On 90’s chic, florals, chiffon and ruffles
Last year my best friend got married. It was a wonderful day, full of love and hope, after months of lockdowns and dullness. Italy doesn’t do bridesmaids, peach dresses, fascinators and hen do’s, so the choice of the dress to wear at your best friend’s wedding rests entirely upon yourself. Obviously, you don’t want to wear white (nor black, for that matter). Other than that, the sky is the limit, really.
After much research of my favourite shops, feeling no thrills nor heartbreaking love for any of the mostly shapeless frocks of this season, I started looking at my own occasion wardrobe. The eternal dilemma – can I rewear something that I wore to someone else’s wedding? “YES, you can, even if it is your best friend’s wedding”, my loving husband explained to me, while wearing the suit that he sported to countless weddings ( including his own). Yes of course I am all for sustainability – that’s all I am writing about after all, right?? But there is always that stupid, niggling thought at the back of my mind, that a very special occasion requires a new outfit. What a load of crap. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why go through countless, unflattering fitting rooms and bored shop assistants, rather than just going for a loved, tried and trusted dress? Why do we feel this pressure of needing something new, when we already have plenty?
My current occasion capsule wardrobe consists of four, very special and very beautiful dresses. I have worn them, in rotation, to several weddings and other special occasions. I love them to bits, but I am human, after all, and I thought I was getting bored with them. However, after my better half’s (not so) subtle scolding, I caught myself, just before clicking ‘go to basket’ on the John Lewis webpage. I took out my dresses and tried them on again. I still loved them all, and even if they are several years old, I still feel fabulous in them. I eventually went for the one dress I hadn’t worn much recently. This is actually one of my mum’s old dresses, which she had altered to fit me better. She bought this to wear at one of my dad’s big birthday’s parties, and I still remember watching her getting ready and thinking she looked like a princess ( hey, I was nine, princesses at that age were my highest fashion icons).
The dress is a floral fit and flare chiffon number, with a pattern of large red roses. Initially it had as many ruffles as an Italian designer in the early nineties could wish for, but after subtle alterations, my mum’s seamstress magically adapted it to a less ruffly version of itself, while still maintaining its glorious 90s chic. I wore it with black strappy sandals, a black little handbag, and a cropped jacket (also a hand me down). This outfit was fun, chic, sustainable, and comfortable enough to withstand an Italian wedding lunch and a night of dancing (socially distanced, of course). What more do you need? So before frantically rushing to buy the umpeteenth ‘occasion’ outfit, do your wallet and your planet a big favour. Check your wardrobe, or/and your mum’s/friends/sister’s wardrobes. I bet there already are tons of dresses dying to be taken out for another spin.