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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Blooming lovely for Bloom days

“... would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me and yes I said yes I will Yes.”   It was all a bit like that when Looking Our Best, in a fit of midsummer madness, clasped a full length floral chiffon skirt to her feverish bosom in TK Maxx. The date  was still only June 3rd, so not quite Bloomsday, but LOB was momentarily overcome by the heat and the heady flowery prints cramming the rails.  With a vision of herself in this romantic garment, wafting around her back garden like Vita Sackville West carrying a trug filled with white roses, she  promptly marched to the till and forked out the requisite 20 quid.  As anyone who has ever succumbed to the impulse buy knows, doubt begins to creep in on the way home. In the bedroom at LOB Towers, reality descended like a black cloud .   If a grown-up woman genuinely wants a brutally honest answer to the question – ‘Am I too old for this?”, a closely related twenty-something will give her the brutally honest answer.  One scathing  look was thrown at the now dowdy looking thing lying on the bed. “Yes”. LOB’s usual good taste had deserted her. She hadn’t even tried the thing on. It was completely see-through.  It had an elasticated waist, for God’s sake.   

Back to Bloomsday, and now it's almost here, your style blogger thought she would not only have yet another go at reading the most famous book most people have never read, but also explore the current trend for blooming prints and their flatter potential for the well dressed mid-lifer.  That's why, in  honour of the 16th of June being among the  most renowned days in the literary calendar, she is striving to forge a link too with Molly Bloom’s earthy soliloquy and fleeting summer fashion. Not easy - other than to say there are almost as many flowery frocks out there as there are dirty bits in Ulysses.

The rather lovely white and grey rose printed dress featured here  is called Sasha by Phase Eight (approx €148), and was tried on in Brown Thomas earlier this month. 
While it fulfils the grown-ups rule of sticking to just two colours when it comes to strong patterns, LOB is just a tad too grown up to carry such a pretty print and had to admit defeat when it came to any convincing attempt at Betty Draper elegance.  Elsewhere, similar, very  full skirted dresses with belts also proved a no-no on LOB’s decidedly un-girly frame (not to mention the discovery these are now referred to as ‘prom dresses’.  Hell-o?).  

In Monsoon, the ‘Meadow’ white tunic dress (€127, pictured here), although printed with big blooms, looked classily grown-up because the boldness in pattern is tempered by less fabric in it’s simple shift style.   Likewise, the silk black, white and pink dress from Elegance (€226, at the top of the blog) is demurely knee  length,  softly tied at the waist, and has a very flattering neckline. 

The neckline, and also the way fabric is draped, has a bearing on just how flattering a dress can be, and while the ‘Freya’ design from the Mint Velvet range shown here (€79) has a lot going on with all of those butterflies, 

 the pleating from the empire waistline down to the hankercheif hem, plus deep V neck and extended shoulder gives a great shape to those of us graced with what is known politely as the fuller figure. Speaking of butterflies, rather than blooms, this silk shirt (€180) 
rather than a full blown dress, might be the way for the shrinking (and slowly wilting) violets among us to give a nod to fashion this summer.  (The  white jeans worn by the model could be stretching it a bit, though  - even for Liz Hurley ).  An alternative is the classic pencil skirt we grown-ups all know and love, updated here (£135)  in blooming cottage garden glory, 
and worn with a white T-shirt. Both it and the silk shirt above are from the current Elegance range online.

All prices quoted here are approximate, (and some  pricey) but the summer sales are about to go into full swing, so check out the websites linked in for any discounts.
As for LOB’s chiffon floral maxi, it was promptly returned to TK Maxx, but this time, an extra €50 was added to the refunded €20, and she is now the proud owner of a classic white leather bag. What we like to call an investment buy.  It’s by Edina Ronay, and big enough to hold all of LOB’s paraphernalia – including that new, two inch thick, 682 page copy of Ulysses. (€2.99 from the bargain section in Hodgis Figgis)  And, in case you are wondering, the nice (grown-up) salesman admitted he’s never been able to finish the damned book either ... 

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, that closely related twenty something really does have style! She wants you to know she'll put the whole see-through floral maxi skirt episode behind her and not let it taint her adoration of LOB's style!