Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wedding worries bring on recession depression...but low budget doesn't mean no style!

I was thrilled recently to receive an invitation to my friends Jess and Dan’s wedding. After all, there is no better excuse to get glammed up than a glamorous wedding and trust me this will be one stylish affair. Unfortunately though, reality and a touch of the recession depressions hit almost immediately. Looking my best for a wedding has never come cheap in the past but times have changed - this fashionista’s wallet is a lot smaller these days and contains a much less ‘flexible friend’.

For anyone on tight budgets the most sensible (ooh how that word grates, but it makes sense in these times!) option is to bring out a previously worn (fabulous!) outfit and wear that. I feel people worry far too much about being seen in the same outfit twice. Firstly, if you look and feel fab in something, why not get lots of wear out of it?! Secondly and crucially though, with the right accessories you can effectively have endless outfits in one. Change the colour and / or style of accessories and you can go from classic and simple to fashion-forward and funky with an investment of just a few euros if spent the right way. People will be admiring your styling skills rather than sniping at you re-cycling an outfit!

Now, happily, I have lost quite a lot of weight recently which I am thrilled about. That meant however that none of my previous wedding outfits could be re-cycled. I worked out, to my horror, the maximum I could possibly stretch to for the entire wedding outfit was one hundred euro which I figured would be no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. The first thing I decided was that the only way I could possibly manage this was to pick an outfit that could be worked around shoes I already had as they would eat far too much into such a little budget. Now shoes are not something I am short of – addiction is a word that springs to mind when it comes to footwear and this girl! – so I had plenty to choose from. I had a couple of favourites in mind that still look new, particularly a scarlet red pair of Mary Janes I love which have a diagonal strap and little bow on the clasp. Absolute beauties, I call them my Dorothy shoes. And so the search was on the find something complimentary. It turned out the search was easier than I expected. I went to Dundrum Town Centre, with its abundance of high street shops, and had a good look around. And suddenly there it was, right in front of me. It was love at first sight. It was a fabulous cornflower blue dress from Mango which has a V at the front and is gathered down the entire length of the front from there. Simple and stunning. My main concern was that, being unforgiving shiny jersey material might not do me any favours but that is where the magic of magic knickers et al comes in. Every fashionista who knows her stuff knows that when in doubt about wobbly bits, you enlist the help of your trusty ‘suck it all in til you can’t breathe’ undies!! They more than do the trick and I love the dress on and feel really comfortable in it, which is so important on a long day like a wedding.

The dress set me back sixty euros, leaving forty for all accessories. I am a huge fan of colour and loved the idea of the red shoes with the blue dress. My gorgeously stylish mum is a bright ray of sunshine both in terms of personality and style. I grew up looking at her in beautifully co-ordinated brightly coloured but tasteful outfits and that has stayed with me and she continues to inspire me today. And so I decided to wear my Dorothy shoes and go for red accessories. The search was on! I turned to EBay in the hope of finding something unusual but inexpensive. I wanted a necklace that would sit in the V of the dress and ear-rings to match so I put in a search in the jewellery section under ‘sets’ for the colour red. I trawled through item after item and there were some gorgeous things that I loved but shipping costs from China or the US meant they would be too expensive. Eventually though I found exactly what I wanted from a seller in the UK. A fantastic silver and red necklace and ear-ring set with a very unusual, funky design that I think will lift the simplicity of the dress. Best of all it cost just 16.49 including delivery! Next on the list was a cover-up for inside the church and while we’ll be outside for photos etc. The wedding is in mid-April so I am hoping that the weather will be warmish and dry (for the bride’s sake far more than mine!!) On that basis I decided a simple pashmina was the way to go and was delighted to find one for just 14.84. I was worried what the quality would be given how cheap it was, but the seller had 99.98% approval rating from several thousand sales so I took a chance, and it was well worth it. I don’t know how but it is super-soft and gorgeous. I am thrilled! I have yet to find a bag but the hunt is in full swing and I am sure it is out there somewhere just waiting for me to dance around it all night at the wedding!!

There is no doubt weddings are an expensive business but they can be done on a budget and you can look just as fabulous as you would if you spent a fortune. I really think accessorising is key because when you buy from the high street you always run the risk of someone else at the wedding having the same dress. Accessorising will ensure you put your own mark on the outfit and set you apart from anyone else.

So my touch of the recession depressions have lifted and I am really happy with the outfit I have bought. I feel good in the dress because I think it makes the most of my size and shape and I won’t feel guilty wearing it, worrying how much it cost. Instead, I will happily be dancing the night away knowing I feel good and Mr. Visa is happy too.


  1. Brilliant Julie,
    You have a lovely way with words, Its funny and very very you!!!

  2. Hi Hon,
    Absolutely Fab, as usual, Deb :-)