It was my birthday recently and my best friends very kindly clubbed together to give me a Selfridges gift card… don’t you love guilt-free shopping! I wasn’t sure what I should spend it on – make-up, a jar of Creme de La Mer or a pair of Kurt Geiger Fashionista shoes? I decided to be sensible! I set myself the task of sorting out my New Years Eve outfit and I had a £200 budget. I’m going to Munich for NY but I don’t know exactly what I’m doing yet so I need a “cover all bases” sort of outfit.
Every time I’d been out with clients dress shopping, I’d made a mental note if there was something I liked but I can’t say I’d seen anything in particular that had caught my eye (within my budget anyway!). There were several sequined numbers by Lipsy that I’d noticed before that were interesting and I’d not seen them on, so I thought I’d give them a go. There was a very bright silver sequined one-shoulder dress (£65) that I really liked, but I felt as if I should be singing in the final of X Factor or something – plus it was a little too “blingy” for Munich (they’re pretty understated there generally!). All Saints, Warehouse, Oasis, Miss Selfridge, Ted Baker, French Connection and Karen Millen all had contenders (I stayed on the ground floor in Selfridges and didn’t even go up stairs to be tempted by the designer dresses)! The poor guy in the changing room must have thought – good lord, not you again! The 5th or 6th time I went in I was trying a selection from Topshop as I’d spotted a couple of Christopher Kane pieces hidden on the rails. I was tempted by one very pretty dress but it was tiny and I could barely get it on let alone off… and then I tried on the lacey one-shoulder dress from his collection. I really liked it but hadn’t noticed there was a mesh panel down the left side which wasn’t totally sheer, but you could definitely see through it. Of course this made me like the dress more as it was a bit different – and for only £50 I thought it was a bit of a bargain!
I also found these shoes from Topshop – black suede open-toed sling backs with metal studs, they’re a real statement and only £65 (I wore them on Saturday night and they were actually incredibly comfy). To finish off I picked up a gold and black stripey sequined clutch bag (very annoying to dance with but I’m going to add some ribbon to make handles!). So Topshop came up trumps and all for £143… plus I picked up a Christopher Kane dress without the “designer” price tag! I’m not always keen on department store shopping as it can be fairly overwhelming choice wise, but when looking for something specific like a dress, as least you can quickly see what a lot of brands have to offer, which is very useful. So that’s the outfit’s done – I’ll simply plan my evening around it, roll on December 31st…
Things to remember when going dress shopping:
Make time and prepare for your shopping – don’t just run into a shop after work and expect to find the ideal outfit. If your hair’s a bit limp and your make-up is looking tired you’ll automatically think the dresses you’re trying on don’t look good, when it’s not necessarily the dress… So make an effort with your hair and add a bit of make-up and I promise your trip will be more successful
If you usually wear fake tan, apply some the night before the shopping trip, then you’ll see what colours will actually look like against your skin (without fake tan I could give E.T. a run for his money at the moment!).
If you wear heels take some with you, so you don’t have to wander around the changing-rooms on your tip toes like you’re auditioning for Strictly!
The right underwear can make or break a dress and VPL is a NO, NO! Also if necessary invest in some foundation-wear to smooth out any lumps or bumps and take a strapless bra with you too
Look for classic shapes with a twist – and don’t be scared to try something different. If you do want to play it safe, remember you can be more extravagant with jewellery, which can transform your outfit
Don’t automatically go for strapy sandals with evening-wear – by adding a chunkier shoe (like the ones I bought above) your look will be more edgy and less “pretty”, which is much more on trend this season