Sunday, 12 January 2014

High Rolling

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


  1. Can I just say that I LOVE this? That dress is stunning! I am so glad you wore it. What a shame to have such an amazing piece and never have it see the light of day.

    The accessories you chose are perfect. You look like you walked right off the pages of Vogue. The shoes are insane.

    It is so much better to be over-dressed and stand out rather than under-dressed and blend in.

    We went out for New Year's Eve and I finally wore out my 1960's orange and gold gown with the shoulder drape. You can see it here…
    I stood out like crazy amongst all of the black, silver and gold but I am so glad I finally had the guts to wear it.

    Also like Vix says, " A day without dressing up is a day wasted."


  2. "Don't hate me, invite me to your next party." Consider yourself invited! You look gorgeous, and I agree with Suzanne - better to be a bit over- than under-dressed. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday!

  3. What a stunning dress. Something that I would like to add to my own wardrobe since I'm on a quest to add more colors.

  4. That dress and shrug is just to die for--I love just about ALL of mary k's prints--and love the fit of this dress on you. xoxo

  5. The print in this dress is would light up any party! Have a wonderful week!

  6. no dapper 007s then, bummer. That dress looks fabulous, and I think it's dressed up without being too overdressed. It's better to be overdressed than under-dressed anyway.

  7. Oh, how did I miss this TopShop collaboration? Now that I'm in NYC, I need to pay attention...

    I'm with you. I love dress-up occasions, yet even in NYC, most events show casual dress. I can end up feeling over dressed. Your point about the shoes and extra sparkle are very apt . . . I generally underplay such things so that I don't stand out too much. And that's without cocktail wear. I think this means I need a more interesting night life!

  8. That dress is beautiful. I love it :))) have a lovely week. Kisses Beata

  9. I always welcome an excuse to dress up a bit, and so what if you were look amazing here!!

  10. I feel happy for you that you got to wear this gorgeous AMAZING dress and cardi and shoes - and that you look so stunning in the entire outfit. I feel bad that no one else dressed up - that is just sad and lame. I would 100 time rather be over-dressed - even if I were the only person - than under-dressed. It just seems like it would be more fun. I never regret dressing up, but I always regret it when I accidentally under-dress.

  11. Stunning!!! I'm coming back to absorb all the wonderful things you've written, but in the meantime, I'm thrilled to see you!!!!! XXOO

  12. I love mary´s dress on you. Maravillosaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  13. Yes, you should have worn the Mary Katranzou dress, it's fabulous! And I've declared 2014 The Year of Grown-Up Glamour - so you need to keep on wearing it. Happy New Year!

  14. If I were giving a party I would invite you for the pleasure of seeing what you were wearing. What a joyful outfit, OF COURSE YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT AND WORN IT! That outfit shouts, "i'm enjoying life!" It's interesting that the high rollers looked miserable. I love the little beaded bolero. Are the cream sleeves part of the dress? I'd like to see a photo of the dress minus the bolero so that I could work out what's what. I think that understated can be vastly over-rated, if you are happy in an outfit, no matter how exuberant, then you can carry it off. I'll bet you were the belle of the cocktail lounge!

  15. One of the first times I ever wrote to you was about how amazing you looked in another Mary Katrantzou sheath you have. Love this one too, even more, and you are beyond beautiful in it! The exotic elegance suits you to a T. Sounds just right to me for the occasion. Yes, of course you should opt to overdress! Sometimes, the only options are over or under ... and it has been my experience that if you underdress you risk looking like you didn't know any better. If you overdress, it always looks deliberate, like you are the woman who sets the tone rather than follows it.
    True story ... we were invited to a "dinner dance" celebrating the anniversary of a couple who are ballroom dancing hobbiests. So we stepped it up a notch with fancier getups, appropriate to take a fox-trot or two around the floor. We got there and it was a fried catfish buffet with country music. I felt wonderful but got some looks. I know what to wear to a dinner dance. Not my fault they hadn't a clue what a dinner dance was.

  16. I don't consider myself particularly courageous, so it must be foolhardiness that makes me overdress! The only time I ever went to a casino (first and last - so dull!) it was a very casual affair too, very disappointing... Of COURSE you should have bought and worn the dress, it's beautiful, and you look stunning in the entire ensemble. If other people aren't as stylish, well, that's their problem. I am often overdressed and enjoy it, my days of feeling self-conscious and wanting to run with the herd are long gone. If you love it, and look fabulous in it, wear it. And you certainly look all kinds of fabulous in this dress! xxxxx

  17. I enjoy honest peeks into worlds I'm unlikely to enter myself anytime soon -- like a high rollers room at a casino. I suppose, in reality, high rollers might be in it for the suspense and the hope of more money -- and it might be a miserable addictive desire -- and they don't want to be bothered with style statements. "I'm here to drop loads of money; it will speak for itself; I don't have to look good for everyone too." Disappointing that it's not like a James Bond set, though!

    I'd say it's a good sign that the boss/host was dressed up a bit and you and Mr. V matched that -- you were clearly respecting the event and the venue. And I'm glad you got to wear the delightful dress, and added a little magic to the visual landscape for others.

    It sounds like you need to *host* a "dress up fancy" cocktail party. State it explicitly in the invitation. We're going to have tasty drinks and bites and dress up in evening wear! I'd have you here in a heartbeat for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and evening gown dress for watching the Oscars in my humble living room!

  18. I love the combination of this dress with that textured bolero so much I am actually freaking out a little bit. Well-played!

  19. You look gorgeous and I adore everything about your look! I found myself in the same predicament years ago and made the decision to continue to dress up because that's just me. The update to that choice is that I've evolved a more casual approach which suits me and my lifestyle perfectly now. I'd wear those fabulous shoes all the time with a simple jersey skirt or tailored pants.

  20. This dress looks amazing on you, I love the wee cinching at the waist. Katrantzou is incredible, and I would have worn it too! I know what you mean, it's does take effort to get all dressed up, but I think for me at least when I go out now, if I really want to wear it I just do! I reckon, being overdressed is far better than underdressed. :-) xo

  21. Hi my dear! Your dress is absolutely gorgeous and it's such a shame that the casino didn't have a stricter dress code. I love the print, colour and cut and hopefully next time you wear it the venue will be more deserving xxx


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