Summer is a much more social time for many of us, because really who wants to go out in horizontal driving rain and freezing cold? Nobody, but then who wants to go out in the sunshine and warmth and have a laugh? Pretty much everyone. As a result, there are more events in the summertime, so I decided to round up three looks on a spectrum from “v fancy indeed” to “reasonably casual but still at the level of fancy you’d expect from Megan”. Annabelle at Wilson Trollope was kind enough to let me borrow some beautiful pieces from her shop and samples of soon-to-be-released items, so I could have a play with mixing some new things in with second hand and vintage pieces, for a bright and beautiful approach to dressing up this summer.
V Fancy Indeed
Hello, and thank you so much for inviting me to your wedding/engagement party/Christmas party/fancy soiree. As we know, I’m fairly traditional in my love of a swishy skirt, but I also love a lot of colour and razzle dazzle. Thus - *gestures at outfit*
Pink and red have been a trendy combo for a little while now, and this Orchid skirt integrates this mixture (which was once a fashion no-no!) into a single print. I’ve teamed it with this red, striped mesh top that I picked up for $12 from Recycle Boutique and a classic red pump, and I’m particularly chuffed that the striped top picks up the stripe from the skirt.
A little woven clutch is a nice neutral counterpoint to the other flashy elements of the outfit, and then I just wrapped my hair up in this pretty silk scarf to give it a modern update on a hat (or fascinator). Apparently it can be a bit touch-and-go to wear red to a wedding, but I say exercise discretion. I can guarantee none of my friends would be bothered if I rolled out to their wedding in this – they’d just be bloody pleased I was there, comfortable, and ready to have a v good time. Having said that, my friends are all similar to me aka not down for a Full Princess Wedding Extravaganza, so I’m probably going to a local village hall or a brunch venue for any weddings they might organise. However, for more formal/fancy weddings, you could always bring out the pink in the skirt and dial down the accessories.
Since none of us are lunatics who buy beautiful skirts to wear only once, I also had a wee play around with this at home and can report back that it’s perfect for the office with a crisp white shirt and these same shoes and earrings.
Thank You For This Outdoor Event Opportunity
Ah, summer. The season where people suddenly think that I want to sit on the grass quite a lot when in fact, my knees are rubbish and also I live in Wellington, the ground remains damp until February here. However, there’s no need to despair if you’re invited to an upmarket barbecue/festival/garden-related soiree. You just need some excellent shorts (yes, I will blah on about shorts forever).
I understand the desire to be fancy outside, but there’s a time and a place for it. One of the saddest sights I have ever seen was in the late 2000s, when friends and I went to Homegrown (the first and last time, and I cannot recall what specifically drew me in in that particular year). I had been to music festivals before and also, was in my mid to late 20s so understood the basic concept of a long day outside. Many, many young women did not understand this concept, as evidenced by their party dresses, high heels, and early over-consumption of pre-mixed drinks.
But now we (I) are in our mid-30s, dear Reader, and we make more consistent choices about our outdoor fancy times. I will not be in a tent, dripping with sweat (both me and the tent, ugh the condensation), dancing to some thumping music at 11 at night. I will be asleep then. However, I could rather more easily be at a music festival during daylight hours, or someone’s birthday party in a garden, or be at some kind of work-mandated get together (thank the lord, our work party is indoors in the evening, but I know some businesses are mad for an afternoon or weekend situation). In those scenarios I will be looking like a happy, well dressed, rainbow of comfort and ease.
And yes, you might feel that this jacket is entirely too nice and special to wear to a festival, but it’s entirely perfect for, say, a garden party at the Governor General’s house (hint, hint universe). I think clothes are made to be worn so it will be going to the gardens with me, because banking on an invite to a garden party seems…ill advised.
Keeping It Marginally More Casual
My single status and my advanced age (*eye roll*) is probably all the evidence you need of my absolutely uneven dating ability/track record. There are two key events in the dating timeline that I have always struggled with: weekend afternoon date, and meeting the parents. Because obviously, if I could find the right dress to wear on a first date I would be doing better (*EYE ROLL*).
Thanks to my aforementioned advanced age, I have finally decided that I can wear whatever I feel delightful in, and to heck with societal rules that might decide otherwise. Mostly this means I have started also wearing heels in the weekend when I feel like it, but also a gingham jumpsuit that I think is really intended for 16 year old. Following this new mindset, I have decided that this might be the perfect “weekend date in the city” outfit for me. Realistically, suitor A may as well find out early in the piece that (a) I like wearing fancy things, no athleisure weekends for me and (b) that I don’t really feel inclined to walk for miles and miles (I’m wearing heels). If I roll up to a date with you wearing this and you think “that’s a bit much”, we probs are not soulmates. Unlucky for you, to be honest.
I would never wear denim to meet someone’s parents (romantic or otherwise) because older generations can have a different view on denim and the respect or disrespect it might suggest, and I respect people’s parents until we’re comfortable around each other and then they get the same amount of jokey sass as my own parents: a lot. However, I would 100% wear this to a rooftop if you texted me on a Saturday arvo and suggested a round of gins, or out to brunch if you texted me on a Saturday night and suggested Sunday morning pancakes. This shirt is the perfect shirt – I will fight those who disagree – thanks to its beautiful washed red colour and those gorgeous little white buttons. Imagine this tucked into a pair of white denim culottes with a tan slide (and a tan tan) – bloody gorgeous, as my Mum would say. It’s a classic option and a great alternative to a chambray shirt for those who suit pink tones better than blue. I threw over this linen trench because again, I live in Wellington, and I need an option for a breezy day.
So that’s it guys and dolls: three looks for the summer soirees that I anticipate I will be invited to/invite myself to this summer. I’m particularly in love with my outdoor look, because I can definitely wear that on hard repeat between 15 December and 15 February: to work (although with different shoes), down the shops, visiting friends on the weekend, going to the concerts in the Botanic Gardens – it’s gonna get WORN. How about you? What’s your fave look (and have you ever worn red to a wedding)?
Photos by the fabulous Bex McGill
Look one: Orchid Skirt from Wilson Trollope; top, bag, and scarf all second hand; shoes from Tony Bianco via the Iconic; earrings from Mimco (now sold out).
Look two: linen top (not yet available) and Cyclamen Jacket from Wilson Trollope; shorts from Spacesuit here in Wellington; beads vintage; shoes from Glassons last year.