Embroidery done better

I’ve always viewed embroidered fabrics (as opposed to prints) as being a bit luxe, and so when embroidery exploded as a trend, I was like a pig in muck.  After picking up my fourth embroidered item (a bag) I was pretty confident I’d satisfied my interest – but then this dress came into my life.

As you know, I see a lot of clothes all the time.  This is not a “scarcity creates demand” kind of situation, so I tend to keep a reasonably level head.  I often like things, but it’s still reasonably rare for me to feel absolute and extreme covetousness.  However, when I saw the sample of this dress at Derryn Schmidt’s preview earlier this year, I felt a rush of pure desire.  The embroidery on this fabric is beyond beautiful. I knew I was done for – it was time to deploy the frivolous things account to its full extent. 

Apart from the beautiful use of colour and composition, and the excellent execution, this embroidery is gorgeous because it so clearly (to me, anyway) depicts a scene.  The energy created by the flock of birds rising out and away from the garden is wonderful – and every time I look at it, I immediately think about what’s happening in that lush undergrowth, why are those birds so eager to get away.  The mixture of unusual and exotic flowers and plants creates a density, but the garden isn’t too heavy or threatening.   The teensy yellow flowers are my favourite.

The style of the dress itself is simple, minimal even.  It falls from my shoulders, and has a narrow tie that I fasten into a bow at the back, which gives the dress a little shape.  The length, in person, is just enough to allow for the full piece of embroidery, but thanks to the mesh backing, is light enough to remain at a flattering point on my leg.  The neckline mirrors the rise and swoop of the birds in flight, and makes your neck look long – perfect for some punchy earrings.

I can see myself wearing this for years to come, changing up my accessories as my style evolves and as the occasion requires.  I’ve already worn this to work, and for an event, and I can see it at a wedding or a christening, at birthday parties, in the office and on dates.  Cripes, I’d wear it to my own wedding (should that day ever come).  That’s how I know this is true love and not just a passing fling - long after the trend of embroidery has gone, and the shirt I bought at Just Jeans has fallen to bits, this dress will still be hanging in my wardrobe, and I’ll still be making up stories about that garden every time I see it.  

Here are my top tips for making the most of the current trend for embroidery:

  • lots of the current trend is folk art-esque - lots of primary colours and floral shapes, on white or typically preppy backgrounds (like my blue and white striped shirt).  I think choosing different colours and styles of embroidery will make them less obviously 2017, and ensure you stand out a little from a crowd of red daisies
  • look for a good, dense and secure embroidery.  You should not be able to see fabric through the stitching making up an element of the scene (e.g. a petal on a flower).  The embroidery will almost look woven, it will be that densely packed
  • go for something in a classic shape, to act as a solid canvas.  I also have a theory that trends on trends tend to look a bit cheaper, so if you're trying to make sure your outfits don't look like they're straight off the high street, that's one to avoid. Please note I ignored my own advice on this earlier this year
  • I know embroidered jeans look rad, but just remember - embroidery doesn't stretch, so you might want to try before you buy for sizing.  It can also be heavy, so make sure that the item drapes properly on you rather than assuming that tshirt will be okay

Dress from Deryn Schmidt, but is selling out VERY fast.  Also available in another fabric option.  Shoes are from Nine West via David Jones, and earrings are solid favourites from Ruby.  Also check out the new jewellery as part of the Good Witch collection - very pretty indeed.