My Classics: formalwear

I don’t wear formalwear often, but I do have three trusty frocks that I drag out when I need to.

The first one is vintage from the 1950s with a taffeta skirt and a velvet bodice. It is really easy to wear and is also very striking. You can pop a denim jacket over this one and wear it during the day as well.

The one below is also vintage. The flowers on the front and back shoulders are made of sequins, and the rest of the dress is covered with jet-black bugle beads in floral patterns. There is a keyhole cutout at the back, beautifully finished with two rows of tiny beads.

The third one is my absolute favourite. This one I found on a ferry from Sweden to Lithuania. The duty-free shops on those ships are normally really boring. Booze, cigarettes, perfume, souvenirs and characterless clothing. But there is not much else to do on a crossing so I was browsing at the back of a sale rail when I found this miracle and its grey and red counterparts.

This dress is magic. The sleeves are the perfect length to hide upper-arm wobbles, the fabric is thick, stretch and supportive. It shapes and firms everything up. There are rows of pearls down the a-line skirt. You can dress it up and down. It washes like a dream. My only regret is that I did not buy a grey and a red one at the same time. I have had this one for five years and worn it so many times. I have tried to find the brand online but no luck. My guess it is a mass-produced fluke that came from China.

It looks like hell on a hanger but oh my, it comes alive on a body.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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