The Brief: The outfit would be worn to an early June wedding, Ascot and another wedding in August.
- Jo couldn't find the matching bag on the website where she had found the shoes, but knew that she wanted one to match exactly if I could find one.
- As the shoes were black and white striped, Jo wanted a red dress as she didn't feel she could wear either black or white to a wedding.
- She wanted to wear either a hat or a fascinator with the outfit.
As the shoes were from Dune I was sure there would be a bag to match but after double checking their website and finding Jo was right, there wasn't one, I was convinced she would have to go for a plain clutch bag, but luckily I did find the matching one she was longing for, online at Debenhams.
Kaliko Saucer £50 from Debenhams. Drop Earrings No1 by Jenny Packham £20 at Debenhams. Francesca Dress from Phase Eight £120 (also available from House of Fraser). Bow Detail Court Shoe from Dune £85. Stripe Clutch Bag from Dune at Debenhams £55.
With three events and a limited budget, Jo was looking for just one dress to take her through summer and beyond and with the red dress I chose from Phase Eight I felt it was something that would see her stylishly through summer as well as many a christmas party if worn with metallic accessories and Jo already owns a pair of silver strappy sandals and a matching bag which have only been worn twice and formed part of an outfit I chose for her last summer when she had another wedding to attend. The dress would also look fab with a sequin jacket or a black cropped faux fur jacket and black court shoes for a winter event or just team it with nude heels for a night out at any time of year. I am in no doubt that a plain red dress will be a worthwhile purchase for any womans wardrobe.
I opted for a cross between a hat and a fascinator and the headband will make it feel more secure when being worn. Jo is blonde, but if a brunette had come to me with the same brief, I would have chosen red headgear. I am a huge fan of massive hats but they can swamp petite ladies and Jo didn't want anything too big. I also like a big flower corsage for those who shy away from hats and they can also be worn around your wrist if you opt for a sophisticated "updo".
If you are planning on buying one look for a multitude of functions, play with your accessories and hair styles to create a range of different looks - add either a tailored black jacket or a silver sequinned one if the weather is chilly. Swap the stripe clutch for a plain one in either red or black, do the same with the shoes. For the three events mentioned, for one wear your hair straight, then curl it, then wear it up. Swap your hat for a jewelled headband or simple large flower.
It wasn't the ideal way to choose an outfit and to be honest the shoes wouldn't have cropped up on my wedding guest chic radar, but she had fallen for them hook, line and sinker, and although I don't normally base my outfits around a pair of shoes, if you ever fall head over heels for a pair (excuse the pun) you don't have a lot of choice.
Jo has text me to say she loved everything and has ordered it all, now lets hope she remembers to get me a photo this year!
If you have a bigger budget, the silk jersey Alexander McQueen dress at £495 from net-a-porter makes a great alternative as well as a great investment.
“If you need help finding an outfit for a summer invitation, have a look at the page or don't be afraid to email me!”