Dress for the occasion
By Debra Howes from the Clothes Shop, Newbury
Wherever you look these days, there is a nod to the best of the past. Style and glamour abounds. From successful television programs like ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Downton Abbey’, to home wares with a distinctive aura of something familiar in some of our distant memories. The world of fashion is no exception.
Dresses, in particular, are very retro bringing us designs to flatter the female form. Within the 40’s influence are pretty floral prints, slightly puffy sleeves with attractive necklines and hemlines to suit all ages. The 50’s look brings us both the swishy skirts with the smaller waist being emphasised and also the fabulous glamorous “Bardot” look with slim line skirts and shapely tops, in gorgeous satins and silks which look good on the curvaceous figure. The simple, well cutlines of the 60’s are also evident giving a chic uncluttered look. This works particularly well for the more petite ladies, you just have to think of Audrey Hepburn to get the idea. The 70’s are still evident in the flamboyant prints and the long flowing skirts of the maxis. You no longer have to wear trousers if you want to cover up your legs.
Many dresses have a slightly higher waist line, almost empire line, which is very forgiving for any woman conscious of her tummy. If you prefer covered arms but the dress doesn’t have sleeves, then a shrug or bolero will work very well too; in fact many sleeveless dresses now come with either of these.
What better excuse can there be to indulge yourself with a new outfit than an invite to a wedding, the races or some other equally exciting occasion. Of course, ideally you would like to wear an outfit again and again and this is where the dress up/dress down scenario is invaluable. Look for styles that with simple additions of a jacket, pretty bag and shoes, hat or fascinator and complementary jewellery will make the transition from every day to something spectacular. Even the plainest of outfits can be made into a show stopper with the right accessories, especially if you require a hat or fascinator for the event.
A growing number of hats have become smaller and more popular due to the patronage of the Duchess of Cambridge. These work particularly well with the revival of the vintage inspired clothes. You can certainly look over your shoulder to past decades and pick and choose a look which is perfect for you. There is plenty to experiment and have fun with.
To create an individual look and not become a brand clone, you should look to the independent shops as well. They will not only offer a personal service but a greater variety of labels and you might be surprised to discover that many a time they can save you money too.