Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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What to wear to a winter wedding 2014

We all know I’m a fan of a good dress. Any time that I’m shopping online or in the stores, I always head straight to the dress section and simply cannot resist a well-fitting, figure-flattering dress. There are so many different lovely styles you can choose from and they work well in a variety of situations, from nights out clubbing to formal work socials, the dress is the perfect opinion for any situation. Now when it comes to weddings it normally pretty set in stone what the bride and her bridesmaids are going to be wearing, but this begs the more difficult question of what should you wear as a guest? The answer is simple really, a dress of course! There are a number of different options to go for and numerous other things you can add to your outfit to make it look even better, just don’t out-do the bride, haha!

Keep it simple

Everyone knows that the little black dress has been a staple in many people’s wardrobes for a great number of years and for good reason. The versatility of the dress makes it a must-have fashion item, it’s easy to dress up for a formal work event or business attire and is just as easy to dress down for a casual night out with friends. When it comes to weddings the little black dress is a safe choice that will always look good, just add some ornate jewellery and a clutch bag to complete the outfit. The contrast of the between your black dress and the brides’ white dress will make you look even better, and help make the bride stand out even more, which is definitely important at their wedding. I really love my midi wrap-dress below for weddings because it’s more than just a little black dress – the floral pattern really makes it a dress for all seasons and it’s a very demure, classy style. Just remember to not wear a dress that is too short or low-cut and make sure you look presentable as you don’t want to ruin the wedding photographs!

A LBD & my favourite wedding dress from House of Fraser

Jewellery

The bride has numerous tools like the budget trackers, seating planners and guest managers, all of which are available at Wedding Site, that help her add the finishing touches to her wedding. Similarly, jewellery is one of the many extra tools you have available to you to add those ever so important finishing touches to your own outfit. The use of jewellery can add so much to an outfit if used correctly and with a wedding it is normal to go all out with necklaces, ear rings, bracelets and rings. Remember to compliment your clothes with your jewellery, choose a small necklace and a more ornate bracelet if you’re wearing a medium or high-neck dress with no sleeves, or go for a bigger necklace and some dangly ear-rings if you opt for a more low-cut, thin and long dress.

Complete your outfit with a big coat

One of the most important parts of any winter wedding outfit is some form of jacket or coat to accompany your evening wear. The winter period is a favourite for weddings due to the tranquil scenery and seasonal festivities but, of course, the weather much colder, so it is important to wrap up warm to be ready whatever the weather. A nude tailored coat is ideal choice for any smart occasion and neutral colours will work well with any outfit, giving you the freedom to experiment with your choice of dress and shoes. Pastel colours are also ideal for weddings and a classy coat will keep you warm and comfortable during the day while letting the rest of your outfit shine later in the evening.

Turn heads with a midi dress

Obviously it is important to not steal the show from the bride on the biggest day of her life but surely you can you can turn a few heads? Midi dresses are becoming increasingly popular as guest attire for a winter wedding, granting the perfect combination of boldness and sophistication, with the added warmth that the extra length gives you. During the day accompany the dress with a chic jacket or cardigan. A bright colour really suits the long, flowing style of the dress and will make your dancing look even better (and let’s be honest, some of us need all the help we can get!).

A fabulous midi dress & I can dance all night in these peep-toe wedges!

Wear some hard working heels

A part of your outfit that is just as important as the dress are the shoes that will be keeping you up for the entire day and night. A classic style of shoe and comfort are the most important things to consider as you will be standing during the ceremony, mingling during the reception and dancing the night away. Open-toe heels are always a good choice at weddings, looking chic yet smart and sophisticated if paired with a nice dress, also giving your feet room to breathe with dancing. Obviously whatever feels comfortable for you is the best thing to go for, just remember as the ideal wedding guest you will have to dance no matter how much your feet are hurting!


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Styling one tweed dress for work, casual & party time!

I have a lot of clothes yet I hardly ever have anything to wear. In fact, I probably wear the same 5 or 6 outfits over and over again and rest of my clothes continue to hang in pristine condition in my wardrobe. Does this sound familiar? So many women claim to wear just 20% of their clothes 80% of the time and I certainly agree with this statistic. At the start of the year I wrote about making the most of the existing items in my wardrobe and although I’ve tried my best, I just can’t help buying new things and hoping that this will be the one dress that will do me for every occasion. And that’s where my new tweed dress comes in.

