Do you have a special occasion coming up? Something you need to frock up for?
I must admit, I do relish the challenges that these kind of events bring. For me, they’re either a chance to dip into the cocktail frock end of my wardrobe or an “opportunity” to go shopping for a welcome addition to that end of my wardrobe.
Recently, a reader emailed me on this very topic:
I was wondering if you would consider doing a blog post on cocktail dresses for mums with a bit of a tummy. I have been invited to a good friend’s wedding in London in September which I am super excited about but not sure what to wear with the dress code being cocktail dress. Katherine
Katherine, yes I can. In fact it excites me to share some of my tummy-friendly cocktail frock buying tips because over the years it’s something I’m not ashamed to boast that I’ve excelled at … out of necessity.
Before I get into some shopping suggestions, let me run through some of the things I’ve learned:
1. Even the most svelte of A-list celebs wear shapewear. The need to harness your tummy (and other wobbly bits) into your Spanx, Nancy Ganz or budget Hold Me Tights should not be considered a failure. These are your wardrobe friends in creating a smooth, VPL-free line. They are a bugger if you are drinking a view vinos at a function though … they bring new meaning to quality bathroom time. And let’s not talk of that moment when your partner discovers you are not wearing the sexy underwear in his fantasies he thought you were …
2. Work with your body shape, not against it. Yes, some styles might need a bit of shapewear help but working in conjunction with this should be woman-friendly cuts of fabrics. Strategic placement of stretchy fabric, gathering, tucks, and belting will do all sorts of camouflaging goodness.
3. Don’t rule out a patterned frock. Like the detailing mentioned in point 2, a printed fabric can disguise all the tummy bits you want to disguise.
4. If in doubt, go the kaftan style. My favourite and particularly good if the function includes a buffet Seriously, a sheer kaftan style with a fitted slip underneath can make you look and feel uber-fabulous. Just add strappy heels and grab the nearest champagne flute.
5. Every cocktail frock wardrobe needs a little black dress. If you want to buy something that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion, look for a style and fabric that would work for day with wedges and necklace but then equally as well all blinged up for night-time action. Think chandelier earrings, classic patent ’50s style pumps and a cocktail ring that will not be missed when wrapped around that aforementioned champagne glass.
Now let’s go shopping …
Two of the online boutiques I’ve linked to above (1 and 2) are from my go-to special occasion boutiques on the Sunshine Coast. I love that they’re online for you all to enjoy but if you’re ever visiting this area, do stop in and check them out.
Oh, and the reason I spend a bit more on my cocktail frocks? I want them to be wardrobe friends for many years and experience has taught me that by spending a bit extra, I get a more forgiving and flattering cut than I otherwise would. And that makes said cocktail dresses very wardrobe friendly.
Two other Australian labels to check out for special occasion pieces (and ones that I can vouch for their tummy-friendly qualities!) are Sacha Drake and Matthew Eager. Both designers know how to shape a frock to suit a woman. And that makes me smile. A lot.
Do you have somewhere special to dress up for in the next few months? Got any other style questions you’d like me to tackle in a blog post?
PS. Don’t forget to take my survey for a chance to win a $150 Westfield gift card … if you haven’t done so already.