topshop range has been languishing unworn in my wardrobe for a couple of years. I've had the strappy gold Carvela sandals for about seven years and they have seen me through a good few summer weddings. The gold embellished cuff, the earrings, the hair clips and fake snakeskin clutch are also all wardrobe finds.
However I did also buy a couple of things. I decided a simple strapless dress needed a bit of bling and took advantage of a fifteen percent off voucher to buy this statement necklace from Banana Republic with gold, silver and glass beads.
Spring evenings in Australia can be quite cool and for an outdoor wedding and reception it's essential that you have something to cover up with. I found myself in a bit of a pickle selecting a summer weight jacket from my wardrobe to go with this dress. Then just before leaving for Oz this beaded and fringed devoré cape by Kite and Butterfly went on sale at My-Wardrobe. I'd been eyeing it for a while, seduced by the twin peacocks on the back and couldn't resist when it got reduced by fifty percent. It arrived the day before I left. I threw it on over the dress as an experiment and found the tones of pink in the flowers picked out the dress colour so into the suitcase it went.
The acutely observant may also notice I am wearing what has been recently termed by the fashion cognoscenti as "American tan tights", albeit toe-less ones made for wearing with sandals. These above all else, dear reader, propelled me into the giddy heights of the fashion forward, for tan tights have apparently been rescued from their previous status as a fashion faux pas and declared a new fashion trend for Autumn 2010.And since I effectively travelled back in fashion time to attend a wedding in Spring 2010 my fashion forwardness was amplified even further!
But really, who is responsible for making these ludicrous announcements? There are clearly people on Planet Fashion with perfect pins and a heated taxi on call. Lucky them who can go bare legged, free from the worry of feeling cold when night falls or about the appearance of scars and varicose or spider veins, sneering at the rest of us who need a bit of nylon coverage inour chosen shades offaux pas tan when we don't feel like wearing opaque tights. Then suddenly one with an internship at Grazia notices Carla Bruni-Sarkozy wears flesh tone hosiery probably for all those reasons that the rest of us were already aware and viola! A trend is born.
Now my first experience with tan tights was when I was about six and had to wear a pair playing the part of an onion in an end of year school show sing-a-long about a stew. I recall they were in a vile shade that was much browner than I was and very effective, along with an onion shaped sandwich board worn over my shoulders, at making me look both onion-like and stewed. Working the look of ingredient in vegetable goulash aside, I admit that the wrong tone can seriously detract from your look.
I have, over the years since this defining incident, managed to reconcile myself to the more practical virtues of flesh tone tights. If they work with your skin colour they are great at hiding flaws on your legs if you want the bare legged look without the angst. They also keep them warm enough on a cool Spring evening so you can wear a dress in a colour that suits bare legs rather than black tights. Besides black is a no-no at some weddings and I'm trying to get away from wearing so much black these days! The tricky bit though is to get tights that match my skin colour and it took three purchases of local Aussie hosiery brands until I found one I was happy with. Even so my naked toes aren't quite the same colour as the rest of my legs!
There were also grooming costs. Whilst Mum and lil' Sis booked to have their make-up professionally done I saved money by doing my own. I did however pay for a manicure and pedicure as I can never sit still enough to do my own nails. My total bill excluding flight was two hundred and twenty pounds Stirling prior to arrival and then another one hundred Australian dollars. So much for good intentions!
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 ...
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