We all have ‘staples’ in our wardrobe – things we go back to time and time again because we don’t really have to think about it. On a hectic morning, whether we’re getting ready for a commute to work or the school run, it’s about sticking on an outfit that’s appropriate for the day, and doing it quickly.
For me, in summer, it’s jeans and a top or shorts and a top. On a day when I’m feeling like being a bit different, it’s dungaree dress and a top (woo! So crazy!). I’ve got loads of tops – long-sleeved, short-sleeved, balloon-sleeved, striped-sleeve, embroidered-sleeve. ALL the sleeves. But something I’m trying to get better at is wearing dresses.
Dresses just look so easy – it’s just one item after all, that you pop on, shoes, bag, done! I’ve been totally inspired by blogger Emily from Fashion Foie Gras who knows how to rock a dress. But as someone who doesn’t often ‘do’ dresses, I’m aware that I need to invest a bit of time trying on different styles and learning what suits me, and what doesn’t.
So I was so happy to chat to Juliet Wyatt – the fantastic Style Advisor at The Glades shopping centre in Bromley. I had a personal shopper session with her last year, when I was in a bit of a style rut, and she was brilliant at getting me into shops I’d never consider and wearing clothes I’d usually overlook. She was the perfect person to ask about frocks!
The Glades have got a very cool fashion gallery at the moment – right in the middle of the shopping centre is an area that looks like an art gallery, but items of clothing and accessories are there in place of works of art. “We’ve looked at all the key trends for the season and picked out items from different stores that we loved,” explained Juliet. “Some people have been surprised that certain items that have caught their eye are from a shop they’d never go into!”
A pink Marks & Spencer dress was the thing to catch my eye – and I explained to Juliet that I’d seen people wearing it but that I could never wear a high-necked dress like that. “Ah but you could!” Juliet said. “You’re like me, you’ve got boobs, but I can still wear a high-necked dress. Just wear a necklace – or layer a few necklaces – to draw the eye down, and it’ll look great.”
The VIP (Very Important Purchase) Gallery is a great way to inspire shoppers to find that one key piece for summer. After my chat with Juliet, I went off around The Glades, in search for my Very Important Purchase. I tried on the pink M&S dress but I still wasn’t convinced it was ‘me’. And then I tried on a black floral shift dress, and I fell in love.
This black dress will be so useful – perfect for everything from days on the beach, worn with flip flops and a sun hat, to work events, worn with colourful sandals, and even posh dos like Christenings and parties, worn with heels.
I love the pop of colour at the top, and I think the detail on the sleeves adds some fun (and you know I like me a sleeve). My blue cross body bag and yellow Salt-Water sandals picks out the blue and yellow in the floral detail, don’t you think?
I’m definitely going to persevere with dresses and try on a bunch more – I’m thinking it could be my new summer staple!
If you live in the South East of England, you can head to The Glades before 30th June to see the VIP Fashion Gallery and chat to Juliet for some style tips, yourself. This post was commissioned by The Glades and as always, all views are my own.
Photos: Joe Galvin