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Dress from Bonmarche

The dress is designed by David Emanuel (yes, he who created Princess Diana’s wedding dress) for Bonmarche and it’s a lovely grey tweed with a little stretch in it. Just the right midi length for me, it is very figure flattering and I am always happy to have sleeves on a dress! It comes with a skinny black belt and I’ve been wearing it just as it is for a while now. But I wanted to make it work harder for me so I’ve come up with three more ways to wear this dress so that it can be used for work, evening wear and for casual days off – and that’s where we’ll start.

I’ve decided that my casual look should include layers of textures so I’ve combined tweed, with tweed, with tweed. Yes, this is a particularly autumnal look and feels rather ‘countryside’ when I wear it! It’s definitely a cosy combination; I’ve added my tweed jacket and wrapped a soft checked scarf in shades of grey, beige and pink around the neck to tie in all the colours and textures. Even though the jacket is a smart shape, the combination of all three elements makes the outfit more casual and I’d wear a pair of knee-high boots with it during the autumn.

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Jacket from Joules and scarf from Next

My work outfit has been created by simply adding a white shirt underneath the dress. I’m sure everyone has a plain white shirt in their wardrobe so I’ve been able to create this look without any added expense. It makes use of the belt that came with the dress and I’ve added my staple black handbag to complete this smart outfit. I rarely need to be this dressed up for work unless I’m going to a meeting so it’s good to be able to create a neat look without having to invest in a whole work-wear wardrobe. I would wear thick dark tights and patent brogues to finish off this look for Autumn/Winter. David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-9 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-10 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-11

Shirt from New Look and handbag from St. Elizabeth Hospice charity shop

Finally, I wanted to be able to wear this dress for nights out and I’ve turned it into a pencil dress by simply adding a thick elasticated belt around the waist and adding a couple of glitzy accessories in the form of this studded clutch bag and black floral necklace. This shows just how easy it would be to transform this dress from a daytime casual or work look into evening wear just by adding a couple of low-cost accessories. I would wear killer heels with this outfit and a pair of seamed tights to emphasise the 40s/50s wiggle-dress shape created by the belt. David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-13 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-14 David Emanuel tweed dress styled 4 ways-16

Clutch and necklace from Apricot and belt from Oxfam Online charity shop

Let me know what you think of these looks and if you can think of any other ways that I can create a different look with the same dress, please get in touch! Leave me a comment below or chat with me on Twitter @Cassiefairy.

Outfit choices for the Cosmo Blog Awards-3


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My outfit for the Cosmo Blog Awards

I mentioned last week just how relaxed I’d been about what to wear for the Cosmo Blog Awards and that I’d kind of left everything to the last minute. Well, no sooner than I’d published that same blog post on Tuesday Shoesday I started to feel a little bit fluttery about the whole thing. What was I thinking? I’m never this disorganised and I always like to know well in advance what I’d like to wear to the special events I go to. So why oh why had I turned this into a last minute scramble for an outfit?! Maybe I didn’t actually believe that I was going to the Cosmo Blog Awards – let me just say it again – I’ve been invited to the Cosmopolitan Magazine Blog Awards as a finalist. Nope, that certainly doesn’t sound like it’s referring to me. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’ve been putting it to the back of my mind. Like I didn’t really think it was happening…

Well, the blog awards are tomorrow. And I am going to be there, no matter what. So I’d better pick out an outfit to wear. So far I’ve got the shoes sorted (as you might have seen in my blog post last week) and now my accessories can be ticked off the list too. I’ve decided to go for classic black but I don’t want to blend into the background too much , so I’ve plumped for accessories with a hint of gold with this sparkly flower necklace and cuff from Apricot. I spotted them online and in all honestly I wasn’t sure that the accessories would work well together but thankfully I was very wrong! And let me just say that the cuff is even more gorgeous in real life than in its online photos (usually it’s the other way round with photos of me haha) and now I want to buy more of them in different colours.

