WARDROBE REHAB: HOW TO CHOOSE ‘THAT’ DRESS

Have you got ‘that’ dress in your closet? You know the one, it feels so good to wear you can’t help but pull it out pretty much every week, knowing it will be the best bet when you’ve got no time to plan or haven’t a clue what to wear. In fact, you wear it so much that your friends are like, oh yeah, you’re wearing that dress again, and you aren’t even offended because it’s so perfect (and wearable) you don’t care. Hopefully you know what I’m talking about, if not these probably sound like the ramblings of a mad woman. But if you don’t have a dress like this in your wardrobe, it’s time to start looking!

As a bit of context, I bought a black dress about 5 years ago which has been my ‘that’ dress ever since. In all honestly it was pretty unassuming (see it here), but the fit was just so right that I’ve probably worn it weekly for 5 years. I even tried to get it copied but the end result was a bust.

I’ve been wanting to find another such dress recently (time for an upgrade!), but was a bit stumped, until I chanced upon this  white dress. I kept it to wear in Santorini for the first time, but am pretty sure it’s going to become a weekly wear – I’d be wearing it tonight if it wasn’t in the wash!

White Summer Dress

Wearing: Club Monaco dress, J Crew flats, Celine Bag, Athens hat

This got me thinking, what makes some clothes, like this dress, infinitely wearable compared to other pieces in your wardrobe? What turns them into ‘that’ dress or ‘that’ skirt? Let’s just say I got a bit obsessed with this idea while I was travelling. In the end, I think it comes down to how a dress makes you feel – which is a combination of factors about what it looks like and how it makes you look.

And so, I thought I would share a few factors for finding your next infinitely wearable dress. A few pointers for your next new dress. Perhaps if we followed this advice all the time, our closet would be full of ‘that’ pieces and we’d be overwhelmed with choice every day, instead of sometimes staring into our closets blankly!

How to choose ‘that’ dress

Pick a fit that emphasises your best points

This is key, and pretty obviously really, but you’d be surprised how often we buy pieces that don’t quite suit us, or bring out our best assets, just because we love some element of their design. Finding a dress that flatters you in every way generally comes down to the cut and shape of the dress – over time I’ve realised that the ‘fit and flare style’ which is fitted to your bust and then flares out is the more flattering on my body shape, so it’s a good idea to work out what suits you too. Naturally if you feel great you’ll wear it all the time!

Choose a supportive style

There’s nothing better than a dress that requires no rooting around in your underwear drawer for the right bra. This is particularly applicable for those gals with medium to large boosies (count yourself lucky ladies with little ones!). For me, dresses that have become absolute staples have been ones that a) I only need a simple t shirt or balconette bra or b) I don’t need a bra at all because the dress has built in support. The latter is definitely better. ( . ) ( . )

Decide on an appropriate length

A dress that gets worn all the time is one that is appropriate for a multitude of situations and occasions, so when you’re searching for that dress, it’s best not to get one that’s too short or too long. The more versatile the better! ‘Appropriate length’ means different things to different people obviously, so it’s going to be a personal call, but a great and adaptable length (for me anyway) is just above the knee.

Think about colour

Naturally you want to choose a shade or pattern that’s not going to date in the next half decade (hopefully that’s how long you’ll be wearing it!). For your ‘that’ dress, it’s ok to lean on the safe side when choosing, perhaps picking a prime colour that suits you and isn’t too trend driven.

Match it to your life

A dress that you wear over and over is inevitably one that matches your lifestyle, where you live and the things that you do. For example, if you live in a really cold climate it’s unlikely that a light summer dress is going to become a staple in your closet, and the same can be said for heavier dresses in warmer, sweatier climates. I’ve barely worn all those gorgeous wool dresses I bought when I lived in London!

If you’re looking for a few ideas when it comes to picking a dress you’ll wear over and over, here are a few of my faves:

$ Nasty Gal, Topshop, Nastygal, Topshop, 6 Shore Road.

$$ Zimmermann, Club Monaco, Lover, Serena & Lily.

White summer dressWhite Summer DressWhite Summer DressWhite Summer DressWhite Summer DressWhite Summer DressWhite summer dressWhite summer dressWhite summer dress

Do you have a dress you wear and wear and wear? What style is it? And how did you find it? Here’s to clothes we wear over and over!

Photos by Airlie Walsh

Stay tuned for my guide to Santorini next week…

A QUICK GUIDE TO ATHENS

To me, travelling isn’t just about ticking off the major sites and attractions, it’s about delving into a culture, a place and its people. Which is why, when Contiki asked me a little while ago whether I would like to experience one of their adventures, I have to admit I was a little sceptical –  I wondered whether, in a tour situation, they would be able to satisfy my urge to really explore and get lost within a place.

Never one to back down from a challenge, I embarked on the trip, carry on suitcase in hand and butterflies in my stomach. And man was I surprised! Not only did we indeed get to understand the place more than just the main tourist attractions, we travelled like locals. How? Petros our guide, and certified Greek local, created one of the best travel experience I’ve literally ever had. To be honest, I’ve always been scared that guides lead to a tedious, lecture style experience where you’re wishing you were somewhere else, but not Petros. It was like travelling with a friend, who just luckily knew all the hidden places to go, could get you the best table and bargain for that cheap ticket – and politely negotiate (aka yell) at the odd Greek taxi driver who was taking you the long way. It made the experience pretty seamless, and after a little while I was more than happy to give up the reigns (self confessed control freak!).

