Ashley Turner is the blogger behind Pink Julep Abroad. At SalesGossip we love reading Ashley’s Daily Style posts, so we decided to set her a challenge – to style up 1 dress for 5 different summer events without giving us a serious case of dress deja vu…
It’s that time of year again when we’re all scrambling around wondering what on earth we’ll wear to the various weddings, parties and events that are quickly filling up our summer schedules! Summer socialising is very expensive for most of us – the wedding and hostess gifts, event tickets and transportation costs alone are a hefty weight on the old bank balance. Add an outfit for each of those events to the list and bankruptcy seems imminent, making summer more stressful than fun.
With a little planning and creativity, you can get through most of the season with one dress by changing the accessories to create a new look each time. Now, I know what you’re thinking – outfit repeater! Don’t sweat it, we’ve all seen Kate Middleton recycling her dresses with different accessories for everything from royal appearances to the weddings of her friends. If it’s good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge, it’s good enough for the rest of us!
Start with deciding on the dress that will work for all or most of the occasions you have lined up. Unless your diary is loaded with a lot of black tie events, you should be fine with a cocktail dress or even a bright suiting dress. Try to find something interesting, but in a simple cut that has sleeves or at least straps. Some religious buildings and events won’t allow bare shoulders and you don’t want to be embarrassed – it’s also great if your frock is suitable for the office so you don’t have to trek home before after work cocktail parties.
Five examples of summer soirees you might need to get ready for are a daytime wedding, an evening wedding reception, a garden party, a cocktail party and Ascot. Surprisingly enough, you can indeed make one dress work for all of these events and the one I’ve chosen is an interesting frock from Reiss.
This dress is perfect! It’s interesting, flattering and neutral. Also, some will frown on wearing either white or black to a wedding, but this is beige and broken up with the black nicely, so it’s absolutely appropriate. It has a capped sleeve, so it’s dress code suitable and it’s simple shape is not only flattering – it also allows you to layer shrugs, jackets or cardigans over it to mix up your look. At £149, this frock is not cheap, but it’s a great investment that will pay for itself in compliments. Think of it this way, if you wear it to 5 events, it’s only £30 per wear and you’ve got a classic dress that you’ll enjoy year after year.
Look 1: A Day at the Races
Should you be lucky enough to attend Ascot, you’ll need to be prepared. This is the time to splurge if you can afford to, on very classy, well-made accessories. When I selected this dress from Reiss, the first thing I did was check up on this year’s dress code regulations for the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, which are a bit more strict that the other areas at the famous races, but appropriate for all people in attendance. When in doubt just remember: It’s better to be overdressed than the alternative. For those in the Royal Enclosure, hats covering at least a 4 inch diameter on the head are required. Dresses must have sleeves or straps at least one inch thick and should be an appropriate length described as just above the knee or longer, though trouser suits are also permitted. Don’t make the mistake of covering a strapless dress with a shrug – it won’t pass. Even though jackets, shrugs and boleros are permitted, the dress underneath must meet the dress code requirements.
When attending Ascot, heels are a must! You may be standing for quite a while, so opt for a platform pair which will offer more comfort than other styles. Keep jewellery classic – pearls or diamonds are perfect. If you want to keep it interesting, opt for a more fashionable style such as the earrings above made of black diamonds and pearls. A cocktail ring will balance out the earrings, but don’t go too big with your ring on this occasion – it’s a little tacky for Ascot. A gold metallic clutch gives the look a pop while remaining classy.
The hat is tricky since not everyone looks great in the same hat. I prefer large brim hats for these types of events – they are classic and beautiful. If your dress is a straight, slim style, a big hat balances out the shape nicely. Of course you can always take a bit more risk with the hat – people do – but don’t be surprised if you receive the same reaction Princess Eugenie got with her mad hat at the Royal Wedding. Keep it classy and your mind will be on the good time you’re having instead of wondering what everyone is saying about the hat you’re not quite sure about.
1. Reiss Alexie Dress, £149
2. Large Bow Hat by Nigel Rayment
3. Astley Clarke Pompom Pearl Earrings, £875
4. Astley Clarke Black Diamond Pillow Ring, £1,150
5. Diane Von Furstenberg Metallic Tonda Clutch, £301
6. Yves St. Laurent Trib Too Contrast Toe-Cap Courts, £550
See how Ashley styles up the Reiss Alexie dress for four more summer events soon…