Monday 24 June 2013

Wimbledon Dress Code

You know when you see the Coca Cola Christmas advert and suddenly the most powerful advertising campaign works its magic and it's 'officially' Christmastime? I think it's sort of the same with Wimbledon. One glimpse of the green grass and the dazzling white kits and it's 'officially' summertime. 

And just like Christmas, Wimbledon is worth celebrating in style. 

Already off to a great start (hello, Mr Darcis!) this is one of the most quintessentially British events of the season - nay, the year. But it can be a tricky one to sartorially navigate.

In 2012, the organisers at Wimbledon launched their first dress code rules amidst concerns that standards were slipping. Basically: no jeans, midriffs or trainers. But if you're reading this blog then I imagine you wouldn't have considered such an ensemble anyway. Phew.

But in case you're unsure, I've picked my current favourite outfits. 

Kate and Pippa in Issa's Lucky Dress Credit: REX USA; Bauer-Griffin

Temperley Moriah Dress, image courtesy of The Mirror

As always, I advocate looking to the Duchess of Cambridge for inspiration as she always looks elegant. Kate tends to opt for crisp white and has been seen in Issa and Temperley. But actually, last year I preferred Pippa Middleton's Project D dress. Gasp! 

Pippa Middleton wears Project d to Wimbledon 2012. Image (c) PA

A few hints:
  1. Try to wear a knee length or a just-above-the-knee dress.
  2. Stilettos are probably not the best idea because, depending on where your seats are, you might have quite a few steps to totter up. I tend to prefer mid heels anyway and you will be far more comfortable.
  3. Structure is good. Think sophistication, rather than flamboyance. 
  4. Hats aren't necessary and you'll probably find you'll upset the people behind you if you wear one - that isn't to say you can't wear a summer hat if it's sunny, but keep it small and preferably featherless!
  5. Colour is key. White is having a moment and is ideal for showing your team spirit at Wimbledon, but make sure you buy a thicker fabric so the white is bright and not transparent (never a good look).
  6. Other ideal colours include: blue, green, pink, coral, orange, yellow, red. Think bright and bold. Pastel shades can look insipid set against the bright green grass and blue sky.
  7. A blazer or box jacket is a good idea. We are British, after all. Zara and Hobbs have great selections.
Following in Kate and Pippa's footsteps, I'm concentrating on white and blue hues for a fresh and summery look. 
Lara Dress by Whistles, £165

Stine Stripe Dress, Whistles, £165

Orla Kiely Flower Shift Dress in Silk, £358

Whistles Rebecca Lace Dress, £175

Structured Cotton Dress, Karen Millen, £140

Oasis Pencil Dress with Black Tipping £65


£276.00 WAS £395.00

Murray for the win! #Wimbledon2013


Sunday 23 June 2013

Love Lane Vintage Fair

Since my birthday trip to Alciston, I've fallen in love with the county of Sussex. 

So, when I heard of a vintage fair taking place in Wisborough Green, I just had to go. My friend and fellow bride-to-be, Laura's fiancé was away on his stag weekend (with my fiancé in tow) so this weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to distract ourselves with pretty crafts and antiques. 

Now, the journey was a little more complicated than we had anticipated. After 2 and a half hours, we arrived at Billingshurst Railway Station and decided that, because it didn't look very far on the iPhone (stupid iPhone), we'd try to walk to Wisborough Green. Clearly we've been living in London too long.

After half an hour of walking, the pavement literally disappeared and we found ourselves on a very busy road. A few panicked telephone calls to local taxi companies later, and a driver was sent to 'find us'.

But our embarrassment vanished upon arriving at the Village Hall. Nestled behind the duck pond and decked in bunting and rustic floral arrangements lay the Love Lane Vintage emporium. 

The Hall was laden with stalls full of antique toys, beautiful china, handmade cushions and clothes, exquisite bags and jewels...and so much more!

What did we discover?

Laura found a collection of Penguin books for her wedding centrepieces, which was just what she'd been looking for. Nikki bought a gorgeous steel grey silk dress and a 1920s bag. 
I have been on the lookout for a parasol for years without much success. But lo and behold - what did I find? A beautiful broderie anglaise Edwardian parasol! SOLD. 

After a lovely lunch I bought a handmade white linen cushion with a vintage French fabric 'skirt' - I'd never seen anything like that before. It now occupies pride of place on my bed. 

And finally, having visited it several times, I eventually bought a 1920s beaded collar. 

The stall holders were all so friendly and cheery - they made the day very enjoyable indeed. But perhaps my favourite character was George, the delightfully handsome dog, who was proudly advertising his owner's wares. We all wanted to take him home with us.

By the time we left the fair, it seemed we'd achieved a degree of infamy as a result of our eccentric journey. I assure you, reader, it really should only take 1 1/2 hours if done properly.

