SHOP/STYLE WITH ME BACK2BACK OUTFITS FOR SOCIETY BALL & CHRISTENING ON THE SAME WEEKEND
For those of you who have visited my site previously welcome back and for the newbies come on in and join the Family. It’s that time again when excitement among the girls is infectious as we prep for an upcoming 7 Star Society Ball and family christening the following day.
With weather forecasters predicting higher temperatures for the week beginning 16 April and all indications are that the weather has indeed turned for the better, we waste no time in planning our outfits and once again push the boat out for our end of April weekend.
We all know life is filled with “trials and tribulations” and this was never more evident recently than when one of my girls sustained a hip injury jeopardising her attendance and enjoyment at the Society Ball. Unbeknown to me, pain and immobility meant that 14 days before the event Sandra was uncharacteristically neither prepared, nor motivated about the upcoming event. Shamelessly I intruded on Sandra’s convalescence pushing her to edit/peruse photos etc. for this blog. It was being bombarded with photos of the outfits I had put together that sent alarm bells ringing signifying that time was fast running out for Sandra to source, order and ensure delivery of her evening dress. I will reveal in my "Review Blog" after the event how when you “have each other’s back” there is no situation that cannot be resolved.
Whatever the occasion we give thoughtful consideration and share ideas about our nails, hair, accessories, shoes (open toe or closed), dress (whether to show our arms or shoulders), undergarments, bag, fragrance, makeup and any detail that promotes putting our best foot forward.
As a "plus size" woman my dress sense is inspired by the voluptuous female icons of the fifties and sixties. In attempting to personalise my style I am trying to no longer be a slave to the sizing on labels. I focus instead (with the help of YouTuber KarenBritChic) on the way my clothes hang, skim and drape over my body. Armed with the knowledge that my sizing can fluctuate between brands I have found dependable on-line retailers like, ASOS, Boohoo, JDWilliams, Dorothy Perkins, that carry brand names, like Joanna Hope where the sizing, cut and design of their clothes both compliments and flatters the lines of my body shape. I have selected affordable pieces, thrown caution to the wind and injected an unflinching pop of red accessories with a view to achieving a chic, high-end look. We have purchased most of the items within the last 2-3 weeks and I wanted to get this blog out in the hope that the items would still be available should you see anything that took your fancy.
By popular demand I have also thrown in a couple of time saving “beauty tips” for good measure.
FRAGRANCE: My fragrance of choice for this weekend is Thierry Aura MUGLER Eau de Parfum which was at the top of my 56th Birthday wish list.
The kryptonite green bottle facetted like a heart contains an instinctively “all woman” fragrance. This highly potent perfume is a sure-fire way to weaken the will of any man inhaling this cocktail of fresh, minty green, mysteriously floral, initially piercing almost headache inducing, scent. Try not to be put off by the fleeting, heady sweet smell of Vanilla and wolfwood, as that is swiftly overtaken by the attention-grabbing, feminine, sensual, long-lasting floral notes. This fragrance is not for everyone so either a sample purchase or a quick squirt on your person from a retailer while out and about is advisable.
Moving swiftly out of my fantasy world and into the here and now, my subjective, neutral colour of choice, for both the Society Ball and family christening is Navy. This classic base and timeless colour, enables me to style items with a wide colour range of accessories and get a lot more wear out of them.
I had to include in my blog a basic wardrobe staple purchased at a slightly higher price point, that will look better for longer and this black camisole demonstrates this ethos perfectly. In short I got much more than I paid for. JDWilliams Joanna Hope Black Pleat Detail Cami (Size 26) £30.00 - The eyes of the onlooker is immediately drawn to the racy bralette like strappy front and enhanced lace detail at the neckline. The pleating to the front and back give an effortless flow when I move and elegantly shroud any problems in the stomach area, elevating this Cami from pretty to next level chic. It will come as no surprise to you that at the time of writing this blog I went back on-line and was greeted with the “This item can be added to your bag but is temporarily out of stock“ slogan.
