Dressing Up

Do you want to know what I’m wearing? 

[This isn’t going anywhere dodgy – promise!] 
Right at this moment I’m clad in a pale blue evening dress. It’s Saturday night, I’m watching X Factor and I’m wearing what’s effectively a ball gown. 
Here’s the thing. Life has far too few opportunities to dress up properly. Sadly, we no longer live in the era (or have the money required for the lifestyle) of dressing for dinner. Parties at which ‘proper’ evening dress is required are few and far between; cocktail dresses can get a regular airing at weddings and fancy functions, but floor-length dresses are usually reserved for balls and concert dress. Sadly, I haven’t had an invitation to a ball in almost a decade and my last black-tie concert was 5 years ago – the only time the dress I’m currently wearing was worn. 
You’re now gaining a random insight into my life. Sometimes, when I have the flat to myself and get a sudden flash of inspiration, I pull my fancy clothes out of the wardrobe and try them on. Partly, it’s to check whether they fit; partly it’s to remind myself what they look like; and partly it’s to imagine that I have some swanky event to wear them to. I don’t think any girl grows out of the childhood love of dressing up… 
So, I have a campaign. I want to bring back fancy events to which such clothes can be worn. Where men will be wearing black-tie – an outfit that never fails to make its wearer better looking than they are in civvies. Hope is on the horizon, I do at least have an invite to a 1930’s themed dinner next month (the continuing roll of 30th birthdays) which will require both fancy outfit and hair. But nothing at which the blue dress could be worn – so if someone would like to organise a ball I’d be most grateful. 
Failing that, I may have to simply wear these dresses on normal days – so I can get my money’s worth out of them. Floor-length dresses might be a tad tricky on the tube’s escalators, but I’m sure I’d get the hang of it. Who’s with me? 
I couldn’t really leave this post without a photo of the dress, could I? 
It’s not a great picture of the dress, but it’s a favourite because it tells a story – though not one that anyone bar maybe 2 readers will get. 
Plus, I’m rather smug in the realisation that the dress now fits a lot better than it did then. 

Today I found my wedding dress (+ photographic update)

No, I’m not getting married.
No, I’m not a freak who goes wedding dress shopping without even having a man on the horizon.
No, I haven’t actually bought a wedding dress.

This morning I was sorting through my ‘cupboard of junk’ (a large walk-in closet) in order to make space for new Flatmate’s belongings and the stuff I’m looking after for friend who’s moved to California. On the top shelf, right at the back, I spied a Fat Face carrier bag and pulled it out. Inside was something I’d totally forgotten I’d had – an absolutely vile 1970’s style wedding dress.

To explain how this came to be in the cupboard full of junk:
Three years ago, whilst me & my musical friends were recording an album [just thought I’d throw that factoid in there] a competition was held as to who could buy the best item in a charity shop for the least money. The winner was my friend Annie, who discovered a wedding dress for £1.

This was particularly appropriate as, at the time, we were at the beginning of the year of weddings – four of our circle of friends were getting married in the following months. Annie presented the dress to her sister (one of the brides-to-be), we all laughed, and thought nothing more about it.

When I got home from the recording, I opened my bag and – lo and behold – there was the wedding dress! I was mightily amused and fired off texts to various people to find out how it had got there. Turned out Annie had come up with the idea to hide it in my bag and my challenge was to pass it on to someone else.

I decided to keep it for the time being. My then flatmate had just got engaged and I thought the dress might be useful for her hen-night. So I stuffed it into a carrier bag and put on a shelf in the cupboard. And there it stayed…

So now I have a hideous dress and still need to pass it on to someone (ideally without their knowledge). Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I did try the dress on after discovering it this morning. It felt horrid and scratchy, didn’t fit and had a horrible neck – I’d have taken a photo, except I had pre-gym hair. (I’d try again now, but I have post-gym hair – maybe I’ll do it another time.)

Anyone want a wedding dress?