Opposite the hall, we also found SCRIPT, a charity shop specialising in antiques where I found these gold-flecked and pearl evening gloves.

Not a bad haul. We ended our adventure with delicious chocolate cupcakes next to the duck pond. Yum! Thank you to Lucy & co. from Love Lane Vintage for a cracking day out.


Monday 17 June 2013

Bridal Wedding Lingerie Fox & Rose

You'll get 20% OFF Fox & Rose Bridal today by using the code: BRIDALBLISS. 

Silk chiffon robe by Jenny Packham, available at Fox & Rose

A fellow bride-to-be asked me to write about wedding underwear. So far I've swerved this topic because I think I'm a little embarrassed by it.

I'm not the sort of girl who can walk, head held high, into Ann Summers and buy transparent undies. I even struggle with the underwear department in M&S! On a recent visit to Victoria's Secret I was mortified when a crimson-faced man came up to me, apologetic yet desperate, and laden with a confection of lingerie sets to ask which colour I would choose because I had 'the same colouring as his girlfriend'. I picked the fuchsia, wished him well, and ran.

But that's not to say I don't like underwear. On the contrary, the simple knowledge that you're wearing something beautiful underneath your clothes can make you feel fabulous. I resolved this year to endeavour to wear lovely underwear every day - much to my fiancé's delight. Of course that hasn't quite happened as it's not cheap to do, but I'm getting there with the help of my favourite stockist, Fox & Rose.

On your wedding day, you're likely to be wearing the most exquisite dress you'll ever wear and it is crucial therefore to treat yourself to some equally luxurious lingerie. I've selected my favourites:

Feel sexy and elegant in this delicate, vintage, made-to-order Love Me Bra and Briefs set by Shell Belle Couture, £188
Another offering from Shell Belle. Exquisite Tease Bra and Briefs, Fox & Rose £153

For ultimate va-va-voom, construct a divinely feminine shape in the Raphaella corset by Agent Provocateur, £495

Claire Pettibone's Heirloom collection is stunning and well worth considering. If you're looking in the UK, contact 020 8297 1188;;


Feminine with a touch of vintage inspiration, Claire Pettibone's designs are timeless and guaranteed to make you feel extra special.

Don't forget you'll get 20% OFF Fox & Rose Bridal today by using the code: BRIDALBLISS.


Bridal Weight Wedding Diet

Reader, I’ve gained weight.

While other brides around me are panicking and stressing and booking extortionately priced sessions with scary personal trainers, I find myself in a blissful cake-eating cocoon.

This is somewhat perplexing, so I’ve been theorising about possible causes of this new and unwelcome development. Here they are:

a)      The weather has been rubbish so I’m still in thermals when I should be in shorts.

b)      Work is exhausting.

c)      Conversely, I’m lazy.

d)      I’m in that dreaded stage of ‘comfortable’ having successfully ensnared a fiancé.

e)      I’m a little bit frightened of all things bridal.

Obviously my fiancé hopes it isn’t undesirable option d as that would make me a rather scary marriage prospect: trap doors hidden behind lacy lingerie.

But theories aside, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve gained weight and that, according to every bridal magazine and blog out there, this is apparently the opposite of what I should be doing.

Admittedly, I still have a year and a half to turn this around, but what if I don’t? Okay, I can’t see myself careering off into a bucket of lard, but I had always imagined I’d be ‘svelte’ on my wedding day, and now I’m just not sure I have it in me.
(c) Shane Diet Resorts

You know when you walk down the road and you see those women who look polished? The ones who, you imagine, have an impressive (but not too stressful to cause premature ageing) career; Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe (and friends); a fabulously handsome and stonkingly rich partner; parents' holiday home in the south of France; and the metabolism of an eleven year old. Well, dear reader, I confess I always thought I'd be one of them.

But I'm not sure I could be further from that point, and I think secretly I worry that I'll look like a little girl playing as a bride on my wedding day. What if my hair doesn't shine? What if I don't have a flat tummy? What if I don't have 'bridal biceps'? Whenever I get dressed up to go out, no matter how much time and effort I've put into getting ready, as soon as I get onto the tube I feel like Worzel Gummidge.

Somewhat perplexed, I visited a friend and fellow bride-to-be who is getting hitched this summer.She and her fiancé joined a gym earlier in the year with all the best intentions, but they only managed three trips. Now, with less than two months to the elusive goal of ‘sveltivity’, they’ve given up - happily. Yet to look at them, they look like a 'made it' couple.