SOCIETY BALL LOOKBOOK
Evening Gown: - JDWilliams or SimplyBe Navy Night Peplum Frill Fishtale Dress £35.00 (size 24) - I trolled the internet yesterday and cannot explain how I missed this dress. You know that saying “You can’t see the wood for the trees”? Luckily I opened the laptop this morning and found it staring at me when I refreshed the page of the JDWilliams website. The black was sold out in all Sizes and no longer available. My size in the preferred Navy was “low on stock”. With an annual free next day delivery on the account I put the dress in my basket and checked out.
When trying on this dress it slid over my body like a dream. My only concern was that historically anything that goes on so easy doesn’t usually look elegant or shapely once you look in the mirror. Totally prepared to have to send it back I looked in the mirror with no makeup, no shoes or accessories, or supportive undergarments and looking every bit “the bare foot Contessa” and the fit of the dress that embodied my reflection forced me to swallow deeply as tears stung the back of my eyes. YouTuber Daria Andronescu says “No matter what your body type rounded or angular triangle or hourglass your body already has harmony, it is perfect. You don’t need to hide your floors or weaknesses you need to find clothes that compliment your natural lines and curves. Clothes that enhance the beauty of what you already have.”
On this positive note can I just say JDWilliams/SimplyBe you nailed it with this gown! A textbook classic for any black tie event and for a very reasonable price tag that gives off a high end expensive flow to it as I move. It’s a good cut, flattering and hugs my curves in all the right places. The pros for me with this dress are numerous. The 5% Elastane means that even without any undergarment support, as I repeatedly sit and stand on the edge of my bed, the dress DOES NOT ride up
The Bardot off-shoulder neckline is really sophisticated and shows off my décolletage perfectly. Whenever I am going to bare my shoulders I reach for my trusted bottle of Dove Summer Glow & Soft Shimmer Norishing Lotion (Medium to Dark). Daily use of this subtle self-tanner with light shimmer particles (covered in a previous blog) will not only cover any stretch marks, imperfections or bra strap indentations but give me a flawless even skin tone. The shimmer particles reflects light acting as a highlighter drawing attention to my collarbone. The under bodice line is perfect for my body. The three quarter sleeve affords me free unrestricted movement and comfort both under the arms and in the elbow area. The peplum detail adds a nice touch to what could otherwise have been an uninspiring navy evening gown. I twist anxiously to see the back! There is no unsightly gathering or pulling at the base of my spine and the peplums drop exactly where they should over my stomach and bottom area.
SHOES: JDWilliams Heavenly Soles Red Kitten Heel Shoes (Size 9 Wide E Fit) £25.00 - At my age I can afford to switch things up a bit and dip my pointed toes (excuse the pun) into unfamiliar territory and be daring with red shoes and/or accessories. These Wide E fit 1¾in/43mm heel pointed court shoes will give the illusion of being taller and elongate my legs.
EARRINGS: SHEIN Red Asymmetrical Double Flake Drop Earrings £3.99 - To me these earrings are a contradiction in terms. Understated, restrained and yet does just that - makes a statement. They couldn’t be more dissimilar than the ostentatious large luxury Ruby Drop Rhinestone CZ Earrings £3.50 above.
