Sporting Regal Opulence

Sports Luxe: that’s the first style I’m looking at this week.

My immediate reaction to this is that any luxury sporting would be me being able to afford someone else to do the sporting for me! You see, at school, I was that plump, bespectacled girl normally found skulking right at the back of the hockey field. My tennis racket had a great big hole in the middle of it (it did – I’d swear to it) and on the athletics field I was the one under the tree quietly reading a book while all the other sporty types lined up to do the high jump.

So any look involving trainers, jogging sweaters and “track pants” is never going to get my vote.

But there’s more to it than that – because this “sporting” title is a loose one indeed. I thought the skater dress look came from the fifties, but apparently it’s one that covers more than one style category. Last week I showed you the lace skater dress from M&S. This week I was in Tesco doing my weekly shop and there was a very similar dress:

Tesco's lace skater dressThis one for £25. Maybe not the quality, but the elbow length sleeves are going to be much more flattering for many of us. By the way – Tesco helpfully tell us that the model is 5’9″, so for us shorties, that dress is definitely knee length. It only comes in navy though. So far the Summers and Winters are looked after in these frocks, but we Autumns and Springs would like a chance too please!

But moving upwards and onwards, I was meeting a friend for lunch in john Lewis today (as you do – although Heaven defend me from ever becoming a “lady who lunches”) and took the opportunity to browse through their offerings.

It was the knitwear that caught my slightly disbelieving eye. We think we know ski-ing jumpers, but take a look at this one!

Paisie Geometric Jumper £60
Paisie Geometric Jumper £60

But that’s just the beginning of the “Luxe Sport” knitwear. In my wonderful House of Colour Fashion Update book they tell me to look out for high necked jumpers with fur and/or leather detailing.

Lo and behold:

Betty Barclay cowl necked sweater with leather cuffs. £100
Betty Barclay cowl necked sweater with leather cuffs. £100

Also – luxurious sequined sweaters….

Jaeger sequin and lurex jumper £199
Jaeger sequin and lurex jumper £199

So – for all you sweater-girls out there, this season is obviously heaven for you. For those of us who prefer a sweetly pretty and much neater look, this style is never going to be our favourite. Do tell me what you think of these jumpers: I would really like to know your reaction to them out there. There’s a comments box at the bottom of this; please do use it.

But onto an area in which I feel much more comfortable; Regal Opulence. No – I’m probably not going to be wearing much of it myself: I’ve got too much Natural in me to feel really comfortable with a lot of glamour and sparkle, but you can’t deny this look is utterly fabulous and what fashion is all about, really.

With this much lace, velvet, fur and embellishment, it’s going to be all about the evening and candlelight, isn’t it? So it’s off to the evening wear department I go to see what the offerings are there.

I’m not always a fan of Phase Eight but I have to say they’ve outdone themselves here. Out of the sixty or so evening dresses I came across, most of the ones that caught my eye as most representative of this season’s look, came from Phase Eight. I give you:

Black Lace Evening Gown; Phase Eight £350
Black Lace Evening Gown; Phase Eight £350

and again:

Phase Eight beaded dress in Oxblood: £295
Phase Eight beaded dress in Oxblood: £295

and to finish:

Phase Eight sequin and brocade dress £350
Phase Eight sequin and brocade dress £350

So, if you have a black tie gala ball to go to this Christmas, then you know where to go, don’t you? That is if you can take that much richness. Don’t despair though, it’s not all beading, lace and heavy brocade in the evening wear section, and girls after a more classic look can opt for something simpler. In a nod to the fifties style, they also had a number of very sweet little evening play-suits. Interestingly, these were described as an “evening-wear staple”. Hmm, not sure I would agree with that accolade.

Warehouse Playsuit: £60
Warehouse Play-suit: £60

Again, Phase Eight had the nicest one, but I thought I’d show you Warehouse’s offering instead. Personally I would feel that I needed a pair of bunny ears and a fluffy tail to wear this convincingly but maybe that’s just my take on it. Otherwise, I quite fancy shorts for evening wear; although I can’t see my husband (a very traditional chap) approving. Maybe it’s a good idea that we’ve left our ball-going days behind us now the children have arrived.

And hereby ends the brief look through this season’s fashions. As I said a couple of weeks ago, it is important that we know what is current out there and what we can successfully wear so that we don’t get stuck in a time-warp. It’s fine for some of us to revel in it and for some of us to see it as a bit of a chore. But like all chores, it has to be done. Expect to see another series in early April with the Spring and Summer looks.

But it’s back to practical everyday style advice next week, and as always, I’m open to suggestions on what to blog about; just let me know in the comments box.

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