But it takes serious nerve to turn your back on the 'bridal weight loss plan'. I typed those very words into Google and got a staggering 41,500,000 hits. Words such as 'buff brides' and promises that entering your married life in a smaller dress size is the key to a long and happy marriage filled my screen. And grooms aren't immune either.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not advocating stuffing your face with cake and sitting on the settee all day. Personally, I'm an active size 10, but I haven't set foot in a gym since I was 20. Instead my fiancé and I go on day trips; we run; we go for walks around the park after work. 

A lot of this is down to self perception. I think that on your wedding day you need to feel like the happiest version of yourself. Be honest with yourself and play to your strengths: don't wear a strapless dress if it doesn't suit you; don't wear a fish-tail design if you're uncomfortable in it; if your back is your best feature then wear a backless dress; if you have a pert bum then show it off Pippa Middleton style. And no matter what - DO wear supportive underwear. There's no way I'm paying £50 per head for a delicious meal and only eating 2 mouthfuls of it because I'm nervous about a protruding tum.
And remember that ultimately, the people you really care about will tell you you're the most beautiful bride in the world. And those who don't can sod off.

Monday 3 June 2013

Mother of the bride wedding outfits dresses hats different stylish unusual creative unique

The other week when chatting to my mum, the subject of wedding outfits came up and, in particular, the disappointing and uninspiring standard-issue Mother-of-the-Bride uniform. We’ve all seen it: pastel shades in polyester and silk under matching box jackets. Snooze.
Fashion for women - specifically mothers - has changed and, thanks for the most part to celebrities, there is no longer the prescribed notion of what a 50-something woman should and shouldn’t wear. Hooray! But when it comes to weddings, even the most stylish of women seem to tend to play safe and opt for the twinset.
So, I am launching my one woman campaign against the unimaginative. Here are some dos and don’ts to guide you:
  • Buy something you will be able to wear again;
  • Buy something you’ll feel comfortable in;
  • Look to celebrities such as Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver, Meryl Streep and Sharon Stone for inspiration;
  • Choose a colour that suits you;
  • Consider buying a midi coat in velvet or silk for added elegance.
  • Buy a twinset uniform because you feel that’s what you should wear;
  • Be afraid to try something different, but do have someone take posery photographs of you in the outfit in various light conditions to make sure it looks right;
  • Avoid the hat. The hat is a crucial element and will finish off the outfit. Consider a good quality hire shop if you don’t want to buy one.
Organising a wedding can be an emotional time for the Mother-of-the-Bride, so don’t forget to treat yourself. Brides: don’t be selfish - take time out to take your mums to a spa or go away for the weekend and spend some quality time together. Go shopping for the outfit together – I can’t wait to go with my mum. I think I might actually be more excited about her dress than I am about mine!
The dresses below offer options for a range of tastes and budgets. The hats are all from which, while expensive, should offer plenty inspiration. More Mother of the Bride fashion here.

mother of the bride dress

Judy Bentinck £595 Rossellini

mother of the bride dress

Balenciaga Jonquille 1964 edition silk dress, £3,850

mother of the bride dress

MaxMara Hilde Dress £520

mother of the bride dress

Invitation Confetti Dress, Hobbs £149
mother of the bride dress

Cornflower Dorothy Fit and Flare Dress, Phase Eight £160

mother of the bride dress

Jane Bailey Hema Boater £355

mother of the bride dress

MaxMara Espero Dress £320

mother of the bride dress

Rocha. John Rocha Black laser cut shift dress £75.00

mother of the bride dress

mother of the bride dress

Monica Tulle Dress Coast £250

mother of the bride dress

Coast Oleta Bandeau Dress £175
mother of the bride dress

Lace Shift Dress £79 M&Co

mother of the bride dress

Isabelle by Nerida Fraiman £240

MaxMara Ciro Dress, £315 Harrods

mother of the bride dress

Debut Pink Waterfall dress, Debenhams £85

mother of the bride dress

Gina Foster, £530 Primula
mother of the bride dress

Collette by Collette Dinnigan Portobello Cotton Lace Dress £355
mother of the bride dress

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Alto Draped Crepe Dress £250

mother of the bride dress

Nerida Fraiman £480, Krissy
mother of the bride dress

DVF Bec Stretch-silk dress £315
mother of the bride dress

DKNY Stretch Lace Dress £263

mother of the bride dress

Invitation Adeline Dress £229 Hobbs

mother of the bride dress
Olivia Roat Millinery Mira £285

MaxMara Pianoforte Avori dress, £1,135

mother of the bride dress

Jacquard Print Prom Dress with Belt, Marks and Spencer £89

mother of the bride dress

Justine Bradley-Hill, £320 Rose

Taffeta Prom Dress £295 Jigsaw

mother of the bride dress

Rochester Invitation Dress, Hobbs £199

mother of the bride dress

Anglomania, Floral-print Daisy dress, £390

Thank you, Mam.