HANDBAG: E-Bay Ladies Navy Retro Patent Handbag £11.61
Despite the hunger these days for leather designer handbags named after celebrities, the demand for vintage or vintage inspired handbags have stood the test of time. The vintage style handbag has lasted forever. My relationship with vintage handbags began when as a child my small feet wobbled precariously in mum’s stilettos. One of my YouTube guru's KarenBritChic says dull hardware looks more expensive then shiny hardware. Following that guideline I feel this muted patent shine on this inexpensive handbag will provide a sophisticated classy and refined boost to my evening gown and christening outfit. It is said to come with a gold chain which for the reasons aforementioned, I will not be using. Update following Delivery: The Retro Patent Handbag is so much more than I had hoped for considering the cost and is worthy of special mention as I will be using it for both events
JJS HOUSE - RED DANCING SHOES
Every Womans Dream: Pick your Preferred Heel Height - Imagine my delight when I discovered a site where not only do they stock my size but where I dictate the heel height! Yes you heard me. I couldn't resist these cute red satin 2 inch heeled dancing sandals with hollow-out flower embellishment at a cost of £21 reduced from an eye-watering £63. Before ordering be sure to check the drop-down size chart. JJS House currently have an APR10 10% off code in effect. My choice of a 2inch/5cm heel makes them fit for purpose and comfortable to dance the night away. Your Heel options are: 2 inch/5cm, 2.3 inch/6cm, 2.8 inch/7cm, 3 inch/7.5cm, 3.2 inch/8.3cm, 3.3 inch/8.5cm or 4 inch/8cm. Reviews: “Love these shoes. Very pretty and comfortable. They also arrived sooner than I expected. I'll shop at JJ House again” (July 2017) and “Very easy to dance in. Comfortable and beautiful” (February 2017).
Light-in-the Box Wedding/Evening Handbags Clutches with Flower £7.28 Does this splendid, one of a kind, stand on its own, over the top handbag require any commentary? A little persistence yielded these flattering Korean Fabric Alloy Rose Petal Earrings £6.41.
JDWilliams Closet Contrast Hem Dress - £58.00 (Purchased 11.05.2017 - (NO LONGER
AVAILABLE) - I scored a wardrobe win when I purchased this dress back in May 2017. It was love at first sight and I simply had to have it although at the time I had nowhere to wear it. I initially purchased size 24 but wasn’t happy the way it looked on my rounded fuller figure back then. I returned it without delay and ordered size 26 which, with 7% Elastane provided the all-important “comfort” factor and an elegance much more flattering for my body shape. The dress remained “out of sight and out of mind”, - (we have covered this bad habit in past blogs) - sealed in the plastic covering it arrived in, as if waiting for just such an occasion. The flattering fit and flare shape accentuates my new found waist, skimming gracefully over my hips and bum. The pastel pink contrasting hem and POCKETS, yes I did say pockets, adds a summer girly feel to my outfit. The navy blue kitten heels, vintage navy handbag and rose gold accessories compliment the visible gold zip-back closure. This dress makes for an easy transition from austere Christening Church Service during the day to chic fun after party dress at night.
E-Bay Rose Gold Bridal Bridesmaid Necklace Earrings Jewellery Set £7.99 - Rose gold has increased in popularity over recent years and like vintage fashions have stood the test of time. Rose Gold to me screams “ladylike”, is softer, understated, delicate and more restrained than yellow gold. The warmer colour suits many skin tones and looks classy, whatever the carat.
SimplyBe Soft Blue Single Breasted Coat £69 (Size 28) - This soft blue single-breasted
spring coat is the perfect spring wardrobe staple. This pastel shade wakes up any outfit and the differing shades of blue keeps the look fluid and classic. Contrary to the idea that up-sizing adds bulk, size 28 on me is not only comfortable but flattering especially when worn thrown over my shoulders on those chilly nights.
Evans – Navy Blue Kitten Heel Pointed Court Shoe - £28.00 Size 8EEE – I haven’t bought anything from Evans for many years and wasn’t sure that they were still trading. At the time of purchasing only EEE Wide fit were available. These gorgeous kitten heels are the only navy shoes in my wardrobe. Christenings generally mean a long day and I am relying on these low heel suede like shoes to keep my feet comfortable and happy from day to night. Any heel irrespective of height elongates the body, makes you look slimmer and eradicates that stocky stumpy look. Ladies Navy Retro Patent Handbag as detailed above for Dinner & Dance look. Fingers crossed the sun is still shining next weekend giving me an opportunity to break out my ASOS Small Pointy Cat Eye Sunglasses as featured in my 56th Birthday On-Line Shopping Lookbook Blog.
