I don’t know about you but I spend about 350 days a year wearing the same boring old clothes – jeans and a t-shirt. If the weather is warm I’ll team this up with a pair of flip flops and maybe a cardigan, or (as is more often the case) if the weather is bad then I’ll add boots and a hoodie.
Whilst I like this kind of outfit because it allows me to do my job of being a mum and childminder comfortably, I also LOVE getting dressed up.
Now I know that Britmums Live was not exactly a dressy event, but I wanted to make an effort. I wanted to draw a line between “mummy me”, with baby snot wiped down my jeans and lunch smeared across my top, and “blogger me”, a bit more composed and (dare I say it?) sophisticated.
So I got chatting to the lovely people at The Pretty Dress Company, whose clothes I have admired since I first discovered them in 2010, and asked them if I could borrow a couple of outfits for Britmums Live.
Well I’m glad I did.
I felt incredible. I felt gorgeous. I had zero nerves about this blogging conference which pretty much everyone admits to feeling nervous about.
And – without wanting to sound bigheaded – I think I looked pretty good. I say this because I was told it over and over and over again, during the 2 day conference. Bloggers I knew said it and people I’d never met complimented me on my great outfit. Talk about self-confidence boost.
So what did I wear?
On day one I matched the Patricia Champagne Peplum Top with the Patricia Champagne Lace Pencil Skirt from The Pretty Dress Company. This is a fantastic pairing as the overall outfit is so flattering, yet I could eat and drink to my heart’s content without having to worry about holding my stomach in as it was hidden under the peplum. Result!
I did a lot of standing, walking and sitting down in this outfit and it didn’t wrinkle or feel at all uncomfortable. As the material is quite elasticated it means there is a lot of give. However I always recommend buying one size up from your usual size from The Pretty Dress Company, as these styles are unforgiving if worn too tightly, and I find they tend to come up on the small side.
This is a very cunning bag as it’s a bit like a Tardis – it looks cute and tiny, but it fits TONS in it, which quite frankly is my kind of bag! The bag that you can see in the picture above has got the following in it:
- Samsung S3 mobile phone
- House keys
- Lipstick and concealer
- A4 agenda, folded in half
- Business cards in a case
- Oyster card
This clutch is beautifully made and the colours are so vibrant. I loved it, and I’m not really a clutch lady. I’m more of a bag lady 😉
What I love even more is that all of the above are designed and made in the UK, and despite this are not crazily expensive. Because let’s face it, it’s easy to have principles when your purse is a bottomless pit, less so when you’re on a budget.
The Pretty Dress Company outfit is £65 for the peplum top and £65 for the pencil skirt, which is unlikely to be something you’d spend on everyday clothes, but for a special occasion like a wedding or christening is a very reasonable amount.
The Beatrice clutch is £35 and is something that I can see myself using for nights out in the future, and not just saving for a special occasion.
The only problem I had after day one of Britmums Live with this outfit, was whether I could top it with day two’s outfit….
I chose a very similar outfit on day two, as this style really suits my curvy figure. This time I toned down the lace (as day two tends to be more low-key) and went with simpler accessories (shoulder bag and wedges). Again this look is from The Pretty Dress Company: their Patricia Coral Peplum Top teamed with their Classic Coral Pencil Skirt.
Whilst this outfit was not as smart and dressy as the previous day’s, I loved the flash of colour that really made me stand out in the crowd! And yet again I got numerous compliments and questions about where my outfit was from.
Once more the prices are very reasonable with the peplum top at £65 (same as the champagne version above) and the pencil skirt currently at £39 down from £45.
Various people have said to me that The Pretty Dress Company outfits wouldn’t suit them as they’re not the same shape as me, or that they’re too expensive. But you’ll be pleased to know that they do all sorts of styles – long, short, flared, fitted, dress-up, workwear etc, so I really think there is something for everyone. And if money is an object then it is worth bearing in mind that they have a midseason sale on at the moment.
So the big question is – are these British brands value for money and would I buy them with my own hard-earned cash? The answer is yes and yes, and I have! I bought a dress from The Pretty Dress Company 4 years ago for my sister’s wedding, which I still LOVE. And I bought the Beatrice clutch bag myself as I thought it would look great with my champagne outfit.
I know it is hard to save money that little bit longer to buy one nice, good quality item from a British brand, rather than 10 cheap ones from Primark. But I really do recommend it. The only times I’ve felt this good about myself is when I’ve been wearing The Pretty Dress Company clothes in the past, and on my wedding day. Their clothes really are that good.
Disclosure: I was loaned the outfits from The Pretty Dress Company in exchange for this honest review, however they have not paid me to write this blog post and, as ever, all words and opinions are my own.
I bought the Beatrice clutch bag myself but wanted to share my thoughts on it with you in this same blog post.