Outfit choices for the Cosmo Blog Awards-3

I have got my favourite 15 denier Charnos tights from UKTights which come in a pack of two so I will have a spare pair if I get a ladder during the course of the evening. My studded handbag was from the Apricot sale too, which has a long strap that can be detached to make it into an oversized clutch bag, so it’ll be good for all eventualities. I plan to carry it as a clutch with my phone and make-up tucked away in the inside pockets, and there’s plenty of room for the bloggers’ essentials: a camera and business cards! I like to have the option to wear my bag across my body if I’m dancing so I’m pleased to have the longer strap available if the occasion to bust some moves crops up!

So, on to the actual outfit options: I have a list of my top three dresses for the event and I have a definite choice of jacket so I’ll start with that. This Therapy blazer from House of Fraser is my new jacket for autumn/winter 2014. I think it’ll be great to wear throughout the season because it’s not too smart – the rope/cable knit design embossed into the jersey fabric gives it a cardigan feel – but it’s also not too casual to wear for an evening out because of the smart shape and tuxedo-like lapels. So  it’s best of both really –  somewhere in the middle between casual and smart – exactly where I like to be! The blog awards will be it’s first outing but I know I will get a lot of wear out of it over the season.

In terms of dresses, I’ve gone from none to 4 in the space of a couple of days. Firstly, I found this Therapy dress from House of Fraser in a butterfly pattern. I love  the fabric and the pretty design even though the shape is completely different to anything I’d usually wear! It makes me feel really sophisticated and I like the longer length on me. I prefer to wear dresses with sleeves so this is ideal but I stopped wearing wrap-front clothing a few years ago when I kept needing to sew them up to make sure that nothing fell out, so I am yet to decide whether this is the one yet.

I also fell in love with this red chiffon dress from Apricot as soon as I tried it on and it’s definitely more the kind of dress shape that I go for – I love a good tea-dress! The sleeves are a great shape and I like the fact that it has a coordinating belt with it – I find that wearing a contrasting black belt cuts me in half and makes me look even shorter and stumpier than I am! The length is good – almost knee length – and the fabric moves nicely, which would be perfect for dancing in. In fact, it’s ideal for all the 1940s dances I’ve been going to recently to practice my swing dancing, so I will be getting a lot of wear out of this dress over the coming season, no matter what! I love red for festive events but now that I’ve chosen so many black accessories I’m a little worried that I might look a bit halloweeny in it, but we’ll see when I try the whole look together!dorothy perkins dresses

Finally, I have a choice of two Dorothy Perkins dresses, this blue crepe dress – which I think would look great with black accessories – and this floral fit ‘n’ flare dress. I love how these dresses fit me and can always rely on Dorothy Perkins’ sizing so I was able to order these online and know that they would be the perfect fit. The trouble is that this makes my decision even more difficult! I think that the shape of the floral dress is particularly flattering and I even quite like the shorter length – it makes me feel all teenage again!

I’m sure that I will have made a decision by the end of the day, which usually involves trying on the entire outfit and taking photos like Cher in Clueless. You’ll be able to see what outfit I choose tomorrow – I’m sure that I’ll be tweeting photos while I’m at the Cosmo Blog Awards! And wish me luck, eek!


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Googie style & my new dress

Have you every found yourself drawn to a piece of furniture, a homeware accessory or an item of clothing but you have no idea why? Even though it might be the tackiest, most brash, weirdest thing you’ve ever seen, you can’t take your eyes off it and actually kinda want it? I’ve always taken an interest in the concept of personal taste and why we choose the things we do for our homes and wardrobes and this week I’ve been re-watching artist Grayson Perry’s documentary ‘All in the best possible taste’ online, Of course, I’ve found myself yearning for all the things that good taste dictates that we shouldn’t want. Am I an individual, then? One of my favourite things that the artist says is ‘we all like to think we’re individual, that is until we meet someone just a individual as we are’. That sums up the concept of taste perfectly for me and it totally explains why we have the urge to own things that express our own personalities.jetsons-googie

The Jetsons – “home of the future”

That said, this summer I’ve found myself being even more drawn to bright colours and kitsch designs. I’ve been pinning tacky images all over my Pinterest boards and I can’t get enough of 50s and 60s space-age design. If you read back over my blog posts, you’ll see that I’m a big fan of mid-century modern and I’ve even decorated my home to pay homage to this era. But a loud pattern and a splash of garish orange isn’t enough for me anymore. Instead, I’ve discovered Googie and there’s no going back!