HAIRSTYLE: I booked my tried and trusted hairdresser a week before the event to create a sophisticated, decadent braided ponytail. As those of you who have had your hair braided will recall braids provide an instant face lift which aged 56 just four weeks ago is heaven-sent
When selecting a hairdresser that braids hair, word of mouth referrals and the hairline of his/her customers will speak volumes. My worst fear is loss of versatility and my being limited to wearing wigs due to an un-natural and early receding hairline because of tight, migraine inducing braids that pluck the fine hair from my scalp.
Low Maintenance - Until my next event or hairdressing appointment I cover my head at night with a Titan Classic Spandex Dreadlock Cap - £4.99 PAKS. This particular stocking cap is comfortable at night and prevents frizzing or fly away hair which occurs when scrunching your braids up into conventional caps high on your head. This stocking cap will keep my braids and ponytail in perfect order for up to 12 weeks or until I take my braids out.
My ride or “dye” product that keeps the greys at bay in between salon visits is the Black Colour Fix Spray (from my local Superdrugs). This with an old toothbrush as detailed in my previous blogs is a permanent fixture in my hairstyling kit.
Whenever my scalp itches me I liberally douse it with Rasta Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch Gro Spray £3.49. This is achieved by transferring the contents of the bottle into this Salon Pro 30 Anti Itch Serum (that is no longer sold in this country) as the pointed nozzle not only soothingly scratches the partings of my scalp but also accurately distributes the anti-itch serum where it is most needed without disturbing my hairstyle.
NAIL BEAUTY TIP: Sainsburys Rimmel Super Gel (step 2) Top Coat £6 – Renders your nail polish virtually indestructible. When the manager of the nail shop is convinced that her staff is coating your nails with Shellac and not ordinary nail polish, you know you have stumbled onto something. A couple of months ago, I looked at my nails the day after infills and they had already lost their salon sheen. My Rimmel Super Gel (step 2) was near to hand and so I put some on my nails. The gloss was blinding. When I returned to the nail shop some three weeks later the fee quoted had gone up considerably. When I queried this, I was told this is the price for Shellac. I smiled knowingly and calmly reiterated I just wanted nail polish as usual. This product might on the face of it seem pricey, but Rimmel’s assertion “14 days of gel colour & shine” is accurate!
CLEANSING BEAUTY TIP: Daily cleansing of my face is the most crucial part of my skin care regimen. I am sure that like me, you have a favourite cleanser that is guaranteed to unclog pores,
prevent breakouts and other skin conditions, but most importantly works for you. I found it far too easy after a good night out to skip this step before going to sleep. I needed to devise an easy access, guaranteed, failsafe way of ensuring that after removing my makeup with “micellar water” I deep cleansed my face to remove residual make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the skin of my face. This empty Superdrug Body Butter container enabled me to achieve my objective. I purchased the small size of square cotton pads, put a batch into the container, pour my favourite cleanser into the cap of the bottle, controlling the flow I strategically saturated the cotton pads. I added a further batch of pads and repeated the saturation process until the container was full. I screwed back on the airtight lid and there you have it your own personal cleansing pads in your bedside cabinet drawer.
CONCLUSION: I sincerely hope the saying “Fortune Favours the Brave” is true. Even at this late juncture, when I know there is nothing I can do to change it, I question the timing of my decision to introduce such a glaring spotlight stealing accent colour, like red into my wardrobe!
Strange, how notwithstanding the relentless pre-event anxiety in sourcing our outfits, deciding on a makeup shades, false eyelashes or extensions, nail colour, hairstyle, shoes (will it be the JJS Red dancing shoes or kitten heels), texting the girls what time to be ready, crossing everything that all orders will be received – I look forward to the next event when the girls and I convene to go through the whole process all over again!
Here’s hoping the sunny weather holds for both events and I will see you on the other side with some great GRWM (get ready with me) photographs and as many video clips of each event that I can shoot. I will raise a glass to you my loyal subscribers. Cheers. X
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