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing with you more about my experience on the tour, as well as travel guides form the major places we visited. First up, Athens.

Athens Travel Guide

Stay

We stayed at the President Hotel which has a great pool terrace (although a pretty suffocating breakfast room). If I went with Ben we might splash out a bit and stay at the New Hotel or the Fresh Hotel, and if you’re on a budget City Circus looks fun.

Eat & Drink

On the Terrace at Kuzina (my fave) or 360 for a view of the Acropolis

Have a romantic dinner on the steps of Mnisikleous street.

Dia Tauta for a leafy lunchtime Greek feast in the Monastraki area.

Livadia or Kostas for authentic Souvlaki.

For urban greek in grown up surrounds, check out Cookoovaya.

Head to To Mavro Provato for modern mezze.

Oinoscent wine bar for local wines

Head to the Kolonaki or Gazi areas for drinks.

Have frozen Greek yogurt (so much better than your average fro-yo) at a shop like Yiaourtaki (there’s a few around the city).

See & Do

The Acropolis & Acropolis Museum – I thought they would be touristy, and they were quite busy but still completely worth it, just go early for a more relaxed experience.

Wander the neighbourhood of Plaka.

Check out the Monastraki Flea Markets – the streets are full of touristy shopping but on a Sunday,  Avissinias Square off the main Bazaar fills up with small stalls.

The Central Food Markets for some produce envy (atleast if you live in Hong Kong like I do).

Lycabettus Hill for amazing views and sunset.

A day trip out to Sounion to see the ruins and sunset.

Good to know

You only really need one to two days in Athens (use the rest of your time on the islands!).

Go early to all major sites.

It’s your duty to eat your body weight in tzatziki.

Guide to Athens

Comfy travel dressing!

A Quick Guide to Athens

The sweetest (slightly battered) strawberries in the food markets

A Quick Guide to Athens

Finding myself a little friend in the streets…

A Quick Guide to Athens

Athens is such a big city!

A Quick Guide to Athens

I’ll have one of each

A Quick Guide to Athens

Greek flags everywhere

A Quick Guide to Athens

Rug shop in Monastraki

A Quick Guide to Athens

The view from the Acropolis

A Quick Guide to Athens

Wandering the Plaka

A Quick Guide to Athens

I loved the beautiful streets!

A Quick Guide to Athens

A big meal at Dia Tauta

A Quick Guide to Athens

Creamy marble columns.

A Quick Guide to Athens

Looking out over the city.

A Quick Guide to Athens
A Quick Guide to Athens

Greek flags everywhere.

A Quick Guide to Athens

Dinner on the steps of Mnisikleous street

A Quick Guide to Athens

Old and new…

Holiday Outfit

Love everything about the bright sunshine in Greece!

A Quick Guide to Athens

Just say yes!

For a country that has endured tough economic times in the last few years, the Greeks were surpisingly welcoming and lovely, and the place is a pleasure to visit – particularly if you have a local guide who knows the best areas to wander!

If you’ve got any other recommendations please feel free to chime in! xx

This post is in collaboration with Contiki, we did the Greek Island Hopping tour.

DIY SCALLOPED PAINTED POTS

I’ve had a soft spot for scalloped designs as long as I can remember, from dress hems to collars. Working with Westfield Cardindale for our workshops, we went behind the scenes are recently decided to apply the concept to a few of the pots in the studio, and were so happy to find a super simple way to do it that is perfect for people with shaky painting hands (like me…). Now everyone’s scallops can be perfect! Read on to see how.

DIY SCALLOPED PAINTED POTSDIY Scalloped Painted PotsDIY Scalloped Painted Pots

You need:

  • Plant pots
  • Stickets
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Paint brushes

DIY Scalloped Painted Pots

 How to:

1.  Take your circular stickers and cut them in half.

DIY Scalloped Painted Pots

2.  Apply your stickers along the edge of your plant pots.

DIY Scalloped Painted Pots

3. Start painting your plant pot, gently painting over your stickers.

DIY Scalloped Painted Pots

4.  Allow the paint to dry before peeling away your stickers

DIY Scalloped Painted Pots

5. Switch up your design by trying different shapes of stickers and create matching or contrasting painted patterned plant pots!

DIY painted potDIY Scalloped Painted PotsDIY Scalloped Painted Pots

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

STUDIO HOURS: WATERMELON BOWLS

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘a party without cake is just a meeting’. In the studio recently we’ve decided to turn that oh-so-true sentiment on its head – by energising meetings with a few treats, sometimes cake and sometimes a watermelon bowl of fruit salad. In that way, our meetings usually turn in parties (here’s hoping),  or more likely,  impromptu photos shoots!

I’m guessing you won’t need a schooling in how to make this – s long as you have opposable thumbs with which to wild your spoon I’m pretty sure you can figure it out. (hint: scoop and away you go).

Watermelon Bowls Watermelon Bowls Watermelon Bowls

Photos by Nicola Lemmon