This month's post is our unedited fashion feature piece for Bath Life Magazine on how to dress for events!
Awards season is upon us! How clever the fashion world is, unleashing all the inspirational glamour for dressing up on the Couture catwalks. Conveniently, they are just in time to tempt the world’s most famous celebrities into showing off their finest creations on the Awards red carpet in the Spring!
‘So what?’ How many opportunities do real people have to dress up, to walk the red carpet?
Many companies have recognised achievement with their own Awards, knowing that dressing up and letting loose, bonds staff and promotes goodwill and enthusiasm for their values. I would hasten to point out, that at some point you have been invited to a Great Gatsby themed, or Studio 54 birthday party- we want to wear beautiful, madly opulent things, even if we aren’t getting an award. Bath is the architectural equivalent of a silk ball gown- we owe it to our city to keep dressing up, to paint the town ‘red carpet’.
With these opportunities to dress up and with body positivity not set to go away, fashion houses like Valentino are making it easier for real people to see beautiful statement gowns that inspire. As our A-list role models becoming more diverse, designers have been forced to open their eyes to what consumers want. This year Valentino’s ten house models reflected the bodies of today’s role models, not the typical size zero model- beautiful, diverse, relatable bodies.
Of course, Valentino still maintains an approach to dressing which is traditional and elegant- the beauty of red carpet dressing today, is that all the previous rules are there to be broken if you like. The Viktor and Rolf show was about exaggerated shoulders and though some were frightful, there were face framing collars that would flatter, with show stopping eccentricity that works for the red carpet.
How do you find the perfect garment for elegant dressing, or rule-breaking, when most shops don’t get party wear until September? The easiest way to experiment and find out what might suit, is to explore vintage shops. The Yellow Shop in Bath stocks incredible pieces all year round. If you feel like wearing Dr Martens and tulle, or trainers and breaking the rules like a ‘noughties Lily Allen, you’ll find everything you need there. If you wanted to mimic the Jean Paul Gaultier show, you could easily find voluminous skirts and blouses in Jack and Danny’s (just speak to Sheila and she’ll find you what you need) and then layer over clean-lined corsetry by ‘What Katie Did,’ keeping it from looking ‘costumey’ by choosing single tone colours. It’s also super simple to find jewel-like clutch bags in charity shops all year round- if you see one you love, get it- then it will be ready for when you need it!
Another trick is to layer tulle skirts in the vein of Giambattista Valli, wearing one skirt as an off the shoulder voluminous top. DorothyHouse.Shop has some incredible full circle ball gowns, maxi skirts and quirky LBDs- buy a larger size and with the money that you save on the dress, pay for alterations that contour and flatter.
Look in carefully curated boutiques like Maze. In their sale you’ll find individual pieces from last season, that are red carpet ready for today. I love their blouson sleeved ‘Selected Femme’ sequin dress for an easy glamour. Grace & Mabel, have a beautiful array of dresses that are ‘rule breakers’, the Stine Goya Ilona dress is an incredible statement piece well as the ‘Jordan’ sequin tulle. Don’t forget the chill in the air and layer up your gown with faux fur. Regular visits to Portman, will be rewarded by original Italian made coats that are bold and beautiful and very unique.
The key to getting the right look and feeling comfortable at Awards, is experimentation. Try on a lot of things, try on things you normally wouldn’t. Take an honest friend with you and look at their face when they see you, don’t listen to what they are saying! Don’t feel embarrassed about your big try on session and even if you prefer to try at home, explain to the retailer what you are doing and they will be very understanding about returns. Just like choosing a wedding dress, you are looking for the ‘one’, even if it’s the ‘one,’ for one night.