I am many things, and a simple fashion gal is one of them. I don’t care what Miranda Priestley says – I want to wear florals for springtime. Winter is a long horrible parade of grey and I’m here to celebrate its demise, year after year, in some pastels and florals. I have an array of sleeveless dresses and tops and I CANNOT WAIT TO WEAR THEM. However, I acknowledge that I have chosen to live in Wellington, a city that embodies at least two definitions of cool (as in “damn, she’s cool” and “damn, that breeze is cool”). I also have a strong aversion to anything too girly-girl (I fear that curls + “fashion tits” + girly-girl = “oh look, that precious but strangely tall child has wandered away from her preschool” vibes) (in truth, the only time I would be described as “strangely tall”).
The solution is this dress, which I pre-ordered like the thirsty weirdo I am from Deryn Schmidt (I also pre-ordered a pair of effing rad pants which I am planning to wear to meetings in Auckland on Thursday because nothing says “I’m the cool kind of lawyer” like floral culottes). It is the perfect early Spring floral – easily winterised, a bright acidic colour to boost you through the last grey days, and has pockets. In an aside (so many asides in this post, I know) – these are the best pockets I’ve ever had on a dress. They’re inserted so perfectly that I actually didn’t even notice them at first. There’s zero disturbance to the seam. In other excellent design features, Deryn puts a really deep zip into the back of these dresses. The deeper the zip, the bigger the hole to step into, so there’s no risk that you’ll have to pull it over your head.
I wore this to Project Fashion’s runway show at the very beautiful, very mysterious (to me), Practical School of Philosophy in Aro Valley on 14 July. It was frigging cold outside, FRIGGING cold I say, so I was particularly pleased to have this wee bolero to pair up with the dress. First of all, I thought boleros were dead to me after my sixth form ball in 1999, but I accept I was deeply wrong. Second of all, please check that great neckline and the ace way it swings away from my body in the back like a peppy little cape. I felt v fancy. I had a small issue relating to very bruised legs due to a recent house cleaning binge, and it was cold as a witch’s tit, so I went for stockings. Pro tip: if sheer stockings make you feel like it’s time to lean into early dinners and an occasional exciting game of canasta, go for stay ups. Nothing cancels out the feeling of impending Gold Card ownership like a slight breeze around your upper thigh *winks*
Now, as previously canvassed, my body resembles nothing so much as a 14 year old boy, so I was overjoyed to learn that Deryn has introduced a size 6 into her range this year. In my experience, smaller New Zealand designers do not tend to vanity size, which means an 8 is truly an 8. I like this because I think it demonstrates these brands realise you are not an idiot, and so haven’t bothered to pander to disgusting body-image psychology that suggests you’ll buy something if you think you are a smaller size in it. However, I also don’t like it because *points at aforementioned fashion tits* the amount I spend on tailoring things and having sleeves taken up is murderville on my retirement savings. If you read my interview with Annabelle from Wilson Trollope, you’ll know that independent designers in New Zealand are also thinking about how to expand their ranges into bigger sizes, and frankly, I can’t wait for the day that I, Ms Fashion Tits, can buy the same dress as a woman in a size 20 (for example). Equal access to awesome design – bring it. Also would make outfitting bridesmaids about a billion times easier.
I subsequently wore this dress to work, with a black long sleeved top layered underneath instead of Monsieur Bolero (I’m saving him for fancy). It was a perfect dress for the office, with just the right combo of crisp lines and jazzy pattern/colour to allow me to go to a formal meeting without the “I’m wearing a corporate costume” feeling that I get from proper office wear. I can’t wait to wear it in summer with my black velvet peeptoe platforms for a bit of a retro vibe, and I can’t wait to layer a cropped black jumper over it, and wear it with my black ankle boots for a date night. Buying New Zealand designer clothes is not cheap – I realise this – but man, is it ever worth it when you find something you love. I also truly recommend pre-ordering, for two reasons. First up, you usually split the cost of the items between a deposit and then a final payment several months later, which is useful for managing the liquidity in whatever your equivalent to the Frivolous Things account is. Secondly, you order things for summer in the dead of winter (and vice versa), but well ahead of the seasonal surge of “inspiration” that I, at least, get every year around now. You have a clearer head, and haven’t been bombarded with new season advertising et cetera. Perfect.
The collection isn’t yet online, but if you’re keen on my dress then visit Deryn in person! She has two stores now, one in Petone and one in Wellington city, and for my out of town readers – either keep an eye on https://derynschmidt.co.nz/ or call Deryn and lock it in. This one is not going to hang about.