It’s been suggested that this post really isn’t complete without a photo of me in the thing – regardless of the state of my hair – so I’ve taken a few. Bear in mind that I couldn’t use the flash because of the mirror (hence the grainy quality) and please remember that the dress is truly hideous… (Oh and I added the hair accessory for extra bridal effect!)

And yeah, I thought I’d get all 70’s and play with some soft focus…
[I’ve also got a sneaking suspicion that my mother’s wedding photos have a lot of soft focus in them and a slightly similar dress.]

Of handbags and gladrags

Yesterday, my handbag (of the huge variety) told quite a story. Its contents (usual handbag stuff plus: folder of music, spare tights, make-up, glittery shoes & a bottle of red wine) spoke of performance, glamour and possible alcoholism – especially when a second bottle was added later on.

And what of my clothes?

At 8am, hurrying to the tube station the dressed-upness of my carol service outfit seemed totally out of place. In fact, the glances I got made me realise that I looked as though I was doing the walk of shame – albeit with fresher make-up and hair. It’s like when you have to leave early to get to a wedding and the rest of the world is in jeans whilst you’re clad in a pink cocktail dress…

Lunch was an amazing example of how to do Christmas dinner for 25 (and brilliant organisational skills in delegating tasks to the guests), but quite frankly, I was over-dressed. I’m self-conscious at the best of times, but put me in a dress (and blue tights – what was I thinking??), much sparkly eye make-up with curled hair and place me in a room full of people in ‘normal’ clothes – awkward. Do I want the people I met for the first time to think I’m the kind of girl who regularly wears a diamante headband in her hair? [Because I’m not – honest!]

In context, the clothes were perfect. It’s the rule for the carol services that you dress up, put on the bling – to quote the e-mail instructions: “And of course girls, bling bling bling – either silver, gold, blue or green!”. So dress up we did, and got our groove on…

As an aside, do you know what else makes me feel self-conscious?
Dancing.
Being filmed.

What happens when the two things happen to coincide?
One rather uncomfortable Liz, who grins and bears it for over four hours. Think I got away with it though – apparently I was one very smiley alto and the restricted stage space perhaps concealed my lack of moves. I’m going to try not to think about my face, on a large screen, for a long period of time…

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Yesterday:

Having a bit of a root-through my wardrobe (on a mission to find forgotten clothes and/or something silver to wear to a silver themed party on Friday), I noticed that the clothes rail was looking a tad precarious. So, I did what self-respecting girl would do – tried to fix it back in place without removing any of the clothes first.
Result? Rail falls out, clothes land in heap on the bottom of the wardrobe. Major malfunction.
It’s now fixed, but I’ve got to find a new place for the (rather heavy) storage device that had hung from the rail and contains all my underwear and socks. It’s amazingly useful, but I think too much for my piece of Ikea tat. Will have to rethink that one…
Today:

It’s been properly hot today (just under 30c) and therefore an excellent reason to wear this year’s favourite summer dress. Only problem with it is that its skirt can occasionally act like a parachute, inflating with hair – sometimes to the point of blowing the skirt right up. This is particularly an issue walking down stairs or going up escalators (the breeze at London Bridge station can be quite impressive).
Result? The use of my cross-body handbag to weigh down skirt on one side, whilst one arm holds down the front and the other the back.
Of course, thanks to the genius of cropped leggings this is not quite so much of an issue, but still counts as a malfunction!
On the subject of this dress, which I love dearly, I had the most bizarre comment about it from someone a couple of weeks back. Following a meeting, the guy I’d been talking with (who I also count as a friend) looked at my dress and said “nice dress – it’s very World War Two”. Now, as the dress is slightly tea-dress-esque and ‘utility’ length, I took him to mean that it’s style was reminiscent of the 1940’s. The two women I was with were initially impressed by this comment, and we asked why he felt it was WW2 – his response was that it was because it’s covered in poppies. So basically, my dress reminded him of people dying. Great.