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
Mr V's tuxedo: Gieves and Hawkes