Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Dresses to Impress: The A-Z of Fab Frocks and Gorgeous Gowns.... L

L is for Long dresses

My wonderful Mum once shared a styling secret with me, she told me that there can be such a thing as too much flesh! "If you are showing your arms then cover your legs", she said, and vice versa, so today's post is all about long dresses.

there are 3 main types of long dress, 'Princess' (think bridal, long prom and meringue), 'Maxi' (think boho chic) and 'Empire' (think traditional, Jane Austen and Gothic!) here's what I mean...

The long prom- often a strapless number, this type of long dress is perfect for a very special occasion when extreme 'wow' factor is required. In line with Mums golden rule, as all of the legs are covered, this kind of dress can really show a lot of upper body flesh and makes the shoulders and decolletage look gorgeous. Perfect also for pear shapes with a smaller bust, this style of dress offsets any big hips as it pouffes out over the hips rather than skimming them and outlining the silhouette.

The 'Princess' style of long dress has definitely been the  favourite of many a bride...
Victoria Beckham
Princess Diana

Katie Price
 The second style of long dress is the Maxi dress, a boho chic seventies inspired style which is once again bang on trend. The maxi dress is the name given to a very long dress, usually floor length. Often found in fabulous retro colourways and styles here are some of my favourites this season....
Dorothy Perkins


Recognise these celebs in maxi dresses?!... Yep! Every one's in one this summer, even the cast of Sex and The City! Maxi dresses are very versatile and suit the vast majority of body shapes. they have a wide variety of straps and shaped bust lines but many of them draw their inspiration from the third style of long dress, the Empire.

Popular in the early 1800s, this style of long dress has an empire line, maximising on the upper torso with a scoop style neckline and cap or leg of mutton sleeves, this dress then has a floor length skirt. We see this kind of dress on many a period drama....
and I would love it to make a serious comeback! A very flattering and presumably also quite a comfortable style, the Empire long dress exudes nostalgic romance and femininity. Well, all I can say is hooray for the long dress, how about you?...

Monday, 16 May 2011

Dresses to Impress: the A-Z of fabulous frocks and gorgeous gowns... K

K is for Know your shape and find body confidence.

The key to successful styling, no matter what the clothing piece, is knowing your shape. I've done a post previously highlighting the four main types of body shape; Apple, Pear, Hourglass and Boyish, or Rectangle. (Read all about body shapes here).

Once you know your shape and feel confident wearing a dress that accentuates the bits you like, flatters and minimises the bits you don't, then choosing your clothes is suddenly a whole lot easier!

There are also all the tricks of the trade for creating a body shape, especially hourglass! In a previous post I've looked at hourglass shapes and discussed how to 'make yourself Marilyn'. Read that one here.

I think it's important however to discuss that fact that whatever body shape we have (or would like to have), that's only half the issue. Body confidence is a whole other matter! You know the type of girl who has issues with body confidence, your great friend with the fabulous boobs and teeny tiny waist who honestly thinks she's fat; or the friend who's 5ft 10" and seriously hates her height and would rather be like you. There is definitely something about the grass being greener when it comes to our bodies and yet whatever shape, size or look, we are ALL gorgeous!
No, the grass is not greener! Not many people are genuinely happy with their body shape; often because they're actually not happy with themselves. Confidence can be knocked by all kinds of factors in life; our upbringing; family; job; school memories; unhappy relationships; children....you name it! But I want to ask you one little question- have you actually given life the right to define you by allowing these past events to shape your mind? True body confidence begins with a correct view of yourself from the inside, in your mind and in your heart and a conscious decision to reverse the tide. You don't have to be defined by any of these things anymore. Of course that will take effort, a re-scripting in your thinking, some great friends and perhaps even therapy! but you can rediscover the gorgeous Goddess within, screaming to be let out from the shackles of life.
(Obviously a new fab frock is never going to reshape your identity and enable you to become the glorious, gorgeous, confident woman you were always intended to be.....but it's a start!)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dresses to Impress: The A to Z of fabulous frocks and gorgeous gowns....J

J is for Jersey!

I must confess, one of my most favourite fabrics for an everyday dress has got to be soft cotton stretch jersey, you just can't beat it! I'm going to devote today's A to Z post completely and utterly to the glorious benefits, both in style and comfort of jersey.

So, Jersey.......

"Jersey is a knit fabric used predominantly for clothing manufacture. It was originally made of wool, but is now made of wool, cotton, and synthetic fibres Since medieval times Jersey, Channel Islands, where the material was first produced, had been an important exporter of knitted goods and the fabric in wool from Jersey became well known. The fabric can be a very stretchy single knitted, usually light-weight, jersey with one flat side and one piled side Jersey is considered to be an excellent fabric for draped garments, such as dresses, and women's tops." Thanks Wiki, you've said it all!

The most iconic jersey dress of late has got to be the gorgeous royal blue Issa dress worn by the glorious (now) Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at her engagement press shoot at the end of last year.
Used heavily by clothing retailers such as Boden, White stuff and one of my favourites, Cath Kidston, the jersey dress has found itself in virtually every one's wardrobe. Designed to provide a flattering shape, much needed warmth and an easy care label, jersey dresses are most definitely a fabulous frock!

Hmmmm....there might even be a few jersey dresses in Redressing's current collections:
Size 18

Size 8

Fat Face size 10

Whitestuff size 12

Fat Face size 10

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Dresses to Impress:The A to Z of fabulous frocks and gorgeous gowns...I

I is for Individuality

Individuality in your sense of style is the key to fashion success. Even though every High Street retailer stocks exactly the same clothing, we as modern women are not sausage machines! The key to creating an individual look is easy and does not have to mean freaky, eccentric or just plain weird. Instead taking the mainstream direction of fashion but adding a little bit of your own personality results in that individual look which makes you stylish and chic.
 Sometimes it's hard to find something original in these heady days of fast, mass produced fashion, but by adding your own touch to high street stock is definitely the way to go.

For some of you it may not actually be the clothes which give you an individuality to your style it might be always wearing your hair in the same way,or your choice of garments (one piece or two), or even the height of your heels!

You may (as I do) have a preference for a certain decade of clothing but owning an entire wardrobe full of authentic or repro vintage dresses doesn't give you style in and of itself! As a very wise woman once said to me (my Mum!), 'it's not what you wear, rather how you wear it'!
 The next time you find yourself flummoxed by the myriad of fast fashion, remember, it only takes one or two key pieces worn with something that is most very definitely you and you alone, and you have the makings of individual style! Stand up straight, be proud of who you are and what you wear and be seen as someone with a sense of style and inner confidence! Remember, you are gorgeous no matter what your style, shape or size!

Til next time....x