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The Googie style of architecture arrived after the end of WWII and demonstrated opulence in it’s size and grandeur, and showed off the optimistic nature of the generation as they watched the space race unravel. If you imagine the Jetsons’ (yes, I’ve been watching the cartoon online too..!) space station home, you’ve got it! That’s the style that I love even though ‘serious’ architects describe it as ‘frivolous or crass’.

The Googie style originated from Southern California and the bright colours and large flying-saucer and boomerang shapes are key elements of this design. I think it’s an architectural style that doesn’t take itself too seriously and I’d love to visit some of the remaining examples of buildings designed in this space-age image. In the meantime, I’ve found myself searching out Googie design in other parts of my life; clothing and homewares, and I found this dress in the ASOS sale.

The pattern contains retro clocks and the atomic designs that are so popular in Googie designs. I would definitely call this patter retro-inspired rather than vintage. The dress was described as grey but is actually more of a lilac shade, combined with bright yellow, baby blue and mint green, so it’s even more Googie than I thought it would be when I ordered it! I wore it the dress on a day out and although I at first felt a little garish, the bright colours and playful pattern lifted my spirits and I couldn’t help but smile as I wore it. Yes, I’m Judy Jetson and I don’t care who knows it!

 

Okay, I know that this style is a little more 60s than I’m used to and I’m not sure that I’ll get much wear out of it at the 40s events and lindy hop dances I go to, but it’s an easy-to-wear nod to the mid-century and reminds me how much I adore Googie style every time I open my wardrobe.

art and photography exhibition at ipswich town hall-8


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Rust & butterflies ~ the perfect combination for an exhibition

art and photography exhibition at ipswich town hall-8

This week I went to the opening of a fabulous new exhibition at the Ipswich town hall art gallery, featuring the work of artist Mandy Christmas. The exhibition featured a stunning display of photographic works featuring countryside and coastal views along with some simply astonishing up-close shots of wildlife. Even the artist’s exhibition sign was a work of art; using a slice of a rusting old beach hut door as the backdrop for the Hunter – Gatherer exhibition title.

The beach hut door certainly set the tone for the exhibition – large-scale images focused on texture and moody colours, taking an abstract look at natural forms, shadows and decaying materials. These images contrasted rather pleasingly with a series of bright, lush, lively wildlife photography. Mandy Christmas explained how she photographed her surroundings on a series of walks – hence the Hunter-Gatherer title – and often found nature and decay living side-by-side. It was also really interesting to see a photo of the artist at work, taking a photo of a seagull – it showed that she wasn’t using a zoom lens to capture the gull’s cheeky face, but was actually crawling on the beach with the camera inches away from the bird! The artist’s patience in photographing birds, bugs and animals has clearly paid off as an entire wall of the exhibition is dedicated to her close-up wildlife images.

My dress is from House of Fraser, thermal tights from UK Tights, shoes from New Look

I was completely mesmerised by one of the artworks in particular; an image of a smouldering forest fire. This photograph stopped me in my tracks and transported me straight to the location of the fire. I worried about being in a forest that could potentially ignite and I imagined how it would feel to be surrounded by fire and cut-off in the woods. I admired the artist even more so for putting herself in possible danger in order to take the photo whereas I would have definitely been running in the opposite direction! Despite feeling uneasy while looking at the piece, I was drawn back to it time and again, and really enjoyed looking at the dusky colours and charred shapes.

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After a thorough look around the exhibition, hubby and I sat down with a cup of tea to take in the surroundings of the magnificent town hall building and I took some snaps. Please forgive the quality of my images; I forgot to take my camera with me and snapped these photos on my phone but I hope you get can an idea of the exhibition and the building as a whole.

I will definitely be visiting the gallery again and will be sure to report back on any other exhibitions I see over the coming months. Please get in touch if you’ve seen any fantastic artwork recently and please do recommend any galleries you think I’d be interested in – it’s always great to have new places to explore!