A couple of my favourite bloggers have been doing some retrospective analysis of what they did wardrobe wise last year and how it is shaping their wardrobe plans for the new year. Pret a Porter P and Aesthetic Alterations I'm looking at you - how I wish I could be as organised as you ladies!
Inspired by their thought processes I've been looking back on the last six months or so of 2013 and at least mentally pondering successes and failures. Major failure? Easy - despite resolving continuously to shop less I gave in big time into temptations at the summer sales even though summer clothes end up being the least used items in the wardrobe. Bad me! Bad!
There were however some successes in 2013 in shaking up that 80% unworn, 20% worn rule for me though. It helped we had a hot summer last year to pull out long neglected summer frocks and on our last two trips overseas to warmer climes I made a pact to pack and wear several items that had either not been worn in a long time or had never been worn. This worked quite well I have to say. When I'm travelling to warm destinations I tend to throw the same old trusty favourites in the suitcase. This time around these were banned and alternatives packed in their place.
When I went to Australia I knew I was going to be going out socialising in the evening quite often so I packed some of the unworn party dresses. This printed strapless cocktail dress by Mary Katrantzou for Topshop was one of them. I'm a big Katrantzou fan and was all over this collection when it came out. I bought this dress at the time as I love the smattering of bejewelled flowers on the skirt and am quite happy to have a dress that does all the work to make me look like I have an hourglass figure even though I actually don't. I did however, delude myself at the time of purchase that it would be the perfect dress for a summer party sipping cocktails on a warm balmy evening. Yes, I invented the party I would go to wearing it and bought the dress. Yes, I am one of those, a woman who has bought more party dresses than she would ever have parties to go to. Don't hate me, invite me to your next party.
Turned out that the perfect cocktail dress opportunity beckoned when my sister and new brother-in-law invited us for drinks at the High Rollers room at the Crown Casino in Perth. The casino in Perth was always the last place to close in the city when I was growing up and often after a student ball one would end up wandering around the casino in a ball gown. Despite having a "smart" dress code, this was never a very dressed up casino in the way that European ones are. Perth is a very casual city and its regular gamblers that frequent the main casino tend to dress to meet the minimum standard of smart i.e. whatever gets them in without making too much effort. It was always the casino tourists, the ones who wandered in from nights out elsewhere, that tended to be in evening wear.
On this occasion, as we were going to drinks at the High Rollers room, we were advised be on the smarter side of dress code. I don't really hang out with high rollers it has to be said, but the new brother-in-law's boss happens to be one and the evening was kindly organised by him as a post- celebratory get together for the newly weds. I didn't really know what to expect as the rules of smart dress in Australia are so light touch as to be laughable, but given these were brand spanking new rooms that the casino had luxuriously refurbished with no expenses spared, and the casino website screamed "High Stakes meets High Style!" as its mantra, I thought to myself, okay so cocktail dress it is then. If it was anything like a London casino I had once been to, where you would not look amiss wearing black tie, then a little dress with a punchy print with some added sparkle would surely fit the bill.
I could have let the dress do all the talking by going very plain on accessories but that wouldn't have been half as fun. I actually added the sparkly bolero for the more practical reason that the evening ended up being a bit chilly. And when choosing accessories there was some method to my madness! I picked turquoise accessories in my earrings and shoes to reflect the turquoise in the print and I went for a snakeskin clutch to match the snakeskin heels on my shoes.
Turns out the high rollers were not high dressers at all and our party were all way overdressed. Talk about awkward. Apart from the brother-in-law's boss and Mr V, I didn't see any other men wearing a jacket. It was quite surprising for a room full of people who were gambling mind stupefying amounts of money in one sitting. We watched the gambling tables for a little while, which does get boring very quickly. I had expected and hoped for a bit more glitterati to provide some sartorial entertainment for the evening - some designer gowns on other ladies to ogle, a parade of enviable shoes, a walking exhibition of gorgeous jewellery perhaps. Nope. None of that. Just a few expensive bags of the predictable LV, Gucci et. al. variety hanging off the arms of some of the ladies gambling. The most striking thing we noticed about the high rollers was that they all looked mighty miserable. Thankfully the majority of our evening was spent away from the gambling tables quaffing cocktails and having a bit of a laugh before heading on to dinner at a French restaurant.
Should I have worn the dress? Should I have even bought the bloody thing? Should I have gotten this dressed up to go to a high end casino for cocktails? What would you have done? Because these are the thoughts I had after that evening. I was initially really happy that I had an opportunity to get dressed up in something I had not yet had a chance to wear, actually just to get dressed up period - so I took it, but sometimes it really isn't fun if you are the only one rising to the occasion. Ladies I don't want to be in a cocktail dress by myself! I want to see a bit of glamour and rub sequined shoulders with it. These days I feel like it takes either courage or foolhardiness or a healthy dose of both to get really dressed up to go out. I find myself thinking twice about getting really dressed up anymore. Yes me! The stalwart overdresser!
I'd love to hear your views! In the meantime I'm linking up to Patti's Visible Monday (while I'm still visible...).
Dress: Mary Katranzou for Topshop; Beaded bolero jacket: Aminaka Wilmont; Snakeskin clutch: random shop in Australia; Earrings: bought in Spain; Shoes: Aperlai Paris